Fest unleashes Dragons & Tigers

Highlights include Kim's 'Weird,' 'Serbis'

VANCOUVER — The 27th Vancouver Film Festival has unveiled the lineup for its Dragons & Tigers: The Cinemas of East Asia sidebar.

Among highlights are Korean helmer Kim Jee-woon’s homage to Sergio Leone, “The Good the Bad and the Weird,” and Filipino helmer Brillante Mendoza’s “Serbis” (Service), about a dysfunctional family that operates a rundown cinema in a small town. Both pics played at Toronto.

Dragons programmers Tony Rayns and Shelly Kraicer said the series will feature 27 international preems and 18 North American preems to cater to the area’s growing East Asian population. Fest claims to be the preeminent showcase of East Asian films outside Asia.

Dragons & Tigers includes a C$10,000 ($9,300) award for a new director from the Asia Pacific region that will be handed out before the North American preem of Korean helmer Yim Phil-sung’s “Hansel and Gretel.”

“Italy, Mexico and Israel also are proving strong on the filmmaking front at this year’s festival,” said fest director Alan Franey.

More than 350 films from 60 countries will unspool at 10 Vancouver venues.

Franey said the fest has expanded once again to include 573 screenings, up from the 546 that drew almost 150,000 last year.

The 16-day run opens Sept. 25 with “Stone of Destiny,” Charles Martin Smith’s take on the true story of Ian Hamilton’s theft of an important cultural artifact (Daily Variety, Sept. 3).