This was Rayns's last year in his current capacity at VIFF, where he's offered a peerless example of what a festival programmer can do for filmmakers and filmmaking. Through happenstance on my last night at the fest, I wound up at a spontaneous Rayns-thrown dinner that included documentarian Amir Muhammad (who has a way with a wickedly funny Keyser Söze punch line) and the respective directors of what would soon be the Dragons and Tigers winner, Todo Todo Teros, and honorable mention Faceless Things. That the meal took place immediately after the genuinely scatological latter film — a provocation that moves postteen Kim Kyong-Mook beyond the Sadie Benning–of–South Korea realm of his earlier short Me and Doll Playing — was just one of the reasons it was memorable.
I wound up seated next to Todo Todo Teros director John Torres and his friend — as well as one of the first faces glimpsed in his movie — Alexis Tioseco, who oversees the outstanding Web site criticine.com. Tioseco's site currently features a poignant Paris diary by the talented young filmmaker Raya Martin, whose A Short Film about the Indio-Nacional (or the Prolonged Sorrow of Filipinos) hints at Apichatpong-level brilliance and is at the vanguard of a new Filipino cinema powered by friendship and inspiration rather than the country's film industry or government funds. It was a pleasure and in some ways a revelation to talk movies with the Andrei Tarkovsky–loving Tioseco, who likes to kid Torres, though he's perceptively respectful of his friend’s filmmaking efforts in a current Criticine interview. The reward of such a meeting wouldn't be possible without Rayns — here's hoping whoever takes the VIFF reins will follow his example. SFBG
For more extensive reports on this year's Vancouver International Film Festival, go to the Pixel Vision blog at www.sfbg.com/pixel_vision.