Sunday, October 17, 2010

Award winners announced for VIFF 2010

Prior to the closing gala screening on Friday, October 15 of the French film L'illusioniste (The Illusionist) by Sylvain Chomet, award winners were announced for the 2010 Vancouver International Film Festival. The closing screening took place in the Visa Screening Room at the Empire Granville 7 Cinemas. Two juried awards were announced previously. Two other awards were decided by jury, while another five awards were chosen by the audience.

Winner of the Best Canadian Feature Film award was Incendies, which also won that same prize at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was chosen to be Canada's representative for the Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars, and was the best film I saw at TIFF and the best film I've seen so far this year. Montreal-based director Denis Villeneuve previous won this prize in 2000 with his debut feature Maelstrom. Winner of  Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film was Montreal filmmaker Halima Ouardiri's 15-minute short film Mokhtar, which coincidentally is set in the Middle East as is Incendies. The jury also added two impromptu categories for best actor and actress and bestowed those awards to Alexander Gammal (MODRA) and Lubna Azabal (Incendies) respectively.

List of 2010 Vancouver International Film Festival award winners:


ET Canada Award for Best Canadian Feature Film ($20,000 prize)
The jury for the Canadian Images program awarded the ET Canada Award for Best Canadian Feature Film and its $20,000 cash prize to director Denis Villeneuve of Quebec for Incendies.The winner was selected from eleven films in competition. The jury included Andrea Henning, executive director of Arts and Culture for the Province of British Columbia; actor Deborah Kara Unger, the star of David Fincher's The Game, Norman Jewison's Hurricane, David Cronenberg's Crash, and many other films; and award-winning writer, director, producer and educator Sandy Wilson (My American Cousin, American Boyfriends and Harmony Cats, to name a few). Frank Samson, supervising producer of ET Canada, and jury member Sandy Wilson, presented the award on behalf of ET Canada.
The jury singled out Curling by Quebec director Denis Côté; the announcement was made by jury member Deborah Kara Unger.

Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film
The Canadian Images jury has awarded a $2,000 cash award to director Halima Ouardiri of Quebec for her short film Mokhtar. The competition was open to first-time filmmakers. Jury member Andrea Henning announced the award.


Rogers People's Choice Award

Waste Land (UK/Brazil), directed by Lucy Walker, has won the Rogers People's Choice Award. This UK/Brazilian coproduction follows renowned artist Vik Muniz into his three-year artistic collaboration with resident recyclers of the world's largest landfill outside of Rio. All of the festival's 359 films - dramas and nonfiction, short, mid- and feature length - were eligible, and festival-goers chose the most popular film by rating every film they saw on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). Thor Diakow presented the award on behalf of Rogers.

VIFF Most Popular Nonfiction Film Award
The audience chose Kinshasa Symphony (Germany), directed by Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer for the VIFF most popular Nonfiction Film Award. This German film set in the Democratic Republic of Congo shows how people living in one of the most chaotic cities in the world find joy by playing classical music.

VIFF Most Popular Canadian Film Award
Two Indians Talking
(Canada/BC) directed by Sara McIntyre, won the VIFF Most Popular Canadian Film Award. Two Indians Talking is director Sara McIntyre's original take on the relationship of two first nations cousins. Watch for exploding stereotypes and some great performances by Nathaniel Arcand and Justin Rain. The award was announced by Canadian Images programmer Terry McEvoy.

NFB Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award
Leave Them Laughing
(BC) directed by John Zaritsky, won the NFB's Most Popular Canadian Documentary award and a prize of $2,500 in NFB technical services toward their next film. Leave Them Laughing is director John Zaritsky's gripping documentary about Carla Zilbersmith's struggle with the incurable disease, ALS. Zaritsky captures Carla's candour and her remarkable sense of humour in a profoundly unfunny situation.

VIFF Environmental Film Audience Award
Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie
(Canada),directed by Sturla Gunnarsson,has won the VIFF Environmental Film Audience Award. Ecologist and scientist David Suzuki serves as veteran filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson's subject in this thorough, deep-reaching account of the Canadian icon's life. Gunnarsson shows how Suzuki's relationship with his father and the family's internment during WWII gave Suzuki a sense that history matters and helped shape his critical thinking as an "outsider." The award was announced by festival director Alan Franey.


Dragons & Tigers Award for Young CinemaThe $10,000 Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema, which is generously supported by donors Brad Birarda and Robert Sali, went to Hirohara SATORU of Japan for Good Morning to the World!. Presented to the director of a creative and innovative film from East Asia that has not yet won significant international recognition, the award was previously announced on October 7th. The distinguished jury was comprised of Mr. BONG Joon Ho, renowned director of films The Host, Mother and a 2000 runner-up in Dragons & Tigers for Barking Dogs Never Bite; Mr. Denis Côté, an award-winning director whose film Curling was screened at VIFF this year; and Mr. JIA Zhangke, leading director of China's "Sixth Generation", whose 1998 film Xiao Wu was a Dragons & Tigers winner, and whose I Wish I Knew was screened at VIFF this year. They considered eight films in competition.

Women in Film & Television Vancouver Artistic Merit Award
Women in Film & Television Vancouver presented its Artistic Merit Award to April Telek, lead actress in Amazon Falls. WIFTV award committee member Mary Frymire presented the award, which is given annually to a B.C. woman filmmaker or performer of distinction whose work appeared at VIFF this year.

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