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VAFF opening night gala 2023

Tonight was the start of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) week. This year from November 2nd to the 12th, 2023 VAFF celebrates its 27th edition with a “full spectrum of in-person events and online programs. The 11-day celebration will highlight an array of unique and outstanding talent, with both emerging and established Asian Canadian and Asian American writers, producers, and directors showcasing their latest work.” (As taken from the press release).

I was invited to both the opening night film screening and gala as a VIP. However, sadly dude to a scheduling conflict was not able to attended the former. I did make it to the latter hosted at D6 where we would get to meet the aforementioned filmmakers, as well as local film industry guests. Mayor Ken Sim even made an appearance to christen the evening.

Had I made it to the show, I would have gotten to see the North American Premiere of the drama Rain Town, directed by Tunku Mona Riza. A private showing concluding with a live streaming Q&A with the director himself.

The movie centres “Choo, the head of the household, unrelentingly wields control over his three grown children: Isaac, Alex and Ruby, disregarding their dreams and happiness. When Aileen, Choo’s wife, is struck by a tragedy, the family drifts further apart embroiling them in a heartbreaking conflict.” The movie is 115 minutes, spoken in Cantonese, with English subtitles.

Further information on the Opening Night program and all other festival programs can be found at

But I digress, back to the Gala. During check in we were given golden wrist bands that gave us access to their sectioned off VIP lounge area.

This access included unlimited food and drink, while quantities lasted. Buffet style food for grazing the likes of shucked-to-order raw oysters, a series of aburi sushi and fusion-style rolls.

And later in the evening these tables were converted into a dessert bar with build yourself s’mores, brownies, and fresh fruit to nibble on.

However, the big pull for the bump in ticket price was the ability to order as much as you can carry and drink from the open VIP bar. Tonight they had a selection of coolers, beers, and wines. We kept it white before they ran out and we had to switch to red. Both of which were from Phantom Creek.

Food and drinks were also available to general admission ticket holders, with charcuterie and antipasto platters for grazing.

And servers rotating around the room with sliders and three different varieties of cake pops for dessert.

Each admission entry also got a ticket for the cash bar. We used ours for sparking wine, which was not at option within the VIP lounge.

The evening’s entertainment opened with a performance from Tiffany Day, a local singer. “After catapulting onto the scene with a viral video of her cover of “Hallelujah”, Day quickly cultivated a fanbase on YouTube. The Toronto-born, Kansas-raised singer-songwriter-producer moved out to Los Angeles and began independently releasing music while enrolled in college. Her blend of dancey production, hyperpop attitude and powerful vocals quickly developed a fervent following and took her on the road.”

When it was time to hit the dance floor Dj iFun took the stage. “Born in the Philippines but raised in Vancouver Canada, Dj iFun made his nightlife début in 2012 at a club in the busy district of Yaletown, Vancouver. Within a year he would then move to play all over downtown Vancouver and hold multiple residencies.”

There was also several photo opportunities including a backdrop with wings, the sponsors logo-ed wall paper, and 360 video booth to play with.

In short, a great way to celebrate a wonderful event, and if you didn’t know about it or missed it this year, be sure to bookmark it for 2023.

For more on the Vancouver Asian Film Festival and the event guide, visit the link below.


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