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Recap and facts on Vancouver VIFF fest

The 29th annual Vancouver International Film Festival concluded its 16-day run on Friday, October 15. The winners of four juried awards, including new awards for Best Canadian Actress and Best Canadian Actor, and five audience awards were announced prior to the screening; two other juried awards were announced previously. This release has been amended to include the two new awards announced by the Canadian Images jury.

Statistics for the 2010 VIFF :

Attendance: 148,000
Films: 373*
* 231 Feature-length (32 Canadian), 28 mid-length (20-59 mins) (7 Canadian), 114 shorts (44 Canadian)
Screenings: 598 Public + 33 Media
Countries: 80+
Industry Guests: 600
World Premieres: 15
International Premieres: 25
North American Premieres: 49
Canadian Premieres: 56
JURIED AWARDS
Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema
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 7th. The distinguished jury was comprised of Bong Joon Ho, renowned director of films The Host, Mother and a 2000 runner-up in Dragons & Tigers for Barking Dogs Never Bite; Denis Côté, an award-winning director whose film Curling was screened at VIFF this year; and Jia Zhangke, leading director of China's "Sixth Generation", whose 1998 film Xiao Wu was a Dragons & Tigers winner, and whose I Wish I Knew was screened at VIFF this year. They considered eight films in competition.

The $10,000 Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema, which is generously supported by donors Brad Birarda and Robert Sali, went to Hirohara Satoru of Japan for GOOD MORNING TO THE WORLD! (Sekai Good Morning!), "for his fresh and frontal way of addressing his society's problems, the jury is pleased to salute the maturity of this very young director." Special Mentions were made of two other competing films: DON'T BE AFRAID, BI! (Bi, Dung So!) by Phan Dang Di from Vietnam, and RUMINATION (Fanchu) by Xu Ruotao from China.

Canadian Images Awards

The Canadian Images jury announced four awards, including two inaugural awards, for Best Canadian Actor and Best Canadian Actress, and one Honourable Mention. The jury included Andrea Henning, executive director of Arts and Culture for the Province of British Columbia; actor Deborah Kara Unger, the star of David Fincher's The Game, Norman Jewison's Hurricane, David Cronenberg's Crash, and many other films; and Sandy Wilson, award-winning writer, director, producer (My American Cousin, American Boyfriends and Harmony Cats).

ET Canada Award for Best Canadian Feature Film

The ET Canada Award for Best Canadian Feature Film and its $20,000 cash prize goes to Quebec director Denis Villeneuve for INCENDIES.The winner was selected from eleven films in competition. Wilson said, "The jury has chosen to award the prize for the best Canadian feature to a rich, riveting and fearless drama which takes us on an unpredictable journey through the human heart. It is told with confidence, stunning performances and gorgeous cinematography."

Honourable Mention for Canadian Feature Film

An Honourable Mention was announced for Quebec director Denis Côté's "daring and unique feature film," CURLING. In making the announcement, Deborah Kara Unger said, "We would like to honour a film that distinguished itself not only in its confidence of vision but its philosophical bravery which has indeed provoked extreme response with its brittle Brechtian architecture and its subtle, unapologetic power (akin to the art of Rothko) in its realization of life beneath the surface of winter."

Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film

The Canadian Images jury has awarded a $2,000 cash award to director Halima Ouardiri of Quebec for her short film MOKHTAR. The competition was open to first-time filmmakers.

On behalf of the Canadian Images jury, Ms. Unger also announced two additional VIFF awards:

Best Canadian Actress

The Best Canadian Actress award went to Lubna Azabal for "her raw, dignified and fearless portrayal of a woman whose moral compass and courage remained steadfast amidst the brutality of the extreme of the human condition" in INCENDIES.

Best Canadian Actor

Alexander Gammal received the Best Canadian Actor award for "his transparent vulnerability and heartbreaking authenticity in a performance of emotional maturity that belies that of a first-time actor." Gammal starred in MODRA, directed by Ontario's Ingrid Veninger.

AUDIENCE AWARDS

All of the festival's films - dramas and nonfiction, short, mid- and feature length - were eligible, and festival-goers chose the most popular film by rating every film they saw on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent).

Rogers People's Choice Award

WASTE LAND (UK/Brazil), directed by Lucy Walker, has won the Rogers People's Choice Award. This UK/Brazilian coproduction follows renowned artist Vik Muniz into his three-year artistic collaboration with resident recyclers of the world's largest landfill outside of Rio.

VIFF Most Popular Nonfiction Film Award

The audience chose KINSHASA SYMPHONY (Germany),directed by Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer for the VIFF most popular Nonfiction Film Award. This German film set in the Democratic Republic of Congo shows how people living in one of the most chaotic cities in the world find joy by playing classical music.

VIFF Most Popular Canadian Film Award

TWO INDIANS TALKING (Canada/BC) directed by Sara McIntyre, won the VIFF Most Popular Canadian Film Award. Two Indians Talking is director Sara McIntyre's original take on the relationship of two First Nations cousins. Watch for exploding stereotypes and some great performances by Nathaniel Arcand and Justin Rain.

NFB Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award

LEAVE THEM LAUGHING (Canada/BC) directed by John Zaritsky, won the NFB's Most Popular Canadian Documentary award and a prize of $2,500 in NFB technical services toward their next film.Leave Them Laughing is director John Zaritsky's gripping documentary about Carla Zilbersmith's struggle with the incurable disease, ALS. Zaritsky captures Carla's candour and her remarkable sense of humour in a profoundly unfunny situation.

VIFF Environmental Film Audience Award

FORCE OF NATURE: THE DAVID SUZUKI MOVIE (Canada), directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, has won the VIFF Environmental Film Audience Award. Ecologist and scientist David Suzuki serves as veteran filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson's subject in this thorough, deep-reaching account of the Canadian icon's life. Gunnarsson shows how Suzuki's relationship with his father and the family's internment during WWII gave Suzuki a sense that history matters and helped shape his critical thinking as an "outsider."


ABOUT VIFF
The Vancouver International Film Festival [VIFF] is among the largest film festivals in North America and is one of the largest cultural events in Canada. The festival aims to be a microcosm of its home city: cosmopolitan, innovative, friendly, culturally complex and very accessible. The 2010 festival took place September 30 to October 15 and nearly 150,000 people attended more than 600 screenings of 373 films from over 80 countries. Founded in 1982, the festival's mandate is to encourage the understanding of other nations through the art of cinema, to foster the art of cinema, to facilitate the meeting in British Columbia of cinema professionals from around the world, and to stimulate the motion picture industry in British Columbia and Canada.

The Vancouver International Film Festival acknowledges the generous support of Telefilm Canada. Major corporate partners are Rogers Communications and Visa Canada.

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