A must-see movie during this week’s Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is the documentary “I’m Just Here for the Riot,” which sheds light on the so-called Stanley Cup Riot of 2011.
That spring, after a Game 7 loss by Vancouver Canucks, some people in the streets lost their minds, set fire to vehicles, looted stores and brought shame to a city for the second time in 17 years.
Sadly, there was a similar riot in 1994 following a similar Canucks loss.
The more recent mayhem could be considered the first cellphone/social media riot of the sports world, and film co-directors Kathleen Jayme and Asia Youngman aim to chronicle the lasting impact on those who were there.
For their compelling 77-minute film they did well to track down and interview several of the rioters who outraged Vancouver residents with their actions on the night of June 15, 2011.
CLICK HERE to watch the movie trailer.
Just watched "I'm Just Here for the Riot" and struck by the sympathy shown for the profiled rioters in 2011.— Tom Zillich (@TomZillich) September 24, 2023
The doc will be shown at @VIFFest next week.
As a #Canucks fan, it's tough to watch, no question.
Details: https://t.co/B38chkX8Uj pic.twitter.com/3YxRknf73S
Of note, many of the rioters were from Surrey. Back in 2012 my colleague Tom Zytaruk reported that of the 100 suspects identified in January of that year, 18 were from Vancouver and 82 per cent lived outside that city. The majority of riot suspects were from Surrey (26 of them), followed by Vancouver, Burnaby (17), Maple Ridge (6) and other local cities.
For months, rioters were “outted” on social media and also a police-launched website devoted to tracking them down and charging them.
The film is pretty sympathetic to the profiled rioters, some of whom were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and merely had their photos taken in front of the destruction. Their uncontrolled “mob mentality” that evening is dispelled, however, when viewers are reminded that many good citizens stood guard in front of stores and tried to end the rioting, not join in the rampage.
If you’re a diehard Canucks fan like me it’s not easy to watch “I’m Just Here for the Riot,” which documents a terrible, painful night for Vancouver and its hockey team.
The film is another in ESPN’s excellent “30 for 30” series of sports-related docs. Jayme, in particular, should be credited for making another fine movie about the Vancouver sports experience, following 2018’s “Finding Big Country” (focused on former Grizzlies basketball star Bryant Reeves) and 2022’s “The Grizzlie Truth” (about the NBA team’s exit from the city).
The riot movie is the first feature-length documentary for Youngman, whose credits include the shorts “This Ink Runs Deep” (2019) and “N’xaatikw” (2022).
During VIFF, “I’m Just Here for the Riot” is screened Monday, Oct. 2 at Vancouver Playhouse, on Thursday, Oct. 5 at Park Theatre and Sunday, Oct. 8 back at the Playhouse. Tickets and other details can be found on viff.org.
Running Sept. 28 to Oct. 8, the 2023 version of VIFF is its first fully in-cinema festival since 2019. This year’s lineup offers 231 films including 138 features and 93 shorts, presented on 10 screens in seven Vancouver venues.