October 2, 2015 2:27 am
Updated: October 2, 2015 2:30 am

VIFF shows commitment to on-screen diversity

WATCH: It generated a lot of buzz at the Toronto International Film Festival, and you can now see it here in Vancouver. Nadia Stewart tells about Fire Song, and explains how it's opened a discussion on diversity.

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The Vancouver International Film Festival is well underway, and their efforts to appeal to a broad audience this year has paid off.

Ticket sales are up from last year and the selection of films deliver content that viewers don’t often see in a Hollywood production.

Among this year’s selection is Fire Song, written and directed by Indigenous filmmaker Adam Garnet Jones and starring local actor Mary Galloway.

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Mary plays Tara, a First Nations woman living on an Ontario reserve hoping to move to the city with her boyfriend in pursuit of higher education and a better life.

“It’s such a great film and a great story. It shines a light on what life is like on reserves,” Galloway says.

Jacqueline Dupuis, VIFF’s executive director, says diversity in film selection has always been important and this year is no different.

“It’s about education and enlightenment,” she says.

“If we don’t see and touch topics that we may not be so familiar with…we may not see anything beyond our current understanding, and I think it’s really important to open those hearts and minds.”

355 films from 70 countries will be screened at this year’s festival, many making their world premiere here in Vancouver.

Films will be screened at select theatres until October 9.

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