The 27th annual Vancouver International Film Festival’s 16-day cinematic smorgasbord concluded on October 10 with an awards ceremony hosted by CBC Radio (and Straight contributor) Bill Richardson at the Granville 7, followed by a ’60s mod–themed closing gala at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre.
The $10,000 Dragons and Tigers Award for Young Cinema had previously been announced on October 2 at a special screening of South Korea’s Hansel and Gretel. Hong Kong/China’s Emily Tang won for Perfect Life, with special mentions going to Japan’s Yokohama Satoko for German + Rain and China’s Gao Wendong for Sweet Food City.
The final awards ceremony, prior to a screening of the French film The Class, was a love-in for Mothers&Daughters, which local director Carl Bessai made with the award money he won at last year’s festival. Mothers star Tantoo Cardinal thanked “the creative force” for helping her win the Women in Film & Television Vancouver Artistic Merit Award, which has been given to a B.C. female filmmaker or performer since 1995. The film itself went on to win the VIFF Most Popular Canadian Film Award. Bessai accepted the award alongside Cardinal and Babz Chula (costar Gabrielle Rose was performing in a play), and mentioned that the film is being considered for a Mother’s Day release.
Other winning Canadian directors were Fifty Dead Men Walking’s Kari Skogland for the $12,000 Citytv Western Canada Feature Film Award, and Control Alt Delete’s Cameron Labine for the inaugural International Film Guide Inspiration Award for an emerging filmmaker. Labine thanked Telefilm Canada and the VIFF for their “sick sense of humour” in appreciating his comedy about a man with a sexual fetish for computers. Skogland said the award was a “fantastic surprise” and added it was a “difficult film to make”. Velcrow Ripper, who wasn’t in attendance, won the National Film Board’s Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award, which consists of $2,500 in NFB technical services, for Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action.
Ripper also garnered a special mention for the VIFF Nonfiction Feature Award, which was won by the Mexican documentary Born Without by the late Eva Norvind.
Drew McCreadie was named Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film for “The Valet”. McCreadie won $2,000 cash plus a $2,500 software package.
The French drama I’ve Loved You So Long, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and slated for a November release, was voted by audiences as the winner of the Rogers People’s Choice Award for the Most Popular Film. Other audience awards went to the American documentary Throw Down Your Heart by Sascha Paladino for the inaugural CBC–sponsored documentary Audience Award, and Blue Gold: World Water Wars, for the VIFF Environmental Film Audience Award. The film, executive produced by Mark Achbar (The Corporation), had its world premiere at the festival.