VIFF 2020 wraps successful online edition with audience awards for most popular films

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      And that’s a wrap for the first-ever hybrid edition of the annual Vancouver International Film Festival.

      With a screening of the French-Belgian comedy-drama Delete History on October 7, VIFF ended its 39th edition, which saw a reduced lineup over a span of 14 days that featured films selections streamed online (in addition to in-cinema screenings) for the first time. (The festival presented 102 feature films, 98 short films, and 19 talks and events.)

      It proved to be a fortunate move.

      VIFF stated in a news release today that festival subscription passes and gold-level subscriptions sold out.

      In fact, it was so well-received that VIFF interim executive director Kyle Fostner stated that it will serve as inspiration and guide forthcoming events and screenings.

      “We began planning VIFF 2020 with the intention to learn and grow as a result of moving online, and hopefully to lay foundations for future projects,” Fostner stated. “I’m overjoyed to share that our audience’s response to VIFF Connect has been overwhelmingly popular, and that the path we chose promises an enormous amount of potential for year-round programming and future festivals.”

      The most streamed films from this year’s program on the streaming platform VIFF Connect included several B.C. and Canadian films, such as Monkey Beach (B.C.), The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (B.C.), Beans (Canada), Inconvenient Indian (Canada), My Salinger Year (Canadian), and Falling (Canada/U.K./Denmark).

      Among the most popular international films streamed were Another Round (Denmark), My Donkey, My Lover, and I (France), Summer of 85 (France), and The Hidden Life of Trees (Germany).

      For the Best B.C. Short Film Award, Qiuli Wu’s “Sunken Cave and a Migrating Bird” received a special mention while Phillip Thomas “Cake Day” won the $5,000 award presented by Telus Storyhive.

      Salar Pashtoonyar’s “Bad Omen” was named the Best Canadian Short Film and received a $2,000 prize as well as a $15,000 credit for colour grading or VFX services from Side Street Post. Zoé Pelchat’s “Moon” received a special mention.

      My Wonderful Wanda
      Vancouver International Film Festival

      This year’s VIFF Audience Awards were determined by ratings submitted on VIFF Connect.

      Michelle Latimer’s Inconvenient Indian won the title of Most Popular Canadian Documentary.

      The Most Popular International Documentary was Jerry Rothwell’s The Reason I Jump (U.K./U.S.), which also won the $5,000 VIFF Impact Award.

      Tracey Deer’s Beans was named the Most Popular Canadian Narrative (it also won the $15,000 Best Canadian Film Award).

      The Most Popular International Narrative was Bettina Oberli’s My Wonderful Wanda (Switzerland).

      Other previously announced awards included best B.C. films and best Canadian and international documentary and features. In addition, VIFF Immersed Awards for virtual and augmented reality storytelling were also given out

      Meanwhile, several titles that appeared at the festival are having their theatrical runs and will be screened at Vancity Theatre (with most of them to be available online at VIFF Connect as well) at the Vancouver International Film Centre, which was reopened for VIFF 2020 after a $2.8-million renovation. Among the upcoming screenings are The Trial of of the Chicago 7, Super Frenchie, and My Prince Edward. For details, visit the VIFF website.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.