A family drama looking at the deep political divisions in modern Israeli society through the eyes of Schlomo, a nine-year-old Ethiopian boy was voted most popular film at this year's Vancouver International Film Festival. In Rahu Mihaileanu's Live and Become (Va, vis et deviens) young Schlomo is part of a program that returned Ethiopian Jews to Israel. The film follows the boy, whose secret is that he is not Jewish and not an orphan, as he grows up with a new family in a new land.
Audiences voted Julia Kwan's Eve and the Firehorse the award for The Most Popular Canadian Feature Film. The drama also stars a precocious nine-year-old, Chinese-Canadian girl, who is born under the troublesome sign of the Firehorse. The runner-up for Most Popular Canadian Film is Jean-Marc Vallee's C.R.A.Z.Y. (Quebec).
The National Film Board Award for Best Documentary Feature went to A Particular Silence by Stefano Rulli (Italy). Jurors Kristine Anderson, Matt Henderson and Josh Siegel said: "It is a truism to say that music, poetry and film have the power to heal, but rarely is this demonstrated with the kind of conviction and love that Italian filmmaker Stefano Rulli expresses in A Particular Silence. Intelligent and restrained, sensitive and often humorous, A Particular Silence brings us one humble step closer to the solitary world of autism."
The Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema, which includes a $5,000 prize, went to China's Liu Jiayin for her film Ox Hide. The Citytv Western Canada Feature Film Award went to Sean Garrity for his feature Lucid. Garrity's film earned praise from jurors Nathaniel Geary, Liam Lacey and Timothy Taylor, as "a work of polish and complexity, exploring the relationship between dream states and reality." The award, sponsored by Citytv, is accompanied by a cash prize of $12,000.
The BRAVO!Fact Award for Best Young Western Canadian Director of a Short Film went to Jamie Travis for Patterns, which was praised for "its satiric use of film language to create an apparently logical universe that is simultaneously absurd." The award, sponsored by BRAVO!Fact, is accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize.
Carly Pope received the Women in Film & Video Vancouver's Artistic Merit Award for her performance in The Hamster Cage. The award is given annually to a woman filmmaker or performer of distinction from British Columbia, Canada.
More from the Vancouver International Film Festival.