And so concludes the two-week movie-watching marathon otherwise known as the Vancouver International Film Festival.
At the 7 p.m. screening of the closing gala film The Illusionist, the 29th annual VIFF came to an end, with an awards ceremony.
Dave Hewitt from the VIFF Board of Directors said this year's estimates of attendance were based on last year, which was about 10,000 people per day, totaling approximately 140,000 to 150,000 attendees.
359 films from 80 countries were shown at over 600 screenings.
Minister of Heritage and Official Languages James Moore spoke about the importance of the arts, how the arts are an economic generator, and that the arts economy (worth $46 billion in the Canadian economy) is twice the size of the forest industry and three times the size of insurance industry. “Any government—municipal, provincial, territorial, federal—any government that says that they have a plan for economic growth that doesn’t have a plan to support the arts is a government that doesn’t have a plan for economic growth.”
CKNW’s Jill Bennett emceed the event.
Women in Film and Television Vancouver presented the previously announced Artistic Merit Award to actor April Telek, lead actor of Amazon Falls.
Canadian Images programmer Terry McEvoy introduced the jury for the Canadian awards, which consisted of instructor and director Sandy Wilson (My American Cousin), actor Deborah Kara Unger (The Game, Crash), and executive director of Arts and Culture for B.C. Andrea Henning.
Henning announced that the $2,000 Most Promising Director for a Canadian Short Film Award went to Halima Ouardiri for the Quebec short film “Mokhtar”, about a young boy in rural Morocco, whose attempt to save a baby owl ignites his father’s rage and fears due to superstitions.
“It is a morality tale without being didactic and it is rooted in a sense of place,” Henning explained and added that it was a cohesive, beautiful, cinematic tale.
Unger announced that the jury wanted to give special mention to Denis Cí´té’s Curling.
“We would like to honour a film that not only distinguished itself for its confidence of vision," she said, "but also its philosophical bravery, which indeed has provoked extreme responses, with its brittle Brechtian architecture, and its subtle, unapologetic power, akin to the art of Rothko, in its realization of life beneath the surface of winter.”
(Cí´té was a juror for the Dragons and Tigers Award For Young Cinema. That $10,000 award was previously given to Hirohara Satoru for Good Morning to the World! on October 7.)
The jury decided that two new awards would be introduced and added: best actor and actress. The actor award went to first-time actor Alexander Gammal for MODRA. (Director Ingrid Veninger jumped up to make an impromptu speech on Gammal’s behalf, and explained that it was his first time being away from home when they shot the film in Slovakia.)
Meanwhile, the best actress award went to Lubna Azabal of the stunning, emotionally powerful Incendies.
Denis Villeneuve’s Incdendies, which is Canada’s entry for best foreign-language Oscar, ended up winning the $20,000 ET Canada Award for Best Canadian Feature Film, which was presented by Frank Sampson, supervising director of ET Canada, and Wilson.
In the audience award categories, Franey announced that the VIFF environmental film award went to Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie by Sturla Gunnarsson, which opened in theatres in Vancouver today.
Meanwhile, the most popular non-fiction film was the German documentary Kinshasa Symphony about citizens in the Congo who gather to form an orchestra.
Yves Ma from the NFB presented the NFB Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award (with $2,500 in technical services) to Leave Them Laughing, about performer and terminal ALS patient Carla Zilbersmith. (Zilbersmith also received special recognition from WIFTV for their Artistic Merit Award.)
The B.C. comedy-drama Two Indians Talking by director Sara McIntyre was named the Most Popular Canadian Film. She accepted the award with her producer and actor Carmen Moore.
The Rogers Peoples Choice Award went to the U.K.-Brazil documentary Waste Land by director Lucy Walker.
Congratulations to all the winners.
The evening concluded with an after-party at the club Five-Sixty.