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Vancouver International Film Festival hands out 11 awards

The 27th annual Vancouver International Film Festival concluded its 16-day run today with the closing gala screening of Laurent Cantet's film THE CLASS (Entre les murs) in the Visa Screening Room at the Empire Granville 7 Cinemas. The Closing Gala was presented by Desjardins Financial Security.

The winners of five juried awards and five audience awards were announced prior to the screening; a sixth juried award was announced previously. More award details and the attendance tally will be released next week.


Citytv Western Canada Feature Film Award
The jury for the Canadian Images program awarded the Citytv Western Canada Feature Film Award and its $12,000 cash prize to director Kari Skogland of B.C. for FIFTY DEAD MEN WALKING.
The jury included actor and singer-songwriter Andrea Menard, writer/composer/performer Will Ryan and film producer Elizabeth Yake.
Jury member Will Ryan and Citytv's entertainment reporter for Breakfast Television, Thor Diakow, presented the award.

VIFF Nonfiction Feature Award
The award went to the Mexican documentary BORN WITHOUT directed by the late Eva Norvind. Special Mention was given Canada's FIERCE LIGHT: WHEN SPIRIT MEETS ACTION directed by Velcrow Ripper. The jury included Dimitri Eipides, film critic, veteran film programmer and founder/director of the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival; Stan Fox, a director, producer and educator and director of our predecessor Vancouver Film Festival during the 1960s; and Melanie Friesen, producer and presenter of the monthly Cinema Salon at the Vancouver International Film Centre and former VIFF Forum producer. The jury said, "BORN WITHOUT won the Nonfiction Feature Award for challenging our perceptions on being disabled through the life of one extraordinary man propelled by the love of family to live life to the fullest." The jury chose FIERCE LIGHT for special mention "for its power to involve and inspire us with a personal journey that combines spiritual beliefs with relevant social action". Fourteen features were in competition. Dimitri Eipides presented the award.

Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film The Canadian Images jury has awarded a $2,000 cash award and a $2,500 Avid Media Composer software package to director Drew McCreadie of Vancouver for the film THE VALET. The competition was open to first time filmmakers. An anonymous donor contributed the cash prize and Avid Technology, Inc. donated the software. Canadian Images programmer Terry McEvoy announced the award.

Women in Film & Television Vancouver Artistic Merit Award Tantoo Cardinal has won the Artistic Merit Award from Women in Film & Television Vancouver for MOTHERS&DAUGHTERS. WIFTV board member, Tracey Schaeffer, presented the award, which is given annually to a B.C. woman filmmaker or performer of distinction whose work appeared at VIFF this year.

International Film Guide Inspiration Award The inaugural International Film Guide Inspiration Award for "unique visual style, daring content and expansive execution by an emerging filmmaker" was awarded to Cameron Labine of B.C. for the film CONTROL ALT DELETE. The award includes the 2008 and 2009 editions of the International Film Guide, a collection of books from various Wallflower Press series and a library of 10 classic DVDs drawn from the Criterion Collection of world cinema masterpieces, with a combined cash value of $2,500. VIFF Canadian Images programmer Terry McEvoy presented the award.


Rogers People's Choice Award for the Most Popular Film The French film I'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG (Il y a longtemps que je t'aime), directed by Philippe Claudel, has won the Rogers People's Choice Award for Most Popular Film. It is an engrossing family drama starring Kristin Scott Thomas. The award was announced by Thor Diakow, entertainment reporter for Citytv, a division of Rogers.

documentary Audience Award
The audience chose the American film THROW DOWN YOUR HEART for the inaugural documentary Audience Award. Directed by Sascha Paladino, it is about banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck's musical journey to Africa. The award is sponsored by CBC's digital channel documentary, and Jaeny Baik, host of CBC Television's "Living Vancouver" show, announced the winner. VIFF showed 102 documentaries throughout the festival.

VIFF Most Popular Canadian Film Award
Carl Bessai's MOTHERS&DAUGHTERS has won the VIFF Most Popular Canadian Film Award. The award was announced by Canadian Images programmer Terry McEvoy.

National Film Board's Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award FIERCE LIGHT: WHEN SPIRIT MEETS ACTION, by Velcrow Ripper won the prize of $2,500 in NFB technical services towards his next film. The prize was presented by Selwyn Jacob, producer, Pacific and Yukon Centre, National Film Board of Canada.

VIFF Environmental Film Audience Award
BLUE GOLD: WORLD WATER WARS, a documentary directed by Sam Bozzo that had its world-premiere at the VIFF, has won the VIFF Environmental Film Audience Award. The award was announced by festival director Alan Franey.

Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema (previously announced) The $10,000 Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema, which is sponsored by Brad Birarda, went to Emily Tang for PERFECT LIFE (Hong Kong/China). 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 2. The jury for the 2008 D&T award comprised: Ichiyama Shozo, artistic director of the Tokyo FilmEx festival and programmer for Cinema Digital Seoul, who is also a producer for Office Kitano; Ms Elisabeth Lequeret, critic for Cahiers du Cinema and Radio France Internationale and a programmer for the San Francisco International Film Festival; and Thai director Mr Pen-ek Ratanaruang, whose most recent feature is Ploy. They considered eight films in competition.

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