Vancouver fest sets scary sked

6 horror pix picked, helmer Chahine feted

VANCOUVER — After scouting the rising popularity of horror films in Japan early this year, Vancouver’s Intl. Film Festival has booked six of them for its Sept. 24-Oct. 10 run, including the world premiere of Mike Takashi’s “Audition.”

“We’re delighted that ‘The Blair Witch Project’ is focusing attention on the genre, but we based our decision on what was happening in Asia,” fest director Alan Franey told Daily Variety.

A dozen of the 40 films in the “Cinemas of East Asia” segment of the fest are from Japan this year.

“Vancouver has become the largest showcase in North America for East Asian films,” Franey also noted.

Regional spotlight

Highlighted as well will be films produced in western Canada. In addition, the fest claims to have the largest documentary and nonfiction feature section of any festival on the continent, and will offer an eight-film tribute to Egyptian director Youssef Chahine.

“Vancouver intends to stay about the same size — we don’t compete with the Toronto festival, with its American industry focus, and Montreal, which is an official competition and has an annual Latin American section,” Franey said. “We reflect our outward look here and our large immigrant population.”

There will be 400 screenings of 275 films from 50 countries. Now in its 18th year, the fest expects to draw 130,000 to seven theaters, with box office receipts of $500,000 and expenses of $1.3 million, the same as 1998.

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