After 16 days of screenings, film industry guests, and parties, the Vancouver International Film Festival wrapped up its 32nd edition of its cinematic celebration with a closing gala and awards ceremony at the Vancouver Playhouse on Friday (October 11).
The Canadian Images jury, consisting of Corner Gas star Gabrielle Miller, former B.C. Film Commissioner and Capilano University motion picture arts program coordinator Dianne Neufeld, and former Radio Canada broadcaster and programming executive Michèle Smolkin, announced two awards.
The jury announced a tie for the Best Canadian First Feature. Jeff Barnaby's Quebec-Ontario production Rhymes for Young Ghouls, about the impact of residential schools on aboriginal people, shared the award with Jason James' B.C.–made feature That Burning Feeling, a locally set romcom about a promiscuous real estate agent who falls in love.
Meanwhile, Quebec's Mathieu Arsenault won the Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short award (along with $2,000) for "Nathan", about an irresponsible young man learning to become a father to his five-year-old son.
Quebec's Chloé Robichaud won the 18th annual Women in Film and Television Artistic Merit Award for Sarah Prefers to Run, a drama about a young track athlete struggling with her sexual identity.
Local star Babz Chula inspired Ben Ratner's Down River, an ensemble drama about three young artists nurtured by a mentor, and the film won the Most Popular Canadian Film Award.
Another B.C.–based film, Twyla Roscovich's Salmon Confidential, won the Most Popular Canadian Environmental Documentary Award. The film, which details biologist Alexandra Morton's struggles to prove the devastating effects farmed salmon have on wild salmon, will screen again at the VIFF Repeats series on Sunday (October 13).
Meanwhile, Jason daSilva won the Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award for When I Walk, which chronicles daSilva's struggles with multiple sclerosis.
The Most Popular Documentary Film Award went to Jennifer Steinman's Desert Runners (USA), about desert ultramarathon athletes.
Audiences chose Haifaa Al Mansour's Saudi Arabian/German production Wadjda, about a 10-year-old girl in Riyadh who wants to own a bike, as the Most Popular First Feature Award.
The Rogers Peoples Choice Award went to Koreeda Hirozaku's Japanese drama about sons switched at birth, Like Father, Like Son.
Previously announced awards include the $5,000 Dragons and Tigers Award for Young Cinema, which went to Ikeda Akira of Japan for Anatomy of a Paper Clip.
At the B.C. Spotlight Awards, Matthew Kowalchuk received the $7,500 B.C. Emerging Filmmaker Award for Lawrence & Holloman. Honorable mention went to Ben Ratner for Down River.
Bruce Sweeney's The Dick Knost Show was named the inaugural Best B.C. Film winner, and received a $10,000 development bursary from Astral's Harold Greenberg Fund and $10,000 post-production services credit from Finale Editworks.
The #mustseebc award went to Gary Hawes' mockumentary Leap 4 Your Life.
Although the festival has ended, the VIFF Repeats series will screen some of the most popular titles from the festival until Thursday (October 17).