The Vancouver International Film Festival closed on Friday with a closing party at the capacious and airy venue of the station for the Rocky Mountaineer tourist train in Vancouver.
On Thursday evening, artistic director Alan Franey announced the winners of this year's VIFF awards.
The People's Choice Award for Most Popular International Film went to Das Leben Den Anderen / The Lives Of Others (Germany). The debut feature of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, it is a political thriller with a soft centre about a story of surveillance, deception and betrayal in 1984 East Berlin.
The Federal Express Award for Most Popular Canadian Feature Film went to first-time director Greg Hamilton's Mystic Ball (Ontario), a documentary which carries a flame for the Burmese sport of chinlone.
The National Film Board Award for Best Documentary Feature and a $2,500 cash prize went to Have You Heard From Johannesburg? by Connie Field (USA).
The jury stated: "We award the NFB Documentary prize to a film that exemplifies and reinvigorates the NFB's long history of championing progressive social change through film. Its inspiring account of the anti-Apartheid struggle in the United States is particularly relevant and important today, when so many have fallen prey to despair over the supposed futility of organized political action."
A Special Jury Prize went to to Gary Burns and Jim Brown for Radiant City (Canada) "for its innovative narrative strategies to engage, amuse, and enlighten about the changing face of the suburbs".
The jurors were Mark Achbar (filmmaker, The Corporation), Thom Andersen (California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles Plays Itself), and Mike Maggiore (New York Film Forum).
Dragons & Tigers Awards
Announced earlier, John Torres won the Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema with Todo Todo Teros (The Philippines). The jury stated it is
"... a multi-dimensional manifesto on personal experience, filmmaking and life under difficult political conditions. This film shows that low-grade video can be art, while adopting an evocative, surprising approach to the issue of terrorism. And it's a dynamic and inventive assembly of footage as well as an energetic melding of the personal and the political."
Selected for Special Mentions were Faceless Things (South Korea) by Kim Kyong-Mook and Geo-Lobotomy (South Korea) by Kim Gok and Kim Sun.
Western Canada Awards
The Citytv Western Canada Feature Film Award went to director Paul Fox for his feature Everything's Gone Green (British Columbia).
Fox's film earned praise from jurors Mark Adams (ICA Films, London, UK),
Carl Spence (Palm Springs and Seattle Film Festivals), and Anne Wheeler (filmmaker, Bye Bye Blues), "for its skillful storytelling, eloquent visual style, and genuine sense of humour". The award, sponsored by Citytv, is accompanied by a cash prize of $12,000.
The jury continued, "Coming to a conclusion was a difficult process - so we would like to give special mention to a film that had a bold and provocative directorial style - Unnatural and Accidental (British Columbia) by Carl Bessai."
Carmen Moore received the Women in Film & Video Vancouver's Artistic Merit Award for Carl Bessai's Unnatural and Accidental. The award is given annually to a B.C. woman filmmaker or performer of distinction.
More coverage from the Vancouver International Film Festival.