For the past 21 years, the Dragons and Tigers program at the Vancouver International Film Festival has been serving up the treats of East Asian cinema to hungry Vancouver audiences.
Tony Rayns, who has programmed Dragons and Tigers for the past 21 seasons, has seen audiences change through the years.
“I got frustrated at the beginning,” Rayns said. “What drew me to this was enthusiasm for the movies … and when we started it in Vancouver I felt there was a lot of snobbery and resistance to this.”
If, for example, a Chinese movie was shown, the audience would be primarily Chinese, he said.
The trend was similar for Korean and Japanese films.
“I don’t do it as a community service,” Rayns said. “These are pretty damn good movies and everyone interested in films would want to see these films, or at least be curious to see them.”
Now, he said, the audiences are a mixed spectrum of race and age and gender.
“It’s kind of mission accomplished,” Rayns said. “We’ve kind of won the case.”