The Vancouver International Film Festival went out with a number of bangs on Friday, closing with a coming of age story about an aspiring jazz drummer. Whiplash was a great dramatic note on which to close a successful, well attended, festival.
The closing gala also featured a powerful short film, Heaven, or Whatever, by Canadian writer Shane Koyczan which was set to a poem written by him for his late grandfather. The film left a fair portion of the audience tearing up. Koyczan was in attendance and gave an emotional introduction to the piece.
There were an abundance of great films, Canadian and international, to be seen at VIFF 2014, but it was also a great opportunity to get out and talk to people who are passionate about movies. It was hard to wait in line at a screening without talking to somebody about what else they had seen and planning out what you wanted to see next. Going to just one movie would have been a challenge.
The audience awards, voted on by attendees throughout the festival, were announced Friday evening. The Rogers People’s Choice Award went to the most attended film, The Vancouver Asahi, a Japanese film by director Ishii Yuya about a Japanese-Canadian baseball team’s struggles in 1930’s Vancouver.
Other awards determined through the same ballots were the most popular international documentary award, which went to Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me (USA) about the legendary guitarist; the most popular Canadian feature film award, which went to one of our BC Spotlight films Preggoland; and the most popular Canadian documentary award, which went to All the Time in the World about a family living off the grid for nine months.
The Women in Film and Television Artistic Merit Award, decided by a jury of industry professionals, went to director Ana Valine’s dark family drama Sitting on the Edge of Marlene. The jury stated that “the 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”, and is looking forward to her future work. Valine also won the BC Emerging Filmmaker Award earlier in the festival.
Two other previously announced awards, Best Canadian Film and Best BC Film, both went to Violent which was directed by Andrew Huculiak. Huciliak is also the drummer for the Vancouver based band We Are the City and based Violent on their music.
Honourable mention in the BC Film category went to Julia Kwan’s Everything Will Be.
The Best New Director Award, international, was a split between France’s Axelle Ropert (Miss and the Doctors) and the Philippines’ Mikhail Red (Rekorder) with honourable mention going to Mexico’s Marcelo Tobar (Asteroid). The Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film was Geneviève Dulude-Decelles for The Cut.
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, directed by Grant Baldwin, took home the VIFF Impact Award.
Vancity Buzz was a proud media partner of the Vancouver International Film Festival