The 2015 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival is a wrap! It was a wonderful, five-day event filled with film screenings, workshops, parties and an award show.
Congratulations to all participating festival filmmakers for their magnificent work, many thanks to all sponsors, community partners, media partners, volunteers and organizers for the hard work and the social media shoutouts, which made all the difference!
The following awards were announced on Closing Night, March 8, at the Vancity Theatre.
Since the inception of the Vancouver Women in Film Festival in 2006, LEGACY FILMWORKS has supported WIFTV and BC filmmakers through cash sponsorship of awards. The Legacy Awards for outstanding achievement in film are presented annually to the top three BC filmmaking teams from the festival. Every year, Deboragh Gabler, President & CEO of LEGACY FILMWORKS, presents these three cash awards.
1st place – Through the Pane, directed by Pauline Egan
2nd place – Chanterelle Rain, directed by Gail Noonan
3rd place – The Goodbye Girl, directed by Amber Ripley
Every year the festival presents the best of the festival awards for achievement in a variety of categories. This year’s jury consisted of editor Nicole Radcliffe; filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, and performer, Erin Karpluk.
WIFTV Award for Best Performance
Kalki Koechlin in Margarita, With a Straw
“The jury was blown away by the performances they watched this year. They didn’t want to leave unacknowledged the heartbreaking performance by Marie Denarnaud in Une Histoire Banale and the relentless thrill of watching Marita Gosheva fight for her family in The Lesson. However, for a completely marvellous performance from the first scene to final kiss the jury gives this award to the artistry of Kalki Koechlin in Margarita, With a Straw.” – Amanda Burke, Chair, Festival Committee and WIFTV Director of the Board
Actress Kalki Koechlin, who could not be present, sent the sweetest of emails to read to the audience:
“Gentlemen and ladies. Thank you for honouring me with this award. I wish I could be there personally to scream, squeak, jump up and down, trip over my dress and generally be a bumbling over excited winner but since I’m not, I’ll just be articulate instead.
I want to say that this performance was a result of not one but many tough women coming together. Laila wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for my director Shonali [Bose] who poured her personal life into the character and shared it so openly with me; Malini, her cousin, whose cerebral palsy has never got in the way of her ability to party through life; Anne [Misawa], the DOP who made Laila more beautiful and poetic than I’ve ever been before on screen; Revathy and Sayani, my co-stars who nurtured and loved me, figuratively and quite literally too.
Come to think of it, this film has been one big girls’ fest, so much so that even the men involved will tell you everything there is to know about monthly cycles and bra sizes. So thank you to all of them. And I promise to spend a large part of this cheque on buying margaritas and toasting to wild lovers.
Big sloppy Laila-style kiss to you all. Thank you.”
Sim Digital Award for Best Cinematography – two winners
This year the award is going to both a short and a feature film:
In a short – The Underground – Guy Godfree
“Camera angles, movement and colour lead the viewer to experience the world of this thought provoking short film. For making the jury feel like cockroaches the best cinematography in a short goes to Guy Godfree for The Underground.” – Ken Anderson (General Manager)
Guy Godfree was not present, but sent a thank you note:
“Thank you for this acknowledgement for The Underground. It is an honour. I am proud of the work we did on this film and I only consider the work I have done successful because of the incredible work of everyone involved. Which is all because of Michelle [Latimer’s] wonderful direction that brought us all together. That is to say, I share this with everyone on the film. It was my privilege to work alongside them all. Thank you.”
In a feature – Margarita, With A Straw – Anne Misawa
“The cinematography effectively and intimately captured the development of the main character inviting the audience to travel her journey with her. The best Cinematography in a feature goes to Anne Misawa of Margarita, With a Straw.” – Mike Ogawa (General Manager of Post Services of Sim Digital)
Anne Misawa was present to accept the award and earned spontaneous applause for her appeal to always ensure that the process of working together on set is as important as the resulting film.
Canadian Cinema Editors Award for Best Editing
The Underground– Kye Meechan
“Like the award for Best Cinematography, the jury felt that the pacing and shot selection took the viewer beyond POV to a visceral experience. Apparently the jury really likes cockroaches. The best editing award goes to Kye Meechan of The Underground.” – Nina Hirten (Member of the Board of Canadian Cinema Editors)
Editor Kye Meechan could not be present, but sent the following message:
“Receiving this award is truly an unexpected honour. Editing the film was an entirely collaborative process and I would to thank Michelle Latimer, the film’s director, and Tara Woodbury and Kerry Swanson, the producers, for their insightful input and unwavering support. Thank you very much to the festival for this acknowledgement and Happy International Women’s Day!”
DGC Award for Best Direction
Une Histoire Banale (Behind Closed Doors) -Audrey Estrougo
“From the visuals to performance to pacing, this director knows how to tell a story with such honesty it is difficult to watch yet impossible to ignore. The Best Director goes to Audrey Estrougo for Une Histoire Banale.” – Alan Harmon (Chairman of DGC – BC Chapter).
Pacific Backlot for Best Doc – two winners
Lady Be Good: Instrumental Women in Jazz and Highway of Tears
“It’s a tie. Our first winner’s use of archive footage gives us a glimpse at something that had fallen under the cultural radar. It is inspirational, entertaining and educational. As one juror put it, “It makes me want to do a biopic on some of these women! I’m casting the show in my head.” Hurray for the wonderful women of jazz. Congratulations to Lady Be good.
The jury also awards this prize to Highway of Tears, a film that needs to be recognized for the importance of its subject matter and relevance to all of us, particularly in BC.” – Gerry Rutherford (VP Production Services of Pacific Backlot)
Filmmaker Kay D. Ray, director of Lady Be Good, came over from Seattle to receive the award and expressed a huge shoutout to the organizers and audience of #VIWIFF2015: “All the women in film around the world should be looking at what you are doing in Vancouver!”
Carly Pope, the Canadian producer (now LA-based) of Highway of Tears, was present to receive her award and express her appreciation of our audience’s interest in the disturbing topic of BC’s murdered and missing indigenous women.
Fusion Cine Award for Best Short – two winners
Un Peu Comme Simone, Through the Pane
“The shorts category was so strong this year that the jury couldn’t decide between two films, so we have two winners – they were captivated by the frustrated charm of Simone in the Quebec film, Un Peu Comme Simone by Sarah Pellerin; and Through the Pane, by Pauline Egan was such a lovely gem one juror remarked, ‘I had to watch it over and over, it’s just so lovely’.” – Darren Robertson (Rentals and Engineering Manager at Fusion Cine)
Sarah Pellerin in a thank you note: “It is truly an honour to accept the Fusion Cine Award for best short. Thank you to the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, I am sincerely touched. Un Peu Comme Simone is my first short film and it’s a pleasure to know that other people besides my ‘non-objective’ best friend can appreciate it and maybe see something funny in that awkward character that is Simone. I really wish I could have been there with you to meet all the talented women who work hard to make films.”
IATSE 891 Award for Best Feature,
Une Histoire Banale (Behind Closed Doors)
“The jury agonized over this decision, as all the films in this category were incredibly strong. Comments about the chosen film include: ‘The film was told with such honesty, not only with the performances but with the visuals as well. We were drawn in, shaken by and unable to forget this film. A powerful yet all too common story told in a uniquely raw way’.” – Dusty Kelly (Vice President IATSE Local 891)
UBC Creative Writing Award for Best Screenplay
(from the inaugural International Screenwriting competition)
Danishka Esterhazy and her screenplay, Jagged Winter
“This year’s Festival marks the first time we have opened our doors to welcome the international screenwriting community. Our inaugural International Screenwriting Competition had a fantastic response, with writers submitting from Switzerland, New Zealand, Turkey, The United States, Great Britain, and of course, Canada.
All the scripts were submitted devoid of any identifying marks, meaning, the judges had no idea who wrote it, or where they came from. They read the submissions blind, to ensure that all competitors were read fairly and with equal opportunity.
I want to thank this year’s judging panel, Angela Crosato, Rebecca Hales, Bill Hurst, Nisha Shankar, Kelly Tatham, and Joyce Thierry-Lewellyn for their tireless work, and enthusiasm.
As a member of the Board of Women in Film and Television Vancouver, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the University of British Columbia Creative Writing Program for their support of both our competition, and the women who have shown their trust in placing their work in our hands.
The three finalists for this year’s inaugural award are experienced screenwriters with a love for great storytelling. The screenplay is the foundation of every film, and these women are experts at their craft. Congratulations to all three women for their outstanding work. They are proof that women write compelling stories.
Our finalists are:
Sheri Davenport, with, Fury Rising
Danishka Esterhazy with, Jagged Winter
Marjorie Kaptanoglu with, The Courtesan
The UBC Creative Writing Award for Best Screenplay at this year’s Vancouver International Women in Film Festival goes to Danishka Esterhazy and her screenplay, Jagged Winter.” – Competition producer, WIFTV Director of the Board, Michelle Muldoon.
In addition, the five winners of the inaugural, Canada-wide From Our Dark Side genre writing contest were present at the festival to receive their awards, presented by director Karen Lam and Super Channel exec Maureen Levitt:
Shereen Jerrett, Gloria Ui Young Kim, Carleen Kyle, Kate Lingley and Lindsey McNeill.
Host Amanda Burke expressed a final thank you before the crowd went on to the party – courtesy of Legacy Filmworks:
“Final thanks to our small festival staff: Carla Jones, our festival coordinator; Katja De Bock, our communications coordinator; Karen Cowl our graphic designer; and Helen Yagi, our publicist.
There are many volunteers without whom we could not put on this festival: Chloe Rose, our film submissions coordinator; Francesca Benedetti our assistant festival coordinator, Dawn McCormick our volunteer coordinator and the 45 festival volunteers whom we have seen around the theatre over the past five days.”
For the closing night festival album, visit us on Facebook.
Wrap-up report by Katja De Bock
Photos by Livio Maynard