Opening the festival with the Canadian Premiere of an Indigenous Animated Feature Film!
 March 28 – April 6, 2023, at the Vancity Theatre and The Roundhouse

For this big anniversary, the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth pays homage to the roots of the festival by highlighting the Edith Lando Peace Prize. Since 2008, with a cash award of $500, the Peace prize has celebrated films that use the medium of cinema to advance the goals of peace and justice. These themes can be found in many of this year’s films and programs, aligning our focus with the zeitgeist of youthful ambition, to create a more equitable world.


Jerry Thevenet | Canada | 85 mins | 2022 | Canadian Premiere | 9+ | In English

Inspired by stories that writer/director/producer Jerry Thevenet’s grandmother told him as a young boy, and based on one of the most compelling Indigenous legends of all time. A courageous young Inuit girl, Sedna, is kidnapped by a duplicitous raven and held captive on a dark and secluded island. Escaping on kayak, Sedna falls into the frigid arctic waters and magically transforms into a mermaid-like goddess– the Empress of the Sea. This special animation is a light-hearted, action-adventure musical that uses comedy, metaphors and allegory to introduce young people to the concept of residential schools and their impact on Indigenous children and families.

Tuesday, March 28 – 6 PM at VIFF Centre | OPENING NIGHT*
Thursday March 30 – 10 AM at VIFF Centre | Feature Focus school screening
Saturday, April 1 – 2 PM at VIFF Centre | Public screening
*Join us on opening night to meet the filmmaking team behind this visionary feature film. Celebrate our 25th anniversary with snacks, drinks, music and animation workshops!


Belle et Sebastien – Nouvelle Génération

Pierre Core | France | 96 mins | 2022 | Canadian Premiere | 9+ | In French with English subtitles 

Against his will, 10-year-old Sebastian is dropped off to spend his summer holiday in the mountains with his free-spirited aunt and withdrawn grandmother. Tasked with tending a flock of sheep while wolves circle, this city boy has a lot to learn if he’s ever going to live up to the legend of his late grandfather. Enter Belle, a huge mountain dog, presumed to be unhinged and untamable. Sébastien witnesses Belle being abused by her owner, and resolves to set her free.  

Thursday April 6 – 6 PM at VIFF Centre | CLOSING NIGHT*
*Preceded by Closing Awards Ceremony

Bringing the best films for all ages from around the world, this year’s festival can be enjoyed In person, and online in homes and classrooms across British Columbia!  In person events and ticket information: Tickets & Venues | Reel to Real (

Virtual access for an entire household is only $40. School group access, which includes educational materials, is only $75.

Students across the province are invited to attend our popular school programs: Reel Focus and Feature Focus for Elementary, and Talent Lab for High School. Available province-wide, these programs come with study guides and resources to help teachers integrate our programs into the school curriculum, touching on issues of social justice, history, and Indigenous rights and traditions..

We’re showing 10 feature films and 40 shorts, from over 20 countries and Indigenous nations, including 15 films from Canada. 8 feature films will compete for the prestigious Edith Lando Peace Prize, including: SEDNA, EMPRESS OF THE SEA; STAR WARS KID; POLARIS; THE HOUSE OF THE LOST ON THE CAPE; GOODBYE, DON GLEES!; SIMPLY NINA; HOW TO GET YOUR PARENTS TO DIVORCE!; and SINGO. Decided by R2R’s Adult Jury, the Peace prize comes with a cash award of $500, to the film that “best uses the language of cinema to further the goals of peace and justice.” Both the Senior (ages 13-18) and Junior Youth Jury (ages 9-12) will adjudicate on all short and feature films, eligible for the ‘Most Innovative’ and ‘Most Inspirational’ film awards in their age category. The Senior Jury will also decide the winner of the NFB Award for Best Animation.

We’ve scoured the globe to bring you the brightest and the boldest and invite you back to the cinema, while also offering our program directly to the comfort of your home.  More announcements in the coming weeks, including a couple Oscar nominated short films and a number of award winners. There’s something for everyone!

R2R Film Festival is grateful to the following sponsors and partners for their generous support:

Telefilm | City of Vancouver | BC Arts Council |  Province of British Columbia | Canada Council for the Arts | Department of Canadian Heritage 

The Edith Lando Charitable Foundation | Directors Guild of Canada | National Film Board of Canada | Harris and Co.

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