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Call for Contributors - World Film Locations: Vancouver

Editor Rachel Walls seeks suitable contributors for World Film Locations: Vancouver, a forthcoming addition to the World Film Locations series from Intellect Books. The city continues to play a central role in a multitude of films, helping us to frame our understanding of place and of the world around us. Whether as elaborate directorial loveletters or as time-specific cultural settings, the city acts as a vital character in helping to tell a story. These observations have inspired World Film Locations, a series which not only aims to explore how the cinema is helping to shape our view of the city, but also to examine the role of the city in film and how can we engage with various urban cultures through the medium of cinema. Each entry in the World Film Locations series will explore and reveal the relationship between the city and the cinema by using a predominantly visual approach. Each book will be illustrated with evocative screen-grabs complimented by concise analysis of key scenes and essays that consider individual film-makers, themes and key historical periods relating to each individual city. As with other volumes in the series, World Film Locations: Vancouver will be comprised of 38 scene reviews (250 words) that discuss the content of a specific scene from a key Vancouver film, and 5 or 6 longer spotlight essays (800-1,000 words) that cover broader topics in more detail.

Vancouver is, of course, frequently used as a location for films that are set elsewhere. This World Film Locations entry will explore the paradox of Vancouver's ‘runaway' films, exploring how scenes evoke a sense of place despite elements of fakery or non-specificity, as well as examining key Vancouver-situated movies by local and international filmmakers.

Titles of the films that I would be interested in including in this volume as scene reviews are as follows, although I welcome suggestions of additional films, providing they meet the criteria for inclusion in the volume:

·          88 Minutes (USA/Germany/Canada: Jon Avnett, 2007)

·          Air Bud (USA/Canada: Charles Martin Smith, 1997)

·          American Venus (Canada: Bruce Sweeney, 2007)

·          AVP: Alien vs. Predator (USA/Germany/Czech Republic/UK Paul W.S. Anderson, 2004)

·          Better than Chocolate (Canada: Anne Wheeler, 1999)

·          Blade Trinity (USA: David S. Goyer, 2004)

·          Carts of Darkness (Canada: Murray Sipple, 2008)

·          Citizen Sam (Canada: Joe Moulins, 2006)

·          Dirty (Canada: Bruce Sweeney, 1998)

·          Double Happiness (Canada: Mina Shum, 1994)

·          Drive, She Said (Canada: Mina Shum, 1997)

·          Eclipse (USA: David Slade, 2010)

·          Edison (USA/Germany: David J. Bruke, 2005)

·          Everything's Gone Green (Canada: Douglas Coupland, 2006)

·          Excited (Canada: Bruce Sweeney, 2009)

·          Fantastic 4 (USA/Germany: Tim Story, 2005)

·          Fetching Cody (Canada: David Ray, 2005)

·          Finding Dawn (Canada: Christine Welsh, 2006)

·          Fix: The Story of an Addicted City (Canada: Canada Wild Productions, 2002)

·          Hard Core Logo (Canada: Bruce MacDonald, 1996)

·          I Robot (USA: Alex Proyas, 2004)

·          Jumanji (USA: Joe Johnston, 1995)

·          Juno (USA: Jason Reitman, 2007)

·          Kissed (Canada: Lynne Stopkewich, 1996)

·          Last Wedding (Canada: Bruce Sweeney, 2001)

·          Live Bait (Canada: Bruce Sweeney, 1996)

·          Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity (Canada: Mina Shum, 2002)

·          McCabe and Mrs Miller (USA: Robert Altman, 1971)

·          My Life Without Me (Canada/Spain: Isabel Coixet, 2003)

·          On the Corner (Canada: Nathanial Geary, 2003)

·          Our City Our Voices (Canada: Lorraine Fox, David Moosetail, Vera Wabegijig, Louise Lagimodiere, Mary Suchell, 2005)

·          Out of the Blue (Canada: Dennis Hopper, 1980)

·          Passengers (USA/Canada: Rodrigo Garcia, 2008)

·          Rumble in the Bronx (Hong Kong/Canada: Stanley Tong, 1995)

·          Saved (USA: Brian Dannelly, 2004)

·          Scary Movie (USA: Keenen Ivory Wayans, 2000)

·          Skidrow (Canada: Allan King, 1956)

·          Sleeping Tigers (Canada: Jari Osborne, 2003)

·          Snakes on a Plane (Germany/USA/Canada: David R. Ellis, 2006)

·          Sweet Substitute (Canada: Larry Kent, 1965)

·          Survival, Strength, Sisterhood: Power of Women in the Downtown Eastside (Canada: Alejandro Zuluaga and Harsha Walia, 2011)

·          That Cold Day in the Park (USA/Canada: Robert Altman, 1968)

·          The 6th Day (USA: Roger Spottiswoode, 2000)

·          The Accused (USA/Canada: Jonathan Kaplan, 1988)

·          The Bitter Ash (Canada: Larry Kent, 1963)

·          The Butterfly Effect (USA/Canada: Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, 2004)

·          The Day the Earth Stood Still (USA/Canada: Scott Derrickson, 2008)

·          The Grey Fox (Canada: Phillip Borsos, 1982)

·          The Grocer's Wife (Canada: John Pozer, 1991)

·          The Never Ending Story (USA/West Germany: Wolfgang Petersen, 1984)

·          Through a Blue Lens (Canada: Veronica Mannix, 1999) educational documentary

·          Vancouver Canada or They Chant Fed Up (Canada: Kim Tomczak, 1980)

·          When Tomorrow Dies (Canada: Larry Kent, 1965)

·          Whistling Smith (Marrin Canell and Michael Scott, 1975)

·          With Glowing Hearts (Canada: Andrew Lavigne, 2011)

With regards to spotlight essays, I suggest the following topics, but once again, variations on these themes or alternative suggestions are welcome:

- 'A World of Looks': Vancouver's role as a runaway film location.

An exploration of how Vancouver's diverse land- and cityscapes have been used as filming locations for many US and other international films, standing in for locations from the Bronx to Hawaii, and generic North American locations - the 'urban anywhere'. The essay might focus on a few distinctive titles that used Vancouver's backdrop in a particularly interesting way. How does the camera lens distort Vancouver? How successful are attempts to frame the city as other, very different, locations, or do Vancouver's distinct qualities shine through?

-Television City: Vancouver on the small screen.

There is a complementary relationship between the television and film industries in Vancouver, where it is common for local film directors (Ann Wheeler, Mina Shum, Lynne Stopkewich) to guest direct episodes of Canadian and US TV series (The L Word, Da Vinci's Inquest etc). How do these approaches differ? What Vancouver(s) are framed in the work of these directors? Is small screen Vancouver distinctively different from big screen Vancouver? How is the television viewer's relationship with the city vary from the cinema viewers, bearing in mind, for instance, the phenomena of TV fan pilgrimages to Vancouver locations?

- Village Vancouver: Neighbourhood stories

The city of Vancouver has 23 neighbourhoods, many with distinctive characters. How do Vancouver films represent neighbourhood stories? Which neighbourhoods have been particularly attractive for filmmakers and why? This essay might address the popularity of the city's poorest neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside, as a location for gritty urban scenes, and the potential problems of overexposure. Alternatively, it might focus on a film or filmmaker who is particularly successful in capturing the character of a neighbourhood, for instance Mina Shum's engagement with Chinatown in Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity (2002).

- Larry Kent's Vancouver Trilogy

Kent is often regarded as one of English Canada's original auteurs. He began his career as a film student at UBC, and made his first three films in Vancouver, The Bitter Ash (1963), Sweet Substitute (1964) and When Tomorrow Dies (1965) before moving to Montreal. He returned recently to set The Hamster Cage (2006) in Langley, a city in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. The essay might focus on anyone of Kent's Vancouver films or his broader contribution. How is Larry Kent an important forerunner for subsequent Vancouver filmmakers? What sort of character is Vancouver in Kent's films? What changes can be observed in the city from Kent's early works to more recent representations?

- The Pacific New Wave: Bruce Sweeney's Vancouver.

Bruce Sweeney, director of Live Bait (1995), Dirty (1998), Last Wedding (2001), American Venus (2007) and Excited (2009) was a UBC graduate credited as having a key role in the so-called Pacific New Wave, alongside fellow UBC MFA graduates Mina Shum and Lynne Stopkewich. Sweeney's film Last Wedding grapples with the identity of Vancouver from the perspective of three middle-class couples with professional and personal problems. What different dimensions of the city does Sweeney show in his other films? What locations does he use and how does place shape or reflect his characters' lives?

- First Nations film in Vancouver

Vancouver has been a base for a number of First Nations film- and video-makers including Loretta Todd, Barb Cranmer, Thirza Cuthand, Dana Claxton, Arlene Bowman, Cease Wyss, and Kamala Todd, although there have been few feature length projects by Vancouver First Nations directors. This essay might address the documentaries, shorts and installations of one or more of the aforementioned film/video-makers and their relationship to Vancouver, a city built on unceded Coast Salish land. How is the city viewed through the eyes of the people who lived there first, or have come from another indigenous community to call Vancouver home? How does the form of First Nations works complement the story being told?

To write a scene review of a certain title, you must have access to a high-quality DVD of the film in order to make screen-grabs of the scene under discussion. Therefore, please ensure that you have access to relevant DVDs before requesting to write about particular titles in order to avoid inconvenience at a later stage. Screen-grabs may also need to be supplied for the spotlight essays. Contributors will preferably have knowledge and experience of Vancouver and/or expertise in the areas of Canadian cinema or urban culture and development. Contributors must be able to work to deadlines. Each contributor will be provided with a project overview and some samples from an earlier volume in the series. Details of how to collate and submit all material will also be provided.

Generally, we would like contributors to be responsible for either 3-4 scene reviews, or 1 essay and 1-2 scene reviews. The deadline for all scene reviews and spotlight essays will be Friday February 24th 2012. However, it would also be appreciated if contributors could send their first scene review as soon as possible in order to make sure that their approach is adhering to general project guidelines.

If you would like to contribute to, or would like more information about, World Film Locations: Vancouver, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it by email.

Further details about the World Film Locations series can be found at the Intellect website.


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