‘Invasions’ invades Vancouver Fest

Cannes winner set as opener, 'Walker' to close

VANCOUVER — Three Canuck films will share the limelight at the Vancouver Intl. Film Festival, marking a change of direction for a fest that usually goes for foreign pics.

Denys Arcand’s Cannes winner “The Barbarian Invasions” will open the 16-day fest on Sept 25, fresh from its opening perf at Toronto.

The bittersweet French-lingo ode to family and friendship took the screenplay award as well as actress honors for Marie-Josee Croze at Cannes, where it was acquired for U.S. release by Miramax.

Guy Maddin’s Winnipeg-based “The Saddest Music in the World” was selected for the fest’s 22nd annual anniversary gala on Oct. 4. It stars Isabella Rossellini in a story set in a prairie city in 1933.

Charle’s Martin Smith’s far north epic “The Snow Walker” will close the fest on Oct. 10. Shot in Rankin Inlet, it stars Barry Pepper as a downed bush pilot in 1953. Co-star is Annabella Piugattuk, a young Inuit actress in her first role.

“Choosing Canadian films for the galas is an unprecedented move for us,” said fest director Alan Franey. “It’s a change of direction and celebrates the stylistic versatility of Canadian cinema today.”

The fest’s 300-strong lineup, which will emphasize films from Asia, will be announced on Sept. 3. The 18th Vancouver film and television trade forum runs Sept. 24-27.