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August 27, 2012



We’ve already announced the choice list of award-winners coming to VIFF direct from the Cannes Film Festival. See our Highlights From Cannes! The award-winners we’ve been able to bring home from other top fests or national events this year include:

Additional News

Best Film

The World Before Her


Canada | Dir: Nisha Pahuja | Official Website

This energetic doc follows two young Indian women: a Hindu fundamentalist and a beauty pageant contestant. While each vies for her place in a male-dominated society, both are circumscribed by the very life-paths that claim to liberate them. Director Nisha Pahuja asks: What does the future hold?
Winner, Best Documentary Feature, Tribeca; Best Canadian Documentary, Hot Docs.


La demora


Uruguay/Mexico | Dir: Rodrigo Plá | View Trailer

Bearing the hallmarks of the best humanist dramas—sensitivity, compassion and a gritty social realism—Rodrigo Plá’s story of an elderly man’s struggle with encroaching Alzheimer’s and the effects it has on his caregiver daughter, a single-mom of three, is both moving and surprisingly gripping by turns.
Winner, Best Film, Berlin Forum 2012.

Twilight Portrait

(Portret v sumer kakh)

Russia | Dir: Angelina Nikonova

Disenchanted with both her philanthropic work and privileged domestic life, Marina (the utterly fearless Olga Dykhovichnaya) responds to being sexually assaulted by becoming a nocturnal creature drawn to depravity. Angelina Nikonova’s uncompromising first feature offers a unique feminist perspective on the ills of contemporary Russia.
Winner, Best Film, FIPRESCI prize, Thessaloniki 2011.

Abu Son of Adam

(Aadaminte Makan Abu)

India | Dir: Salim Ahmed

Entering his autumn years, Abu is determined to make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and is willing to sacrifice everything to do so. Salim Ahamed’s celebrated debut "balances measured investigation of the Islamic faith with broader concerns of mortality and community."—Variety.
Winner, Best Film, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Music, Indian National Film Awards 2011.



Ireland | Dir: Patrick Farrelly, Kate O’Callaghan

Given Nuala O’Faolain’s renowned candour—the author/journalist’s memoir and deathbed interviews captivated Ireland—one can’t envision a more appropriate tribute than her longtime friend Marian Finucane’s clear-eyed investigation of O’Faolain’s uncompromising, contradictory life. Patrick Farrelly and Kate O’Callaghan direct.
Winner, Critics Award: Best Irish Film, Dublin 2012.

Egg and Stone


China | Dir: Huang Ji

The most impressive debut feature from China in several years, Huang Ji’s poetic drama describes a young Chinese woman’s disturbing sexual coming-of-age with tenderness and breathtaking intimacy. Her film also manifests a strikingly mature visual sophistication.
Winner, Tiger Award, Rotterdam 2012.

Call Me Kuchu


USA/Uganda | Dir: Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall | Official Website

With Uganda’s parliament considering an appalling anti-homosexuality bill, David Kato—the country’s first openly gay man—and his fellow activists soldier on against seemingly insurmountable persecution. Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright have helmed "a must-see... Heart-wrenching and inspiring..."—LA Weekly.
Winner, Best International Feature, Hot Docs 2012.



Canada/France | Dir: Kim Nguyen

Rachel Mwanza plays Komona, a young African girl forced to wage war as a child soldier. In the midst of inconceivable violence and hatred, Komona finds comfort in an albino boy she calls Magicien. Kim Nguyen directs this heartfelt and enthralling drama about the remarkable endurance of the human spirit.
Winner, Best Narrative Feature, Best Actress, Tribeca 2012, Best Actress, Berlin 2012.

Best Director



Germany | Dir: Christian Petzold

Christian Petzold’s (Dreileben: Beats Being Dead, Yella) masterful direction and Nina Hoss’ tightly wound, wonderful performance as the titular character anchor this taut drama about a sophisticated East German doctor (Hoss) exiled to a small village in 1980, who finds her plans to escape to the West complicated by a burgeoning romance.
Winner, Best Director, Berlin 2012.


Una noche


Cuba/UK/USA | Dir: Lucy Mulloy | Official Website

Marked by a vibrant evocation of Havana street life and excellent performances from three non-pro naturals, Una noche throws off a restless energy well attuned to its tale of impetuous Cuban teens preparing to make the dangerous ocean journey to Florida. Writer-director Lucy Mulloy’s sexy, pulsing debut feature... amounts to a bracing snapshot of desperate youths putting their immigrant dreams into action.—Variety.
Winner, Best New Narrative Director, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, Tribeca 2012.



USA | Dir: Joel Potrykus | Official Website

No longer content with simply firing embittered salvos from the stage, a misanthropic stand-up comedian adopts an extreme approach to the concept of "bombing." Joel Potrykus unforgettable debut plays like "a twisted version of Louis C.K.’s FX show Louie..."—Indiewire.
Winner, Best Emerging Director, Filmmakers of the Present, Locarno 2012.



Canada | Dir: Rafaël Ouellet

Rafaël Ouellet’s exquisite film, set in rural Quebec, follows a veteran truck driver named Germain. After the tragedy that ends his career, Germain’s sons join him at their family home. They share a familial malaise of loss, but, quietly, hope arrives.
Winner, Best Director, Karlovy Vary 2012.



Denmark | Dir: Mad Matthiesen | View Trailer

A muscle-bound momma’s boy goes looking for love in Thailand in Mads Matthiesen’s unexpectedly sweet drama. "The bodybuilder Kim Kold doesn’t loom... he towers... his Dennis is at once massive and passive, as big as a house and shy as a mouse. He needs to roar."—New York Times.
Winner, Best Director (World Cinema: Dramatic), Sundance 2012.


Best Script

The Minister

(L ’exercice de l’État)

France/Belgium | Dir: Pierre Schöller | View Trailer

Olivier Gourmet is again superb as a French departmental minister, equal parts idealist and vain opportunist, who begins a moral decline when forced to compromise in Pierre Schöller’s cutting and trenchant dissection of French politics. Michel Blanc co-stars.
Winner, FIPRESCI prize, Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2012, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, César Awards 2012.


A Royal Affair

(En kongelig affære)

Denmark/Sweden/Czech Republic | Dir: Nikolaj Arcel | View Trailer

Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander play the romantically entwined royal physician and the queen of 17th-century Denmark in this sumptuous period drama. "A gripping chapter of European history is recounted with elegance, intelligence and clarity in Danish director Nikolaj Arcel’s... meaty tale of romance, tragedy and court intrigue."—Hollywood Reporter.
Winner, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Berlin Competition 2012.

Key of Life

(Kagi-Dorobo No Method)

Japan | Dir: Uchida Kenji

Uchida Kenji’s long-awaited follow-up to After School is essentially a riff on Trading Places with an all-star cast: Sakai Masato, Kagawa Teruyuki and Hirosue Ryoko. A miserable, failed actor grabs the chance to switch identities with a man who turns out to be a ruthless underworld fixer. Touching, brilliantly plotted and timed... and very, very funny.
Winner, Best Screenplay, Shanghai 2012.

Keep the Lights On


USA | Dir: Ira Sachs | Official Website

Breaking new ground in contemporary American gay cinema, Ira Sachs’ deeply personal drama... examines a volatile 10-year relationship between two divergently addictive personalities, observed in a style that is loose and impressionistic... A distinctively textured reflection on modern gay experience.—Hollywood Reporter.
Winner: Teddy Award, Berlin 2012; Grand Jury Prizes (Screenwriting and Best Film), Outfest 2012.

The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) and Critics Awards



Portugal/Germany/Brazil/France | Dir: Miguel Gomes | View Trailer

Gloriously lyrical, sumptuously shot, occasionally funny and unabashedly romantic—Miguel Gomes’ (Our Beloved Month of August) latest "moves from modern-day Lisbon to a rapturous evocation of romance in colonial Africa. But no plot description can do justice to the idiosyncratic poetry of director Miguel Gomes."—Sight & Sound.
Winner, FIPRESCI prize, Alfred Bauer Prize for Innovation, Berlin 2012.


Neighbouring Sounds


Brazil | Dir: Kleber Mendonça Filho | Official Website

After a series of burglaries on a bourgeois Recife avenue, a private security team is hired by the residents—with ominous results. A gripping and expectations-upending slow-burn thriller from Kleber Mendonça Filho. "A powerful yet subtle X-ray of contemporary Brazilian society... Superbly constructed, skillfully acted and beautifully lensed..."—Variety.
Winner, FIPRESCI prize, Rotterdam 2012.



Mexico | Dir: Jose Álvarez

A gorgeous and captivating overview of the crafts and rituals of the Totonac people in Veracruz’s Zapotal Santa Cruz community. Among the year’s loveliest nonfiction entries... This tapestry of sights and sounds allows audiences to take notice of a proud, long-ignored tribal group whose cultural roots remain firmly intact.—Variety.
Winner, FIPRESCI prize, Thessaloniki 2012.

Long Live the Family

(Rodina je základ státu)

Czech Republic | Dir: Robert Sedláček | Official Website

Accused of embezzlement, a corporate suit disguises his flight from justice as a family road trip. Robert Sedlácek pairs his satirical jabs with keen insights into the conflicted psyche of the modern business/family man.
Winner, Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Czech Film Critics Awards 2012.

Audience Award Winners



Australia/Germany | Dir: Cate Shortland | View Trailer

In the wake of WWII, an OSS officer’s teenage daughter (Saskia Rosendahl) leads her siblings on a perilous trek through a Germany that’s descended into chaos. Cate Shortland’s thoughtful direction ensures that "the deep-feeling Rosendahl makes a major impression... We see the Nazi disaster filtered through her teenage decency and incomprehension."—Screen.
Winner, Audience Award, Locarno 2012.


Come As You Are


Belgium | Dir: Geoffrey Enthoven | View Trailer

An audience favourite wherever it plays, Geoffrey Enthoven’s comic drama scored Audience Awards at Montreal, Palm Springs and Karlovy Vary. Drawn from the experiences of Asta Philpot—the advocate for the (sexual) rights of persons with disabilities—it follows three disabled young men as they escape their concerned parents and head for a brothel in Spain that caters to "their kind."
Winner, Grand Prix, FIPRESCI prize, Montreal 2011.

Any Day Now


USA | Dir: Travis Fine | Official Website

Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt turn in stellar performances in this 70s-set account of a gay couple’s struggles to overcome prejudice and adopt a developmentally disabled teenager. Travis Fine’s stirring drama "packages heartfelt sentiment in foul wry observations by Cumming that would make John Waters proud."—Screen.
Winner, Audience Award: Narrative, Tribeca 2012, Audience Award for Best Film, Seattle 2012.

The Invisible War


USA | Dir: Kirby Dick | Official Website

This deeply unsettling investigation of sex crimes in the US military certifies that "Kirby Dick has become one of the indispensable muckrakers of American cinema, zeroing in on frequently painful stories about how power functions in the absence or failure of accountability... This is not a movie that can be ignored."—The New York Times.
Winner, Audience Award: Documentary, Sundance 2012.

Valley of Saints


India/USA | Dir: Musa Syeed | Official Website

When violent protests curtail Gulzar and Afzal’s escape from Kashmir’s picturesque-but-impoverished Dal Lake, the lifelong friends butt heads over the beguiling scientist who’s studying the polluted lake. Political tensions, personal conflicts and environmental concerns conspire in Musa Syeed’s absorbing drama.
Winner, Audience Award (World Cinema: Dramatic), Sundance 2012.

The Sessions


USA | Dir: Ben Lewin | View Trailer

Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, Ben Lewin’s affecting film tells of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined—at age 38—to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality...
Winner, Audience Award (Dramatic), Sundance 2012.



Poland | Dir: Wojciech Smarzowski

Wojciech Smarzowski’s riveting period drama reveals a little-known chapter of Polish history: the post-WWII persecution of the Mazurians, indigenous residents of what is now northeastern Poland. Boasting strong direction, impeccable performances and top-of-the-line craft credits, the tragic tale of war, ravishment and survival bears comparison with masterworks such as Elem Klimov’s Come and See..Variety.
Winner, Audience Award, Warsaw 2011.

Sleepless Night

(Jam mot deuneun bam)

South Korea | Dir: Jang Kunjae

Dragons & Tigers Award-winner Jang Kunjae (Eighteen, 2009) returns with what may or may not be an autobiographical account of young married life. He works in deliveries and is exploited by his boss; she’s a fitness instructor. Their ups and downs are shown with warmth and great good-humour.
Winner, Audience Award, Jeonju 2012, Young Critics Award, Edinburgh 2012.


Sept. 1 - Sneak Preview Guides Hit The Street
Sept. 10 - VIFF Advance Box Office Opens
Sept. 15 - VIFF Official Program Catalogue On Sale
Sept. 26 - VIFF Film + TV Forum Starts
Sept. 27 - VIFF Opens. Yeah!

Vancouver International Film Festival | VIFF 2012

September 27 - October 12, 2012 | Film Info: 604.683.FILM (3456) | VIFF Office: 604.685.0260