The 33rd annual Vancouver International Film Festival wrapped up Friday, October 10, 2014 after a 16-day run. The festival showcased the top B.C., Canadian and international films and hosted industry professionals from around the world. The festival came to an end with the Closing Gala screening of Damien Chazelle’s praised Whiplash, starring Miles Teller as an ambitious young drummer enrolled in a prestigious music academy, mentored by his instructor, played by J.K. Simmons.
Prior to the screening the festival was buzzing with the announcement of the winners of the four audience awards and the Women in Film + Television Artistic Merit Award recipient. Throughout the festival, audiences had the opportunity to vote for the Rogers People’s Choice Award by casting post-screening ballots at any of the abundance of feature films. This year’s winner was director Ishii Yuya’s The Vancouver Asahi. The feature film, which premiered at VIFF, is based on a Japanese-Canadian baseball team in Vancouver in the 1930s and the struggles they faced.
Additional awards determined from the same ballots chose James Keach’s Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, about the singer and legendary guitarist, as the recipient of the Most Popular International Documentary Award. The Most Popular Canadian Feature Film Award went to director Jacob Tierney’s Preggoland, about 35-year-old Ruth who, after mistakenly believed to be pregnant, is embraced once more by her group of friends, who defriended her after she ruined a baby shower. Ruth continues the ruse as the perks of pregnancy become too alluring.
Rounding out the People’s Choice award categories was the Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award presented to Suzanne Crocker for All the Time in the World about a family who leave the comfort of their home to live off the grid for nine months in Yukon wilderness.
Runners-up included Tony Giradin’s Marinoni and Grant Baldwin’s Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story.
This year’s Women in Film + Television Artistic Merit Award was presented to Ana Valine for her dark family drama Sitting on the Edge of Marlene. The film follows 14-year-old Sammie (Paloma Kwiatkowski) joining her mother in the family con business in order to help make ends meet, while her father is in prison. The jury of industry professionals who decided upon Valine stated that her visual masterpiece of a “film demands the audience to question their own definitions of tragedy and survival, hope and despair, while evoking a range of emotions, as all art should.” Valine also won the B.C. Emerging Filmmaker Award previously in the festival.
Awards were also announced during the duration of the festival. Two previously announced awards went to director Andrew Huculiak for his debut film Violent. The film won for Best Canadian Film Award and Best B.C. Film Award.
An honourable mention in the Best B.C. Film category went to Julia Kwan for Everything Will Be.
Director Grant Baldwin’s Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, which was a runner-up in the Audience Award categories, won the Impact Award.
The award for Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film was awarded to Geneviève Dulude-Decelles for The Cut. The Best New Director Award for an international film was a tie between France’s Axelle Ropert’s Miss and the Doctors and the Philippines’ Mikhail Red’s Rekorder. The category has an honourable mention to Mexico’s Marcelo Tobar for Asteroid. ~Janine Wyslobicky