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Vancouver's VIFF 2009 award winners announced

The 28th annual Vancouver International Film Festival concluded its 16-day run today with the closing gala screening the French film QUEEN TO PLAY (Joueuse), directed by Caroline Bottaro, in the Visa Screening Room at the Empire Granville 7 Cinemas. Director Bottaro was present to introduce the film to the audience.

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

JURIED AWARDS

Canwest Award for Best Canadian Feature Film
The jury for the Canadian Images program awarded the inaugural Canwest Award for Best Canadian Feature Film and its $20,000 cash prize to director Xavier Dolan of Montreal for I KILLED MY MOTHER (J’ai tué ma mere). The winner was selected from 19 films in competition. The jury included Vancouver-based actor, writer and director Ben Ratner; filmmaker Lynne Stopkewich, also of Vancouver; and producer/writer Kevin Tierney of Montreal. Robyn Rudolph of Global Television presented the award on behalf of Canwest.

Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film
The Canadian Images jury has awarded a $2,000 cash award to directors Jan Binsse and David Tougas of Montreal for their film THE LAST ACT (Le dernier acte). The competition was open to first-time filmmakers. An anonymous donor contributed the cash prize. Canadian Images programmer Terry McEvoy announced the award.

Women in Film & Television Vancouver Artistic Merit Award
Women in Film & Television Vancouver presented its Artistic Merit Award to Nimisha Mukerji, co-director, producer and editor, and Gillian Lowry, co-producer, of 65 RED ROSES. WIFTV vice-president Kate Green presented the award, which is given annually to a B.C. woman filmmaker or performer of distinction whose work appeared at VIFF this year.

AUDIENCE AWARDS

Rogers People’s Choice Award
SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION (USA), directed by Bill Guttentag, has won the Rogers People’s Choice Award. All of the festival’s 377 films – dramas and nonfiction, short, mid- and feature length – were eligible, and festivalgoers chose the most popular film by rating every film they saw on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). Thor Diakow presented the award on behalf of Rogers.

documentary Audience Award
The audience chose FACING ALI (Canada/BC), directed by Pete McCormack for the second annual documentary Audience Award for most popular nonfiction film. The award is sponsored by CBC’s digital channel documentary, and Steve Pratt, head of CBC Radio 3 and Digital Media, announced the winner. Nearly half of the festival’s feature and mid-length films were nonfiction (103 nonfiction and 134 dramas).



National Film Board of Canada’s Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award
65 Red Roses (Canada/BC) directed by Nimisha Mukerjee and Philip Lyall, won the NFB’s Most Popular Canadian Documentary award and a prize of $2,500 in NFB technical services toward their next film. The prize was presented by Tracey Friesen, executive producer, Pacific and Yukon Centre, National Film Board of Canada.

VIFF Most Popular Canadian Film Award
65 RED ROSES (Canada/BC) directed by Nimisha Mukerjee and Philip Lyall, won the VIFF Most Popular Canadian Film Award. The award was announced by Canadian Images programmer Terry McEvoy.

VIFF Environmental Film Audience Award
AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD (USA), directed by Dan Stone, 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 generously supported by donors Brad Birarda and Robert Sali, went to JANG Kun-Jae of South Korea for EIGHTEEN. 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 8. The distinguished jury was comprised of Mr. Johnny Ray HUSTON, arts and entertainment editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian; Mr. IKEDA Hiroyuki, who has introduced experimental film to Asian audiences through Image Forum; and Mr. Noel VERA, who has contributed to Cinemaya, Cahiers du Cinema, the Hong Kong Film Festival, the Singapore Film Festival, programmed at Rotterdam, and written a screenplay and the book Critic After Dark: A Review of Philippine Cinema. They considered eight films in competition.


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