The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) held its Closing Gala on Friday, October 12 with an awards ceremony for the festival’s most popular films and the screening of Jason Reitman’s political drama The Front Runner. VIFF opened on 27th September, with awards in Canadian categories announced mid-festival.
The most notable award of the evening, Super Channel People’s Choice Award, was given to Finding Big Country, where director and basketball fan Kat Jayme goes looking for the Vancouver Grizzlies basketball player who she idealized as a child.
Here's is the full list of awards and winners:
VIFF Audience Awards
The VIFF Audience Awards were determined by viewers' votes. Ballots were presented to audiences after each screening; rankings were on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest ranking. The following films took home the top spots at this year's festival:
Super Channel People’s Choice Award
Winner: Finding Big Country (dir. Kat Jayme, Canada)
VIFF Most Popular International Documentary Award
Winner: Bathtubs Over Broadway (dir. Dava Whisenant, USA
VIFF Most Popular Canadian Feature Award
Winner: Edge of the Knife (dirs. Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown, Canada)
VIFF Most Popular International Feature Award
Winner: Shoplifters (dir. Kore-eda Hirokazu, Japan)
Presented by the Lochmaddy Foundation $5,000 prize awarded to one of the issue-oriented documentary films in the Impact programming stream.
Winner: The Devil We Know (dir. Stephanie Soechtig, USA)
Special Mention: The Silence of Others (dirs. Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, Spain/ USA) and Samouni Road (dir. Stefano Savona, France/Italy)
Vancouver Women in Film and Television Artistic Merit Award
This year, two female Canadian film directors were awarded—one for a drama and the other for a documentary. The WIFTV jurors for these awards were Elisa McRae (writer, actor), Aisha Amijee (Executive Director, Voices of Muslim Women), and Ali Liebert (actor, producer and director).
Vancouver Women in Film and Television Artistic Merit Award, Drama
Winner: Patricia Rozema, Mouthpiece
Vancouver Women in Film and Television Artistic Merit Award, Documentary
Winner: Christy Garland, What Walaa Wants
A special mention also went to another narrative drama: The Grizzlies by Miranda de Pencier
This year also saw the introduction a new award to honour ecological filmmaker Rob Stewart, the Rob Stewart Eco Warrior Award.
Best known for his documentary Sharkwater (2007), Stewart exposed the devastating impact of shark finning on marine ecosystems.
Stewart drowned in a diving accident off the Florida Keys while filming the sequel Sharkwater Extinction. His team finished the production which was screened at VIFF. Rob Stewart also made Revolution (2012), a call to reduce carbon emissions to prevent the worsening impacts of ocean acidification on marine life.
“VIFF is humbled to announce the first annual Rob Stewart Eco Warrior Award will be presented to an impact filmmaker beginning 2019 and include a cash grant of $5,000,” said Jacqueline Dupuis, Executive Director, VIFF (pictured at the programme launch). “Together with RBC and Cineplex, we are committed to elevating social visionaries and defenders of truth and Rob Stewart is a shining example of exactly that.”