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The planet wins at Vancouver

VIFF 2007 award winners announced
The 26th annual Vancouver International Film Festival concluded its highly successful 16-day run today with the closing gala screening of Pierre Salvadori’s film PRICELESS (HORS DE PRIX) in the Visa Screening Room at the Empire Granville 7 Cinemas.

Prior to the screening, festival director Alan Franey announced the winners of five juried awards and three audience awards; a sixth juried award was announced previously. Mr. Franey also announced that ticket sales were robust and the festival expected to meet or exceed its targeted admissions of 151,000. More award details and the attendance tally will be released next week.


Kyoto Planet Climate for Change Award
The Kyoto Planet Climate for Change award and a cheque for $25,000 go to directors Michael Stenberg, Johan Soderberg and Linus Torell of Sweden for THE PLANET. The jury included Dominic Patten, Arts & Life editor of The Vancouver Sun, accomplished environmental filmmaker/producer Gerard Ungerman, and a third “jurist” consisting of the audience, whose votes for their favourite films helped select the winner. "For the very first Kyoto Planet “Climate for Change” Award we recognized the Swedish film THE PLANET—in a category of many good movies—as the film that not only galvanized us artistically and intellectually to the many dangers that face our world, but also brought to the fore the harsh reality of what is happening to our environment. It is a reality that no one can ignore and that we can all become motivated today to start making a difference. THE PLANET is about changing the world... and our world needs it,” said juror Dominic Patten. "It was a tough call to select the best environmental film for the very first Kyoto Planet “Climate for Change” Award at the 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival,” said juror Gerard Ungerman. “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.” The inaugural Climate for Change program showcased 11 films; both documentaries and dramatic features were in competition. The winning film best exemplified the criteria of “fresh information, vision and cinematic artistry” about the environment. John Icke, president and chief operating officer of Kyoto Planet Group, presented the award.

Citytv Western Canada Feature Film Award
The jury for the Canadian Images program awarded the Citytv Western Canada Feature Film Award and $12,000 cash prize to director Carl Bessai of Vancouver for NORMAL. Honourable Mention went to YOUNG PEOPLE FUCKING. The jury included actor Tantoo Cardinal, filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming and film critic and educator Joanne Yamaguchi. Debbie Millette, programming manager of Citytv, presented the award. All five films in competition, which also included AMERICAN VENUS, THE STONE ANGEL and TAMING TAMMY, were financially supported by Telefilm Canada, a federal cultural agency dedicated to the development and promotion of Canadian film, television and new media.

Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film
The Canadian Images jury has awarded the inaugural $2,000 cash award and $5,000 Avid Media Composer software package to director Anna McRoberts of BC for the film THE WINDFISHERMAN. There were 14 films in competition, which was open to first-time filmmakers. A donor, who prefers to be anonymous, contributed the cash prize and Avid Technology, Inc. donated the software. The award was presented by Canadian Images programmer Terry McEvoy.

NFB Best Canadian Documentary Award
This award, sponsored by the National Film Board of Canada, goes to director Yung Chang of Québec 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 goes to John Zaritsky from British Columbia for THE SUICIDE TOURIST. “This is an unflinching, quietly compassionate hymn to life, full of moral complexity, told via a gripping true tale of two determined couples voluntarily choosing to shorten their time on earth through euthanasia,” the jury added. The internationally accredited jury, which includes film scholar and Screen International critic Peter Brunette, international film specialist, interpreter and Kinograph film translator Robert Grey, and acclaimed Boston Phoenix film critic Gerald Peary chose the winner from 10 films in competition. The winner receives $2,500 in development money towards his next documentary with the NFB. The award was presented by Tracey Friesen, the executive producer, Pacific and Yukon Centre, of the NFB.

Women in Film & Television Vancouver Artistic Merit Award
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. WIFTV president Danika Dinsmore presented the award, which is given annually to a B.C. woman filmmaker or performer of distinction.

Rogers People’s Choice Award for the Most Popular International Film
PERSEPOLIS, directed by Marjane Satrapi of Iran and Vincent Paronnaud of France, has won the Rogers People’s Choice Award for Most Popular International Film. The award was announced by the evening’s emcee, CBC Television news anchor Gloria Macarenko.

Vancity People’s Choice Award for the Most Popular Canadian Film
VIFF audiences love Canadian films, and 2007 was no exception. 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. The winner was announced by Vancity chief executive officer, Tamara Vrooman.

People’s Choice Award for the Most Popular International Nonfiction Film
This inaugural award went to GARBAGE WARRIOR directed by Oliver Hodge of the UK. The award was announced by emcee Gloria Macarenko.


Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema
The $10,000 Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema, which is sponsored by Brad Birarda, was announced on October 4. There was a two-way tie for the award, which is given to the director of a creative and innovative film from East Asia that has not yet won significant international recognition. The winners, both independent filmmakers from China, were Robin Weng (Weng Shouming) for FUJIAN BLUE and Zhang Yuedong for MID-AFTERNOON BARKS. They equally shared the prize money. This year's jury comprised the film director Jang Sun-Woo from South Korea, the film critic Kong Rithdee from Thailand and the film producer, critic and academic Colin MacCabe from Britain. They considered eight films in competition.

The Vancouver International Film Festival is generously supported by Telefilm Canada. The festival’s major corporate partners are Kyoto Planet, Rogers, Vancity and Visa, and the primary media partner is The Vancouver Sun.


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