#VIWIFF2015 Award Winners

Pauline Egan with the Legacy Awards trophy

Pauline Egan with the Legacy Awards trophy

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. Continue reading

Inaugural From Our Dark Side genre writing competition announces top five winners

DarkSide-websiteVampires, werewolves, zombies, space travel, ghosts and suspense– Oh my! Women know their genre. Women In Film + Television Vancouver’s (WIFTV) inaugural #FromOurDarkSide genre writing competition has received over 250 imaginative film concept submissions written by Canadian women. The national English-language competition seeks to discover the best in Canadian women-driven Genre Film ideas.

“We were blown away by the sheer number of applications from across the country for this competition’s debut. It is exceptional and kudos to all that applied,” says Melissa Kajpust, Head of Development, Super Channel. Continue reading

Out of the comfort zone: Atsuko Hirayanagi about her award-winning short Oh Lucy! #VIWIFF2015

Kaori Momoi as Setsuko in Oh Lucy!

Kaori Momoi as Setsuko in Oh Lucy!

I believe everybody fantasizes about becoming somebody else and exploring a new world. Oh Lucy! depicts Setsuko’s secret and personal dream.

Setsuko is a reserved 55-year-old office employee in Tokyo, who doesn’t make friends easily. Her life is a repetitive routine without romance. One day, she attends an English conversation class with an unconventional young English teacher who gives her a new identity, Lucy. She meets Tom, a middle-aged Japanese businessman, who attends to the same class.

Oh Lucy! is a film about Setsuko’s self-discovery, which reflects modern chaotic Tokyo culture.  Continue reading

#VIWIFF2015 Screenplay Competition Announces Finalists

The jury for the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival Screenplay Competition had a tough task ahead of them when narrowing down the Official Selections list in order to determine who this year’s nominated Finalists would be. The commitment to the craft of screenwriting is on full display in this year’s top ten list, but only three could move on.  Continue reading

Closing Night Ceremony & Awards

After four amazing days, the Closing Night Ceremony ended the festival on a high note with the presentation of the Legacy and Festival Awards and a closing reception to toast the success of all of VIWIFF’s filmmakers.

Legacy Awards

Legacy Award – 1st Place
Mimi and Me, Canada / BC
Directed by Marly Reed


Director of Mimi & Me, Marly Reed

Continue reading

VWIFF 2012 Spotlight Awards Gala

Spotlight and Legacy Awards Gala

Last night’s Spotlight Awards Gala was a huge success and a terrific party. Here are a few photos of the awards. More and better ones to come.

Parksdale directed Lisa Jackson wins first place Legacy Award

The evening was hosted by director/filmmaker Mina Shum, who was charming and inspirational, and who left us with the closing words:  Know what your gift is, and keep on giving it.

Jill Sharpe’s acceptance speech was a moving tribute to the supportive film community in Vancouver, and the importance of family, friends, colleagues and mentors in making ones dreams a reality. Director of the film BONE, WIND, FIRE, she recounted how discovering the talent and determination against the odds of artists like Emily Carr, and the unconditional support of her family, were instrumental in helping her believe.

Jill Sharpe receives Finale Artistic Achievement Award

Jill Sharpe accepts Finale Artistic Achievement Award for Bone, Wind, Fire

VWIFF 2012 Carol Whiteman presented with award

Carol Whiteman is presented with the Woman of the Year Award

Carol Whiteman, who received the Woman of the Year Award, inspired all with her energy and vision and personal strength. The award was well deserved, given her amazing abilities to balance personal challenges with her own creative projects and yet give more to nurturing and mentoring young filmmakers through her work with Women in The Director’s Chair.

Penelope Buitenhuis presented with award at VWIFF 2012

Penelope Buitenhuis presented with CBC Artistic Achievement award

Penelope Buitenhuis entertained with spark and humour as she accepted her Artistic Achievement Award for her body of work and her indie film A WAKE.

Doreen Manuel received Leadership in Education award at VWIFF

Doreen Manuel received Leadership in Education award at VWIFF

Doreen Manuel received the Leadership in Education Award with inspiring words about the guidance of her elders, and how they advised her and her siblings to choose their own path, and then follow it with determination, giving their best. She hopes to one day be considered an elder herself, and it looks like she’s well on her way.

And after the awards, since there could be no screenings (which had to be moved to Saturday 9 am), there was wine! And music! And plenty of mingling and fun was had by all.

Preview of Best of the Festival Award Winners


presented by Roslyn Muir, Festival Artistic Director

To close our festival, WIFTV celebrates the best of the festival by presenting awards to Canadian and international filmmakers for outstanding contributions to to their field. These Best of Fest awards include the: Annex Pro, NFB Animation Award, Chit Chat Productions Inc. Diversity Award, NFB Feature Documentary Award, NFB Short Documentary Award, Sharlene Chartrand Screenwriting Award, Feature Drama Award, Short Drama Award, Directing in a Short Drama Award, Mystique Films Directing in a Feature Drama Award, Barbara Alexandre Performance in a Feature Award, Performance in a Short Award, Moving Images Distribution Award, International Film Award.

Photo of Ana ValineAs well, Ana Valine will receive the Women in the Director’s Chair $100,000 Feature Film Award, presented by Carol Whiteman, President of Creative Women Workshops Association.

Awards will be presented at the Festival Closing Night, Sunday, March 11th, 2011.


ORIANA | Animation | British Columbia | 4:00 minutes Directed by Kara Miranda Lawrence A whimsical 3D animated fairytale adapted from the iconic Portuguese novel “A Fada Oriana” by the late Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. A young fairy named Oriana is entrusted to take care of an Azorean forest and all its inhabitants. However, she becomes mesmerized by her reflection and the forest is destroyed due to her neglect. Will Oriana be able to redeem herself and save the forest in time? Rated: General


CEDAR AND BAMBOO | Documentary | British Columbia | 22:00 minutes Directed by Diana Leung and Kamala Todd Recounting the life experiences of four descendants of mixed heritage, CEDAR AND BAMBOO explores the unique relationships shared by early Chinese immigrants and Indigenous people on Canada’s West Coast. Set in British Columbia, their stories reveal the difficult circumstances of Indigenous people and early Chinese immigrants. Rated: General


SHORT CRY ROCK | British Columbia | 28:43 minutes Directed by Banchi Hanuse The wild beauty of the Bella Coola Valley blends with vivid watercolor animation illuminating the role of the Nuxalk oral tradition and the intersection of story, place and culture. Rated: General


LEAVE THEM LAUGHING Documentary | British Columbia | 88:00 minutes Produced by Montana Berg Directed by John Zaritsky Parental Guidance: Coarse Language Ninety minutes of songs about life and quips about death from the wheelchair of Carla Zilbersmith who vows to exit laughing. Once a nationally-known singer/comedienne, now fated by ALS, remarkable Carla leaves a teen-aged son, fans who adore her, and this 90-minute pre-mortem retrospective of a life lived fully but too fast.


NEAR SILENCE | Narrative | British Columbia | 8:30 minutes Directed by Ana de Lara Roger, a former concert pianist debilitated by later stage Huntington’s Disease, is cared for by his devastated but loving wife, Fay, who struggles to find meaning in their existence. Rated: General – Violence


BLACK FIELD | Manitoba 2009 | Narrative | 80:00 minutes Directed by Danishka Esterhazy Black Field is a dark historical drama set in the wild Canadian prairies of the 19th century. Two sisters find their lives forever changed when a mysterious and charming man arrives at their isolated farm and refuses to leave. Rated: Parental Guidance – Coarse & Sexual Language, Drug Use


Sill image from film IrradiateIRRADIATE | Narrative | British Columbia | 11:35 minutes Directed by Julia Hutchings Amidst the isolation of windswept fields, Loretta confronts the oscillating nature of grief and loss as she moves through the formalities of her mother’s death. Rated: General

Photo Sara Canning in Black Field

BEST PERFORMANCE – Sara Canning for her role in BLACK FIELD


A WINDOW LOOKING IN Documentary | British Columbia | 22:00 minutes Directed by Tara Hungerford and Eric Hogan General: Coarse Language The profile of 12 BC-based artists, among them writer William Gibson, designer/sculptor Martha Sturdy, photographer Fred Herzog and singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan. Visually bold and captivating, the film peers into the artists’ inner world to uncover common truths about creativity, the artistic process and living and working as an artist in BC.

TORA | Narrative | British Columbia | 29:00 minutes Directed by Wendy Ord and Glen Samuel Starring David Suzuki in his first acting role, TORA follows a jaded city woman who inherits a property in BC’s Interior and is haunted by a little ghost girl. Jenna discovers through dreams and flashbacks of her new neighbour (Suzuki) that her land was a Japanese Internment Camp during WWII. Rated: Parental Guidance – Drug Use

Get an Early Start on Your Filmmaking Career

Powell River Film Festival Feb. 16-19, 2011

The deadline has passed for this year’s Powell River Film Festival’s 5-minute Film Contest 2012, but you can still attend the festival if you live near enough, or want to make the trek up to Power River. Some great prizes such as script consultations, workshops and intensive programs await the winners of this year’s youth contest, all amateur filmmakers, depending on the category, under the age of 19, between 15 and 19 or under 15! All genres of films are accepted and past winners have included dramas, comedies, animation, documentaries, and unique one-of-a-kind films. To view a sample of last years winners, click here.

The Girls in The Band

The Powell River Film Festival itself will be held February 16-19, 2012. Some the Film Festival showings feature strong women filmmakers, such as director Lisa Langseth’s Pure, Director Suzanne Chisolm & Michael Parfit’s The Whale, Director Judy Chaikin’s The Girls in The Band, Pink Ribbons, Inc. by Director/Writer Lea Pool, and 40 Days at Base Camp by award winning Director Diane Whelan and Editor Janice Brown. This new documentary opened at the 2011 Banff Mountain Film Festival after opening at the Vancouver International Film Festival, with sold out screenings and critical acclaim. For more info or tickets, click here.