It opened with Pedro Almodovar's Volver, closed with Stephen Frears' The Queen, and in between, the 25th Vancouver International Film Festival showcased over 300 films from more than 50 countries. On Friday, the festival announced its award winners.
The Lives of Others, a political thriller from Germany, was selected for the People's Choice Award for Most Popular International Film.
Another audience-driven honour, the Federal Express Award for Most Popular Canadian Feature Film, was presented to Mystic Ball, a documentary about director Greg Hamilton's devotion to the traditional Burmese sport of chinlone. It won over competition from high-profile films such as actor Sarah Polley's debut feature as a director, Away from Her, and the zombie comedy Fido.
Douglas Coupland's debut as a screenwriter, Everything's Gone Green, earned British Columbia director Paul Fox the Citytv Western Canada Feature Film Award “for its skillful storytelling, eloquent visual style, and genuine sense of humour,” according to the jury.
The National Film Board Award for Best Documentary Feature was given to Have You Heard from Johannesburg? "Its inspiring account of the anti-Apartheid struggle in the United States is particularly relevant and important today, when so many have fallen prey to despair over the supposed futility of organized political action.”
Gary Burns and Jim Brown of Canada were awarded a special jury prize for Radiant City, for “its innovative narrative strategies to engage, amuse, and enlighten about the changing face of the suburbs."
The Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema, announced last week, was presented to John Torres for Todo Todo Teros, from the Philippines. The jury called it "a multi-dimensional manifesto on personal experience, filmmaking and life under difficult political conditions."