VIFF 2011: Quebec films win big at Vancouver International Film Festival
After 16 days and 375 films, the cinematic cornucopia known as the Vancouver International Film Festival has finally wrapped up its 30th edition.
Awards were handed out on Friday (October 14) at the closing gala screening of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid With a Bike at the Vogue Theatre.
The Canadian Images jury—consisting of the Seattle International Film Festival's Beth Barrett, filmmaker Dana Claxton, and filmmaker and chinlone expert Greg Hamilton—chose Nuit #1 by Quebec's Anne Émond for the $20,000 Shaw Media Award for Best Canadian Feature Film. The award is given to a feature-length directorial debut. The film, about a one-night stand between a man and a woman that develops into unexpected emotional honesty, was chosen for "its unflinching intimacy and atmosphere of containment with candour and lucidity".
Honourable mention went to Wetlands, about four Québécois characters on a small family farm contending with economic pressures, by Quebec's Guy Édoin.
The jury also named Ontario's Andrew Cividino the most promising director of a Canadian short film for "We Ate the Children Last". Cividino received a $2,000 cash award. The short, about a cure discovered for digestive illnesses, was chosen "for its creation of an apocalyptic, yet fully believable world".
Audiences had their say about what were their favourites.A Separation (Iran) by Asghar Farhadi, about a divorced man and a female caregiver who become embroiled in the Iranian legal system, beat the festival's 375 titles to win the Rogers People's Choice Award.
Susanne Rostock's Sing Your Song (USA), a biography of Harry Belafonte, was voted the most popular nonfiction film.
The most popular Canadian film was Starbuck by Ken Scott. The Québécois comedy, about a failed marijuana grower who discovers he's the father of 533 children due to a lab mix-up of his sperm donations, had also been chosen to screen at the VIFF Anniversary Gala and is currently playing at Fifth Avenue Cinemas in Vancouver.
The $2,500 NFB Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award went to Charles Wilkinson's Peace Out, about the challenges posed by increasing energy consumption.
The Canadian documentary People of a Feather by Joel Heath, which captures the peril that the Saikiluaq people are facing due to environmental and ecosystem devastation, won the VIFF Environmental Film Audience Award.
The $10,000 Dragons and Tigers Award for Young Cinema had been previously announced on October 6 at separate awards ceremony. Tibetan filmmaker Sonthar Gyal won the award, given to new filmmakers from Pacific Asia, for his film The Sun-Beaten Path.
You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.