The 26th annual Vancouver International Film Festival concluded its 16-day run tonight with the closing gala and announcement of film festival award winners.
Animated feature Persepolis, directed by Marjane Satrapi of Iran and Vincent Paronnaud of France, won the Rogers People's Choice Award for Most Popular International Film. Persepolis is a coming-of-age story about a precocious Iranian girl growing up in the Islamic Revolution.
The winner of the Vancity People's Choice Award for Most Popular Canadian Film went to She's A Boy I Knew, directed by Gwen Haworth of Vancouver, which tells the story of the filmmaker's male-to-female gender transition through the voices of her family, best friend, and wife.
The People's Choice Award for the Most Popular International Nonfiction Film was won by Garbage Warrior directed by Oliver Hodge of the UK. The documentary profiles Mike Reynolds and his ecological buildings, aka "earthships."
Kyoto Planet Climate for Change Award
The environment has long been a hot topic at this film fest in Canada's West, and that sense was all the more acute this year, particularly with the introduction of a new award carrying a winner's cheque for $25,000.
The first Kyoto Planet Climate for Change award went to The Planet directors Michael Stenberg, Johan Soderberg and Linus Torell of Sweden.
The Planet combines striking footage from around, and above, the earth with music-video style editing techniques, to leave a stark impression of manmade degradation of the environment. The documentary draws fairly extensively on Ecological Footprint analysis, a theory that originated in Vancouver, that surmises that man is expending natural resources as if we have 5 planet Earths.
"Artistic mastery, information content, power to mobilize... The Planet got it all and well deserves now to be seen by a very large audience around the world," said Juror Gerard Ungerman.
Canadian Film Awards
The NFB Best Canadian Documentary Award went to director Yung Chang of Quebec for Up The Yangtze. The jury commented, "This brilliantly shot and edited documentary, at times humourous and at other times heartbreaking, dramatizes the complexities of cross-cultural communication and, through its focus on the massive Three Gorges Dam project, subtly shows the terrible human cost of China's rapid modernization."
A Special Mention went to John Zaritsky from British Columbia for The Suicide Tourist, "an unflinching, quietly compassionate hymn to life, full of moral complexity." The winner receives $2,500 in development money towards his next documentary with the NFB.
Citytv Western Canada Feature Film Award, and a $12,000 cash prize, went to director Carl Bessai of Vancouver for Normal. Honourable Mention went to Young People Fucking.
Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film, winning an inaugural $2,000 cash award and $5,000 Avid Media Composer software package, was won by British Columbian director Anna McRoberts for the film The Wind Fisherman. There were 14 films in competition, which was open to first-time filmmakers.
Gwen Haworth has won the Artistic Merit Award from Women in Film & Television Vancouver for writing / producing / directing / shooting / editing She's A Boy I Knew.
The awards were announced prior to the screening of the closing film Pierre Salvadori's film Priceless (Hors de Prix). Film festival director Alan Franey, announcing the juried awards, said that ticket sales were robust and the festival expected to meet or exceed its targeted admissions of 151,000.
Dragons and Tigers Award
The previously announced $10,000 Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema, was shared by two independent filmmakers from China, Robin Weng (Weng Shouming) for Fujian Blue and Zhang Yuedong for Mid-Afternoon Barks.
More coverage of the Vancouver Film Festival