News from Hollywood North

Vancouver critics dole out accolades
Eastern Promises swept the Canadian categories for best film, best actor (Viggo Mortensen), and best director (David Cronenberg) at the eighth annual Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards, hosted by Terry David Mulligan at the Railway Club on February 11. No Country for Old Men had the most wins in the international section with best film, best supporting actor (Javier Bardem), and best director (Ethan and Joel Coen). American Venus scooped best B.C. film, while The Tracey Fragments’ Ellen Page won best actress in a Canadian film.

Accepting awards in person were Young People Fucking’s Sonja Bennett (best performance by a supporting actress in a Canadian film) and casting director Stuart Aikins (achievement award for contribution to B.C. film).

Mulligan called Aikins, who cast for films such as Legends of the Fall and Unforgiven, a “true pioneer”.

“Producers or studio heads who either didn’t know where Vancouver was or thought they couldn’t possibly have actors up here capable of reading their lines, had their minds changed with just one phone call from Stuart,” Mulligan said.

> Craig Takeuchi

Hurry to catch Canadian movies
As the February 24 Academy Awards draw near, First Weekend Club founder Anita Adams says it’s time to see Canadian film. FWC urges moviegoers to see Canadian films on their first weekend so they get a longer run.

“Leading up to the Oscars is where you’ll discover a lot of Canadian films in theatres,” Adams told the Straight in a phone interview. “After the awards, you’ll find it more difficult to see Canadian films because those Oscar-award–winning films will be back in theatres, so that kind of squeezes them out again.”

According to Profile 2007: An Economic Report on the Canadian Film and Television Production Industry by the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, in 2006 Canadian films earned $35 million, with their share of the Canadian box office dropping to 4.2 percent; foreign films earned $63 million with a 7.6-percent share, and American films raked in $734 million, with an 88.3-percent share.

Lindsay Nahmiache, spokesperson for Festival Cinemas said large theatre chains have deals with large American distributors that don’t distinguish between Canadian and American markets.

> Jessica Werb

Green VFS Attains carbon neutrality
Pete Mitchell said “it feels quite gratifying” for Vancouver Film Studios to have achieved carbon neutrality. Mitchell, VFS chief operating officer, told the Straight that this is “a way to compete against the other locations”¦on a nonmonetary basis”.

East Vancouver–based VFS claims that it is the first carbon-neutral studio in Canada. VFS underwent analysis by greenhouse-gas accountant Paul Stewart of Go Neutral Now Consulting.

“There are these standards, put out by the World Resources Institute, and they have created a standard for the ISO [International Standards Organization] protocol, and he [Stewart] is adhering to those standards and it is just a methodology for analyzing a business,” Mitchell said. “We have gone through that, looked at our business, and put together a plan for how we are going to reduce our emissions over time, but meanwhile we have purchased carbon offsets and that has reduced us down to zero.”

> Matthew Burrows

Changing the world with film
Entrants in the 5 Minutes to Change Your World documentary contest will have seven days (February 23 to 29) to make five- to seven-minute documentaries showing the impact of selected topics on the filmmakers’ communities, as well as possible solutions. Judges include Celluloid Social Club cofounder Paul Armstrong. The entry deadline is February 22, and the fee will jump from $125 to $150 on Monday (February 17). For details, visit .

> Craig Takeuchi