As Canada commemorates its 150th anniversary, the Vancouver International Film Festival has been celebrating the accomplishments of Canadian filmmakers throughout its 36th edition.
Tonight (October 7), VIFF announced the winners for B.C. and Canadian awards at the B.C. Spotlight Gala screening of Vancouver filmmaker Melanie Wood’s documentary Shut Up and Say Something, about spoken-word poet Shane Koyczan.
It turned out to be quite the night for B.C. filmmaker Kathleen Hepburn.
In the B.C. award categories, Hepburn won the B.C. Emerging Filmmaker Award for her Fort St. James–shot feature Never Steady, Never Still, about a woman with advanced Parkinson’s disease whose son is struggling with his sexual identity while working in Alberta’s oil fields.
Hepburn received a $7,500 cash prize from the Union of BC Performers/ACTRA, plus a $10,000 equipment credit from William F. White.
What’s more, Hepburn also received the $2,000 Emerging Canadian Director Award from the Directors' Guild of Canada. Halifax filmmaker Seth A. Smith received an honorable mention for his horror film The Crescent.
Hepburn went on to also win the $20,000 Sea to Sky Award, which recognizes the work of a female key creative in a B.C.–produced feature or short film.
Honourable mention for this award went to Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers for c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city, a look at the largest village of the Musqueam people that existed before Vancouver did.
Yassmina Karajah's “Rupture”, about four Arab teens searching for a public swimming pool in their new Canadian home, also received a special mention in that category and went on to win the $5,000 Best B.C. Short Film award, presented by Creative BC. Co-directors Jennifer Chiu and Jean Parsons received special mention for “Memory of the Peace” in this category.
Among British Columbian feature films, Wayne Wapeemukwa’s Luk’Luk'I was named the Best B.C. Film and will receive a $10,000 development bursary from the Harold Greenberg Fund and a $15,000 post-production services credit from Encore. The film (pronounced “luck-lucky”) depicts a day in the Downtown Eastside on the last day of the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver.
In the Canadian categories, out of 17 nominated Canadian narrative features, Cory Bowles’ politically charged drama Black Cop was named the Best Canadian Film, and will receive $10,000 sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada.
Charles Officer’s Unarmed Verses was named Best Canadian Documentary, and received $15,000 from the Rogers Group of Funds. Special mention went to Melanie Wood for Shut Up and Say Something.
Phillip Barker won the $2,500 Best Canadian Short Film Award for "Shadow Nettes". Special mention went to Kazik Radwanski's “Scaffold”.
Vincent Toi was named Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film for “The Crying Conch”, and will receive $2,000 cash and a Delta Air Lines round-trip flight. Adib Alkhalidey received special mention for “Go Play Outside”.
The Impact Award and the Super Channel People's Choice Award will be announced at the festival’s closing gala at the Centre for the Performing Arts on October 13.