I’m 30. I’m single. I’m looking for a man.

Feminism is important to me. Men being feminist is important to me. I emphasize being feminist, because there’s a difference between identifying as something and actually being it.

I know a lot of good men who struggle to understand their place in feminism. And, on the other hand, I’ve met a lot of men who claim they’re feminist but don’t align their actions with this statement.

It’s frustrating to hear men disavow feminism. Aren’t we over this taboo yet? I’m a feminist and I love cock. There, I said it.

What I don’t love is patriarchy, and the way I’ve seen it played out through the way many men treat me, particularly in dating.

Here are a few things I’d like men to think about.

1. How do you talk about the women you date?

What words come up time and time again? Stupid? Slut? Dumb? Crazy? These notions are a product of patriarchy. Question yourself a little. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you have to perpetuate it.

2. Just because she talked to you all night doesn’t mean she owes you anything.

She doesn’t owe you her phone number, she doesn’t owe you another date, she doesn’t owe you a kiss, and she certainly doesn’t owe you any part of her body. It’s frustrating, I know, but that’s life. You win some, you lose some. Don’t seek out some weird revenge on the poor girl. She gave you a shot at least.

3. Please consider the fact that one in three Canadian women has experienced sexual violence.

Being one of these women, what I most want from a man is patience and understanding when it comes to sex and everything around it. I’m not perfect, I know I’m awkward and weird and have a delayed education to romance, but I’m doing my best. Just chill. You might have to be my “friend” first or deal with some hesitation and insecurity. The friend zone is not always a dead zone. And insecurities just need compassion.

(source)

4. In reference to number three. Know that sexual violence has a slew of consequences for those affected, and these consequences, though many are common, are different for every person experiencing them.

For instance, one of the ways it has affected me is believing that I am not loveable and being skeptical of anyone who shows interest. (I’m not looking for pity when I say this, it’s just an outcome of my experience…working on it!) It’s gone as far as not recognizing a person’s face. Because I had no way of saying it then, I’m sorry. I know this makes things really complicated and confusing for you, but hopefully this essay (and number five) helps.

5. The consequences of sexual violence are really hard to overcome.

Believe me. I look in the mirror and for the most part I think “damn, girl you fine!” I’m also smart and funny, but be damned if I’m not surprised if a cute fella smiles at me on the bus. Please make the first move! (If that doesn’t guilt you into it, I don’t know what else to try–haha! Sorry, wasn’t my first intention for this piece. 😉)

I feel like I got a little off track there and made light of something that’s actually been a serious problem in my life. (It’s okay if you laughed.) What I’m trying to say is, as a man, you are in a place of privilege. You are not only brought up to have confidence, but also statistically have more opportunity to be confident and fewer threats against this confidence being violently disrupted. Don’t take this for granted. What I’m seeing in my life is a serious lack of men with emotional integrity. Work on it.

I’m writing this essay because

a) I’ve seen many men trying to step up to the plate in this way and I really appreciate it, but you still have work to do

b) I’m 30. I’m single. I’m looking for a man. See above qualifications. If you’re intimated, good, let’s go on a date.

BONUS: Be Respectful.

Whoever wrote that book that tells you to be a jerk to women you like is wrong. Just be respectful. Go ahead, try it out.

Respectful is different than nice. For example, being respectful means that instead of ignoring a woman’s texts, tell her you’re not interested. Depending on your situation, here’s a sample:

“Hey! I had a great time but I’m feeling more of a friendship with you.”

Be warned, just because you’re nice doesn’t mean she owes you anything.

The obvious, which I shouldn’t have to mention, but for some of you low lifes out there

Don’t rape. If a woman wants you to use a condom, don’t stick your dick in her without one. She’s a kid, don’t try to have sex with her.

Dirty Thirty Goals for a Flirty Wordy Soul

Every year I write a list of goals on my birthday. Sometimes I publish it, other times I don’t… but every time I fail to complete it… and I’m okay with that. Nevertheless, here’s another. Maybe with age I’ll learn to set goals low so that I can overachieve!

Dirty Thirty Goals for a Flirty Wordy Soul

Dirty Thirty Basic Goals

  1. Acquire Five Plants–I can’t promise to keep them alive
  2. Try all the Greater Vancouver Breweries–Lifetime goal = try all breweries in BC!
  3. Take on More Freelance Work
  4. Go Skinny Dipping
  5. Hang Art in my New Ap-ART-ment
  6. Go to a U-Pick
  7. Write More Blog Posts
  8. Host a Few Get Togethers

Dirty Thirty Writing Goals

  1. Finish Writing “I Didn’t Tell”
  2. Write One New Story
  3. Get Published!
  4. Write a Kids’ Book
  5. Inventory and Digitize Notebooks
  6. Submit Work to Two Writing Contests
  7. Do More Journaling
  8. Do More Waiting Words

Dirty Thirty Creative Goals

  1. Take a Calligraphy Class
  2. Start a Scrapbook–Like mom’s
  3. Take Another Burlesque Class
  4. Take an Art Class
  5. Try Doing the Artist’s Way Again
  6. Make a Few Homemade Christmas Gifts
  7. Submit to Boobies + Wieners Show
  8. Take an Improv Class

Dirty Thirty Health Goals

  1. Do a Juice Cleanse
  2. Do More Yoga, Weight Training + Ab Workouts
  3. Find a New Cardio Workout
  4. Listen to More Meditations
  5. Eat More Salad
  6. Do an Allergy Elimination Diet

Client Spotlight :: Meet Fifth Avenue Dental Clinic

Fifth Avenue Dental Clinic is your friendly neighbourhood dentist office in Cochrane, AB, the town where I grew up. I’m excited to announce I just finished designing their new logo, website, and postcard. Have a look!

If you’re in need of some dental care, I recommend visiting Dr. Kostyk. You may just see my mom’s friendly face at the reception desk too.

Like Their New Website?

Are you a Cochrane business looking for a new website or logo? I’ve got a few openings in the Fall and I’d love to help out the businesses in my hometown.

Have a look at my design portfolio for more examples of websites I’ve designed!

Get in touch here.

Anaïs Nin Quotes to Drool Over

Anaïs Nin quotes always lift me up onto a cloud. If you’ve ever been guilty of peeling open your sibling’s or your roommate’s diary, then you aught to read Anaïs Nin’s work.

Anaïs Nin wrote diaries for more than 60 years, starting around age 11. Lucky for us, these diaries are published—and they’re more interesting than your sister’s obsessive crush. Nin writes about her sexual exploits, her love affairs, her ideas and musings, and about feminism through the years.

Seven Captivating Anaïs Nin Quotes

Anaïs Nin Quotes

Anaïs Nin Quote 01

“I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.” – Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin Quote 02

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin Quote 03

“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.” – Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin Quotes Post - George Leite and Anaïs Nin at daliel's bookstore in Berkeley, CA, 1946

Anaïs Nin Quote 04

“How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?” – Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin Quote 05

“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.” – Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin Quote 06

“I hate men who are afraid of women’s strength.” – Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin Quote 07

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” – Anaïs Nin

What are your favorite Anaïs Nin quotes?


If you enjoyed this Anaïs Nin quotes, you’ll probably also like The Problem with David Schwimmer’s #ThatsHarrassment Videos and 10 Things I Read, Thought About, or Noticed this Week.

10 Things I Read, Thought About or Noticed this Week

01 :: My Summer Anthem

02 :: Kitten My Yoga On

If you’re into yoga and helping kids, then please join or donate to my yogathon team! We’re raising funds for Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland all while “kitten” our yoga on! It’s September 9 at David Lam Park!

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03 :: Ellen Degeneres is so Amazing

This woman makes me cry happy tears, every freaking time.

04 :: 24-Hour Movie Marathon—Can We Have in Winter?

I would love to do an all-day movie marathon, but not when the sun is shining. If you’re a vampire you should go!

05 :: Bloodline + House of Cards + (soon) Game of Thrones = All New Seasons

Again, why in the summer?! But I’m srsly stoked.

06 :: Fuck Trump

07 :: NDP + BC Greens = Government?

Hearing that the BC Greens will support a minority government led by the NDP makes me happy. But what’s next? BC Liberals say it’s their “responsibility” to form a minority government. That Christy.

08 :: Depression is a Real Thing

It’s good to hear that more and more adults don’t feel ashamed of their mental illness and are seeking support. As someone who has struggled with depression all my life, I can say that getting a physician’s consult has made a world of difference. There’s a basic foundation of wellbeing that’s missing when you have depression, and until it’s addressed, it’s hard to make sense of the doldrum. Good things happen, but you can’t help but feel malaise. Finding support that works feels like a veil has been lifted.

09 :: Stealthing is a Real Thing

If you don’t know this already, please be aware that consent means both parties have agreed to all aspects of the sexual activity…including whether or not you use a condom.

10 :: Cativersary

My cat and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary last month. Isn’t she cute?

The Problem with David Schwimmer’s #ThatsHarassment Videos

The David Schwimmer PSAs blew up my Facebook feed this week. Touted as “powerful” and “must-see” I thought they’d reveal something about sexual harassment that the average person didn’t already know. Instead, they perpetuate the patriarchal interpretation of what sexual harassment is and is not. That is to say that unless sexual harassment escalates to a certain degree, it’s not, in fact, harassment.

Each PSA portrays intensifying incidences of sexual harassment in workplaces. A bartender who harasses his new female colleague with inappropriate jokes, then grabs her ass and licks her ear. A boss who hovers over his employee, gets increasingly closer, then touches her earrings and kisses her on the lips. A photographer who prods for a model’s sexual fantasies then has her masturbate in front of him.

The clips end with “#ThatsHarrassment” displayed across the screen. As someone who has experienced sexual harassment, “#ThatsHarassment” felt like a slap in the face. It was as if to say the crude jokes, inappropriate hovering and uncomfortable prodding were not also harassment, which they are.

Here’s how the Government of British Columbia defines sexual harassment:

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It is sexual harassment if someone repeatedly says or does things to you that are insulting and ffensive. It can be words or actions that are sex or gender-related.
There are many types of sexual harassment:

  • unwanted touching
  • making o ensive jokes or remarks about women or men
  • making sexual requests or suggestions
  • staring at or making unwelcome comments about someone’s body
  • showing sexual pictures or images
  • being verbally abusive to someone because of gender

Harassment may be sex discrimination even if it is not sexual in nature. This can happen when someone harasses you simply because of your gender. Sexual harassment happens most often to women, but it can also happen to men or between members of the same sex.

Sexual harassment is a human rights issue. If you or someone you know is experiencing harassment or discrimination based on your sex or gender, you can seek help. Don’t feel like you have to report it, but here are some resources that may help you:

Please let me know if you know of other resources in and around Vancouver, or if you need directing to services in your own area.

Meet Blue Lotus Ethnobotanicals

It’s tough to make friends in adulthood. Without the confines of a classroom to force you together, forging new friendship relies on extending out beyond your comfort zone. Enter Vancouver Neatos interviews, where I introduce you to a new face in Vancouver. Want to take part? Drop me a line.

PatAmel

Meet my sister, Amelia, and her partner, Patrick! I’m so inspired by their whimsy ways and deep connection to the earth. Read their story below and learn about how they craft herbal tinctures, salves, and tea blends by sourcing right from nature.

Tell us about yourselves. How did you meet?

We both own the company Blue Lotus ethnobotanicals. We spend our time formulating and making tinctures, salves, and tea blends. Wildcrafting, camping, and learning new ways to perserve wild foods and medicines is our passion! We love each other and being in the forest! Of course our families and community also! We met when I had just come back from Vipassana, a meditation camp in Alberta, and was headed to “The Potluck House” (where Patrick lived in) to meet my friend Sara, although, she was not there yet, Patrick and my friend being the only ones there! It was love at forest site ahaha I suppose!

What is Blue Lotus Ethnobotanicals?

Blue Lotus Ethnobotanicals is a company based on bringing the best medicinals from around the world, as well as working with what grows in our local environment. We focus a lot on wildcrafting medicinal plants and fungi here in Alberta and British Columbia. By using sustainable harvesting practices, and preparing medicines from these wild plants, we hope to raise people’s awareness of local herbal medicines, and to foster an appreciation and love of the wild lands and forests, to see them not just as empty or wasted space but as a valuable resource worthy of protection.

What got you started on this venture? How did you get into creating tinctures?

When we first met, Patrick made a tincture of Sexual Tonic and Aphrodisiac. Not that WE needed it at the time, but we tested it out on our friends, and it was such a huge hit with our friends we decided to continue to create more and more! As we got more into wild plants and foods it came naturally to tincture the medicines as it’s a great way to preserve and extract them!

Sexual_Tonic_Large

What sort of tinctures do you offer? What do they do? Do you have a favourite?

We offer a variety of tinctures ranging from our more playful ones such as Sexual Tonic and Aphrodisiac and Herbal Ecstacy to more medicinal ones such as Adaptogen and Immunostimulant, Medicinal Mushroom blend, and then to a whole line in which we wildcrafted ourselves such as Wild Adaptogen, Wild Ginger, Wild Sarsaparilla… etc.

If you’d like to order some tinctures, salves, and tea blends or just learn more about their products, send them an email.

What has been the biggest challenge?

The Biggest challenge has been to be organized on a business point of view. The making of everything has come naturally and with joy. As for the business aspect, we fly by the seat of our pants and sometimes it feels more forced than natural. Marketing and selling our product on a level other than one-on-one basis is challenging.

What advice can you give to crafters & artisans starting on a similar journey?

Do what you love! It’s worth it no matter what if it’s something that you enjoy doing and will do no matter what!

What’s in the works for you in the near future?

Our goals are to expand and get into more stores and continue on with new formulas as they come!

How do you keep your life playful & brilliant?

Well, we love what we do and spend so much of the time wildcrafting for the tinctures that life couldn’t be better! We have allowed ourselves to go at our rate and grow our business slowly, so we haven’t had much stress about the need for expansion or over commitment! We love it to say the least.


Much love to Amelia & Patrick. I’m so happy to share their story. Again, if you want to order tinctures, learn more or just say hi, simply email Amelia & Patrick!

26 Easy Ways to Help the Environment

My Little Sister (in the Big Sisters Study Buddy Program) and I came up with 26 easy ways to help the environment. We’re both pretty conscientious about our daily choices, but felt that there is always room for improvement. So, if you’re looking for easy ways to help the environment, here are 26 of them!

26 Easy Ways to Help the Environment

25 Easy Ways to Help the Environment

  1. Don’t smoke

  2. Throw away waste/recyclables/compost in their appropriate bins

  3. Don’t pick plants or cut down trees just because you want to

  4. Bring your own mug/thermos to the coffee shop

  5. Use things made with recyclable materials as much as you can

  6. Donate to environmental organizations

  7. Walk, ride your bike, or use public transit

  8. Watch nature channels and documentaries to learn more about the environment and how you can help

  9. Don’t waste water

  10. Turn off the lights and unplug outlets when you leave the room

  11. Plant more plants!

  12. Use revolving doors (they help conserve energy)

  13. Don’t run water while you brush your teeth (you can use a cup of water instead)

  14. Don’t use exfoliants with plastic microbes because they harm fish and wildlife

  15. Pay your bills online

  16. Use environmentally friendly lightbulbs

  17. Don’t wash your hair frequently

  18. Stir coffee with dry pasta instead of a stir stick

  19. Use a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand and only run it when it’s full

  20. Reduce or eliminate meat consumption

  21. Use a refillable water bottle

  22. Limit use of napkins (try using only one next time)

  23. Don’t put glass in the trash

  24. Eat + shop locally

  25. Support + use renewable energy as much as possible

  26. Volunteer!

The Cutest Instagram Animals to Follow Now

The cutest Instagram animals are where I spend my time on Instagram. It’s hard to resist their sweet eyes, endearing grins, and awkward poses! Here are the top nine cutest Instagram animals. Go follow them right now!

The Cutest Instagram Animals to Follow Now

@theodoretoast

Cutest Instagram Animals - TheodoreToast
TheodoreToast tops the list because he lives next door to where I work. Plus he’s just so fluffy. Look at those eyes!

@bunnypigi

Cutest Instagram Animals - BunnyPigi
I love BunnyPigi also because she’s fluffy. I just really want to feed her a carrot.

@darcytheflyinghedgehog

16-10-05-instahedge-darcy
DarcyTheFlyingHedgehog has made me fall in love with rodents. He looks so sophisticated don’t you think?

@underbiteunite

Cutest Instagram Animals - UnderBite
UnderbiteUnite (aka Daisy) makes my heart melt. I love these animals overcoming adversity.

@marutaro

Cutest Instagram Animals - Maru
MaruTaro looks like the life of the party. I want him… now!

@marniethedog

Cutest Instagram Animals - Marnie
MarnieTheDog is one of the luckiest and cutest Instagram animals. She gets to meet celebs on a regular basis. Bitch.*

*Pun intended

@emonemon

Cutest Instagram Animals - ShiShi
Shi Shi (aka @emonemon) 100% reminds me of my own cat. Namely because of this photo.

@pudgethecat

Cutest Instagram Animals - PudgeCat
PudgeTheCat is one of the cutest Instagram animals that looks the most surly. I seriously take pleasure in his misery.

Chi Chi via @stephiestylings

Cutest Instagram Animals - Chi Chi
I also share photos of my own cutest Instagram animal, Chi Chi. Follow us @stephiestylings.

VIFF 2016 Must See Films in Vancouver

I don’t think I’ll have time to see all my VIFF 2016 must see films, but I’m excited for the festival nonetheless. The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is by far my favorite festival in Vancouver. Every year, I buy a six-pack pass for all my VIFF 2016 must see films, but it’s not nearly enough to catch all the flicks that peak my interest.

Here is my list of the top 11 VIFF 2016 must see films in Vancouver.

Top 11 VIFF 2016 Must See Films in Vancouver

VIFF 2016 Must See Films

Screenshot taken from VIFF.org.

All descriptions are taken from the VIFF website.
I have no affiliation with VIFF, just absolutely love it!

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 01 :: Julieta

After the raucous sex comedy of I’m So Excited and the psychological body horror of The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodóvar brings us a vivid, female-driven picture that takes him back to a near-extinct genre: the heart-on-the-sleeve melodrama. Based on stories by Alice Munro, Julieta uses a familiar framework to house the director’s idiosyncratic style.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 02 :: The Teacher

The prolific Czech director-writer duo Jan Hřebejk and Petr Jarchovský (Divided We Fall) return to top form with the compelling Slovak-language dramedy The Teacher. Set in Bratislava during the final decade of communism, it examines the abuse of power at a middle school. Zuzana Mauréry (named best actress at Karlovy Vary) tears into the part of a lifetime as a terrifying instructor who heads the local Communist Party and uses her pupils to manipulate their parents for her own personal benefit…

Buy Tickets

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 03 :: Franca: Chaos and Creation

hen fashion insiders want to visit the territory where fashion, art and provocation meet, they pick up Vogue Italia, considered the world’s most important fashion magazine. With Franca: Chaos and Creation, director Francesco Carrozzini has made an intimate portrait of his mother, Franca Sozzani, the legendary editor-in-chief of the magazine since 1988. Encompassing both the ridiculous and the sublime, her astonishing but often controversial magazine covers have not only broken the rules but also set the high bar for fashion, art and commerce over the past 25 years. From 2005’s infamous Plastic Surgery Issue in which photographer Steven Meisel documented supermodel Linda Evangelista’s “makeover” to the legendary Black Issue in 2008, which featured only black models and—despite industry prognostications to the contrary—sold out in America and the UK in 72 hours, Sozzani was unafraid to take the industry by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake. As the film shows, she remains deeply committed to exploring subject matter off limits to most and occasionally redefining the concept of beauty in the process.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 04 :: The Unknown Girl

Adèle Haenel (Love at First Fight, VIFF 14) confirms her place in the firmament of French movie stars with a riveting turn in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s (Two Days, One Night, VIFF 14) latest drama. She plays Jenny, a committed young Belgian doctor who, when not training interns and making house calls, cares for the poor and needy at the clinic where she works. One day she receives a call from the police: a woman’s body has been found on a nearby riverbank. Might Jenny have any information that could help with the investigation? With a shock, she realizes that the woman was someone she had turned away from the clinic due to the lateness of the hour. With her conscience preying on her, she makes some inquiries of her colleagues and realizes that few seem even remotely interested in the fate, or even the identity, of the woman, who was black and without papers. So, driven by guilt, Jenny decides to investigate for herself…

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 05 :: Sonita

The dismaying practice of selling teenagers into marriage is thrust into the damning spotlight in Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s essential documentary. An Afghan refugee in Iran, 14-year-old Sonita aspires to be a hip-hop superstar like Rihanna. But such fantasies can’t fully distract her from the grim reality that she and her teenage friends all have prices on their heads. During breaks at school, she and her fellow refugees don’t talk about boys or pop culture trends, but how much their parents will get for them. When Sonita’s brother requires a dowry to pay for his own bride, her family decides that selling her is the best way to secure the necessary funds.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 06 :: Lights Before Water

Made in collaboration with the Cree community of Waswanipi, Lights Above Water is an extraordinary documentary that is equal parts observational and poetic. Shot over the course of a year, co-directors Nicolas Lachapelle and Ariel St-Louis Lamoureux’s film follows a group of young children through their daily lives as they talk about their home, play, hunt, and dance (a moment that triggers a particularly memorable Rihanna music cue). The camera manages to keep a distance, allowing the children to guide the film and express themselves, privileging the viewer by immersing us in their world. Expressive stylistic flourishes and striking imagery imbue the work with a lyrical quality unusual for documentary. A generous and humane meditation on identity and place unfettered by an issue-driven hook or a conventional narrative, Lights Above Water (a colloquial translation of “Waswanipi”) is the rare sort of film that refuses to impose its own agenda while transcending categorization and refraining from delivering a simple message. In so doing, it becomes a beautiful work of art to behold.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 07 :: Neruda

Another robust and inventive drama from Pablo Larraín (No, VIFF 12; The Club, VIFF 15), Neruda, set in 1948 Chile, is more about the transformative possibilities of art and the power of cinematic storytelling than it is a biopic of the great poet, politician and diplomat Pablo Neruda (played here by Luis Gnecco). In fact, while the spirit of the poet hovers over every frame of the film, Neruda, the personage, takes a back seat to Gael García Bernal’s terrific performance as Oscar Peluchonneau, a somewhat inept yet self-aggrandizing police detective who, Javert-like, makes it his mission to hunt down Neruda once the poet is forced into hiding due to his communist beliefs. That we are never sure of Peluchonneau’s reliability as a guide through the proceedings is a deliberate strategy, as is the complex depiction of Neruda—the man is not accorded saint-like status by any means. For Larraín, the mere facts are secondary to the film artist’s ability to create worlds, and to celebrate the power of art. It is, after all, the poetry that really matters.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 08 :: Cadence

Local filmmaker Alex Lasheras arrives on the scene with this debut feature, a unique psychological thriller dealing with notions of self-identity and reality. When the eponymous heroine begins to experience hallucinations during what is supposed to be a romantic getaway with her pop-star boyfriend, fear and confusion test her ability to distinguish the visions from reality.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 09 :: Personal Shopper

Re-teaming after 2014’s Clouds of Sils Maria, director Olivier Assayas and star Kristen Stewart journey into the uncanny with a terrific horror story that begins, innocuously enough, as the tale of Maureen (Stewart), an American in Paris who makes ends meet by assisting snobby and demanding supermodel-cum-fashion designer Kyra (Nora Von Waltstätten). Though ill-treated, Maureen gets her own back by surreptitiously making use of Kyra’s haute-couture outfits and camping out in Kyra’s luxury apartment when the designer is away. But Maureen is much more than just a mildly transgressive personal shopper: she is, in fact, a medium who makes forays into the psychic realm in an effort to contact the spirit of her twin brother Lewis, a lad who died of the same congenital heart problem Maureen herself suffers from. When one of her frequent wanderings through the creepy old Parisian house that she and Lewis grew up in seems to lead to a connection, Assayas ratchets up the tension with the finesse of a master. In her heartfelt attempts to contact the other side, just what has Maureen wrought?

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 10 :: The Phantom Detective

Weird and rather wonderful, Jo Sunghee’s take on gumshoe mysteries, hard-boiled noir and vast conspiracy thrillers is every bit as idiosyncratic as you might expect from his previous films—all of which have played in VIFF. It’s set in a retro world without mobile phones and modern tech, and stylised in ways that bring memories of the Hollywood studio heyday rushing in. But at the same time it’s as Korean as kimchi (the underlying paranoid fantasies about a power-elite have a lot to do with Korea’s authoritarian past), and it has a gentle streak running through it which offsets the cruelty and violence. In short, it’s a typical Jo Sunhee movie.

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

VIFF 2016 Must See Films 11 :: Nelly

Anne Émond (Nuit #1) returns to VIFF with the startling and sensual true story of Nelly Arcan (born Isabelle Fortier), a young escort-turned-award-winning writer whose lurid life, skilfully penned accounts of her exploits and tragic death became a cause célèbre in Quebec. Arcan’s first novel Putain (Whore) caused a sensation and enjoyed immediate critical and media success. It contained enough similarities between the prostitute protagonist Cynthia and Arcan’s own experience as a professional sex worker to press the media’s buttons, making for instant celebrity in the Québec pantheon. Mylène MacKay delivers a memorable and steamy performance in the title role of Nelly, or, more precisely, the four faces of Nelly. There’s Nelly, the tell-all writer; Amy, the rapturous lover; Cynthia, the top-shelf whore; and Marilyn, the sparkling “glitterati.”

Buy Tickets :: Watch the trailer

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