Sadly for cineastes, the Vancouver International Film Festival came to a close on October 11. The good news is that many of the titles will return later in the year, and that the best of the fest was feted with an awards ceremony prior to a screening of the festival's closing film, France’s La Belle Epoque, at the Centre for Performing Arts.
Several Indigenous films made quite an impression upon audiences.
Marie Clements won the VIFF Most Popular Canadian Feature Award for Red Snow, a thriller (partly shot in Vancouver) about a solider from the Canadian Arctic who is caught in an ambush in Afghanistan.
The VIFF Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award went to Charles Wilkinson’s Haida Modern, a profile of internationally renowned artist Robert Davidson from Haida Gwaii.
Both Red Snow and Haida Modern had their world premieres at VIFF.
The Women in Film and Television Vancouver’s Artistic Merit Award was bestowed upon filmmaker and anthropologist Mirjam Leuze for the German-Canadian coproduction The Whale and the Raven, a documentary that examines the impact that increased oil-tanker traffic has on the people, ecosystems, and sealife in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest region.
Peter Nelson’s American documentary The Pollinators, which had its international premiere at VIFF, received the $5,000 Rob Stewart Eco Warrior Award for its examination of how bees are threatened by current agricultural practices and what farming techniques can help.
The film will have a national theatrical release in Canada on November 11.
The award, named after the late documentary filmmaker and activist Rob Stewart from Toronto, recognizes a filmmaker whose work helps social progress.
The $5,000 VIFF Impact Award went to German filmmaker Michael Wech for Resistance Fighters, an in-depth look at the increase in multi-resistant bacteria.
Iranian filmmaker Taghi Amirani won the VIFF Most Popular International Documentary Award for Coup 53, an investigation of the 1953 coup in Iran that overthrew Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.
South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho won the Super Channel People’s Choice Award for his thriller Parasite, about a struggling family that infiltrates an affluent home. The film also won the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
Bong, who also directed The Host and Snowpiercer, previously visited VIFF four times with his films, and served as a Dragons and Tigers juror in 2010.
Although the festival has ended, many of this year’s audience hits are being shown again in the VIFF Repeats series at the Vancity Theatre until Thursday (October 17).