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Award-Winning Films at VIFF 2015
AWARD WINNING FILMS
PREVIOUS PROGRAM ANNOUNCEMENTS
IMPORTANT VIFF INFORMATION

The Vancouver International Film festival has just announced 22 award-winning films that are set to play the festival’s 34th edition, which runs September 25 to October 9, 2015.

Having already announced 20 prestigious Cannes titles playing this fall's festival, VIFF now unveils 22 award-winning films that have just been added to our line-up. Standouts from Berlin, Sundance, Tribeca, Rotterdam, and SXSW are just some of the exceptional films that are sure to strike a chord with festival-goers.

More films will be announced on a weekly basis, with the full festival program revealed on September 3, 2015.


BEST FILM
IRAN | DIR: JAFAR PANAHI
Despite the ban against him, Iranian master Jafar Panahi continues to find ingenious ways to make films. Here, taxi driver Panahi cruises Tehran, picking up family, friends, film colleagues and nonprofessionals, all of whom take on roles. The result is "a beautifully humane fable... a good-humoured jeu d’esprit, a piece of freewheeling cinephile activism... It’s a rueful but insistent statement to the effect that he is down but not out..."— Guardian

Golden Bear, Berlin 15

(ISLA MÍNIMA)
SPAIN | DIR: ALBERTO RODRÍGUEZ
The Spanish deep South, 1980. A series of brutal murders of adolescent girls in a remote and forgotten town bring together two disparate characters—both detectives in the homicide division—to investigate the cases. With deep divisions in their ideology, Juan and Pedro must put aside their differences if they are to successfully hunt down a killer who for years has terrorized a community. "A brilliant, compelling edge-of-your-seat detective thriller infused with a spirit of uncanny gothic redolent of David Lynch and David Fincher." — Sight & Sound

Best Film and nine other Goya Awards

(I DINA HÆNDER)
DENMARK/GERMANY | DIR: SAMANOU ACHECHE SAHLSTRØM
Afflicted by an aggressive motor neuron disease, Niels opts to die with dignity and asks his nurse, Maria, to escort him to a Swiss clinic. As they make the trek, Samanou Acheche Sahlstrøm crafts a bold drama that's profoundly moving without ever feeling manipulative. There's emotional ugliness lying in wait but it's ultimately rendered beautiful by its honest insights. An undeniably important film, this is a "provocative query into what makes life worth living." — Variety

Best Nordic Film, Gothenburg 15

(ANA NOJOOM BENT ALASHERAH WAMOTALAGAH)
YEMEN/UNITED ARAB EMIRATES/FRANCE | DIR: KHADIJA AL-SALAMI
In 2009, the story of Yemeni teenager Nojood Ali's bid to extricate herself from an abusive marriage arranged when she was just 10 years old made headlines. The subsequent bestseller has been beautifully adapted by former documentarian Khadija Al-Salami into an emphatic drama that features a wonderful performance from Reham Mohammed as the young Ali. "A powerful, moving and provocative debut drama..." — Screen

Muhr Award for Best Arab Film, Dubai 14

(OBRA DEL SIGLO)
CUBA/ARGENTINA/SWITZERLAND/GERMANY | DIR: CARLOS M. QUINTELA
Once the most ambitious undertaking in Cuban history, the Juragua Nuclear Reactor now sits abandoned. In its shadow is Nuclear City, where the plant's would-be employees are left to contemplate the glory that might've been. Fuelled by the disappointments of three generations of disillusioned denizens, Carlos Quintela's unflinchingly dark comedy (luminously lensed in black and white) intersperses archival footage and blends surrealism and social realism to depict a country locked in stasis.

Tiger Award, Rotterdam 15

GUATEMALA/FRANCE | DIR: JAYRO BUSTAMANTE
At the foot of a Guatemalan volcano, 17-year-old Maria (a transfixing María Mercedes Coroy) and her parents scratch out a living working on a coffee plantation. Promised to the plantation's overseer, Maria, instead, falls for a youth her own age... First-time director Jayro Bustamente has fashioned "a transporting, hypnotically beautiful debut feature... downright Herzogian... in its surfeit of physical detail, observed ritual and looming clash of civilizations." — Variety

Alfred Bauer Prize, Berlin 15; Best Ibero-American Film, Best Director, Guadalajara 15


AUDIENCE AWARD
INDIA | DIR: PRASHANT NAIR
When a young village boy (Suraj Sharma) discovers that his brother, long believed to be in America, has actually gone missing, he begins to invent letters on his behalf to save their mother from heartbreak, all the while searching for him. "The film's takes on immigration, country-city contrasts and youthful dreams of the future are lovingly detailed..." — Hollywood Reporter

Audience Award: World Narrative, Sundance 15

UK | DIR: LOUISE OSMOND
Dark Horse is the inspirational true story of a group of friends from a Welsh working men's club who decide to take on the elite 'sport of kings' and breed themselves a racehorse. Their young foal, raised on nearby waste-land, grows into an unlikely champion, beating the finest thoroughbreds in the country, before suffering a near fatal accident. Nursed back to health by the love of his owners, he makes a remarkable recovery, returning to the track for a heart-stopping comeback. "Unforgettable." — Telegraph

Audience Award: World Documentary, Sundance 15

USA | DIR: JIMMY CHIN, E. CHAI VASARHELY
Three elite climbers struggle to find their way through obsession and loss as they attempt to climb Mount Meru, one of the most coveted prizes in the high stakes game of Himalayan big wall climbing. "An odds-defying wall climb gives way to a grand humanistic study... In a sense, this is a visceral study of willpower and mental strength. But [directors Chin and Vasarhelyi] uniquely pose deeper questions about passion, ambition and friendship." — Indiewire

Audience Award: US Documentary, Sundance 15

BRAZIL | DIR: ANNA MUYLAERT
A cheerful live-in housekeeper in São Paulo (Regina Case) finds her life—and the lives of the middle-class family she cares for—comically turned upside down when her estranged daughter (Camila Mardila) shows up and unleashes a welter of issues relating to class difference, motherhood and privilege. "Beautifully written and acted with precision, this film's a winner... Regina Case (Me You Them) delivers a stunning performance... in Anna Muylaert's riveting drama." — Hollywood Reporter

Panorama Audience Award, Berlin 15; Special Jury Award, World Narrative, Sundance 15

USA/PARAGUAY | DIR: BRAD ALLGOOD, GRAHAM TOWNSLEY
In Latin America’s largest landfill, a garbage picker uncovers the raw materials for makeshift musical instruments. As cellos and violins are fashioned from stray detritus, a group of local children are likewise transformed into the Recycled Instruments Orchestra of Cateura. Reminiscent of VIFF '10 standout Waste Land, Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley’s documentary is an inspiring tale of resilience and transcendence. "A secret treasure... A story of the dull throb of existence gleefully recalibrated by the thundering heartbeat of music." — Austin Chronicle

Audience Award, 24bps, SXSW 15

(MIN LILLA SYSTER)
SWEDEN/GERMANY | DIR: SENNA LENKEN
A precocious tween on the cusp of sexual maturity (Rebecka Josephson, granddaughter of Bergman regular Erland Josephson) is forced to make some hard decisions when her gorgeous older sister (Amy Deasismont, aka pop star Amy Diamond) accidentally reveals that she has a serious eating disorder... "Swedish writer-director Sanna Lenken's debut feature breathes warmth and humor into a potentially dry topic thanks largely to its terrific young cast." — Hollywood Reporter

Best Nordic Film, Audience Award, Gothenburg 15; Crystal Bear, Generation 15+, Berlin 15


BEST DIRECTOR
POLAND | DIR: MALGORZATA SZUMOWSKA
Shifting between a prosecutor for whom death is mundane, his bulimic daughter who's fading away and the girl’s therapist who fancies herself a spiritual medium, Malgorzata Szumowska's deadpan dramedy is immaculately acted and surprisingly funny, offering wry insights into how we see ourselves and what might await us after this life. "A poignant tale about the confrontation of faith with skepticism, hope with despair, and love with hate." — culture.pl

Silver Bear (Best Director), Berlin 15

ROMANIA/BULGARIA/CZECH REPUBLIC | DIR: RADU JUDE
The title translates as "Bravo!" and director Radu Jude (Everybody in Our Family) means it in the most darkly ironic way possible here. In early 19th century Wallachia, a burly constable and his son track an escaped Roma slave; in the process Jude draws on the tropes of the Western genre to fashion an epic black and white drama rife with meanings for today. "An exceptional, deeply intelligent gaze into a key historical period, done with wit as well as anger." — Variety.

Silver Bear (Best Director), Berlin 15

(CHAHARSHANBEH, 19 ORDIBEHESHT)
IRAN | DIR: VAHID JALILVAND
In an effort to find consolation, a man offers a significant sum of money to a worthy person in need who comes to his office on May 9 and makes a convincing appeal. But how does he deal with the throngs of needy candidates who assemble? How does he decide who’s actually the most worthy? From a simple premise, Vahid Jalilvand employs formal finesse and unforgettably urgent performances to craft a profound study of human nature and economic realities.

Best Director, Best First Film, Fajr 15
ISRAEL | DIR: AVISHAI SIVAN
While harbouring impure thoughts in the shower, Haim-Aaron (Aharon Traitel), a young ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva student, falls and dies. Forty minutes later, he is miraculously brought back to life by his father. But would everyone be better off if he had stayed dead? Avishai Sivan’s occasionally surreal and ultimately fascinating study of a devout young man's newly minted doubt—and decidedly un-Orthodox behaviour—is unlike any Israeli film you've seen. Prepare to be shocked.

Best Israeli Film, Screenplay, Actor, Cinematography, Jerusalem 15


BEST FIRST FILM
(600 Millas)
MEXICO | DIR: GABRIEL RIPSTEIN
Gripping and gritty, Gabriel Ripstein’s assured debut is a nimble, intense thriller that delves into cross-border crime. Arnulfo has a tidy little racket going—legally purchasing Arizona firearms and flipping them to Mexican cartels—until he's targeted by an ATF agent (Tim Roth). Bad luck and even worse decisions conspire to set these two men on a treacherous journey that neither expected and both are wholly unprepared for. "A lean, careful, clever tale..." — Indiewire

Best First Feature, Panorama, Berlin 15.

USA | DIR: ZACHARY TREITZ
A disagreement leads two farmer-brothers to separate—one stays on the family plot, the other goes into battle on the Union side in the Civil War. Zachary Treitz's remarkable debut traces the fortunes of both with a raw physicality and inspired simplicity rare in one so young. "Treitz persuasively and passionately re-creates a grand panorama on an intimate scale and a spare budget... He has made an instant-classic Western." — New Yorker

Best New Narrative Director, Tribeca 15


BEST ACTRESS
MEXICO | DIR: ANDRÉS CLARIOND RANGEL
A bored housewife becomes a desperate one in Andrés Clariond Rangel's sly black comedy. Dead of spirit after decades of upper-class leisure, Susana (Verónica Langer) finds her long-dormant passion rekindled by the arrival of a young new maid, Hilda (Adriana Paz). As her interest in the girl turns to obsession, an identity crisis gives way to more volatile behaviour. Rangel ensures that Susana's shift from generosity to tyranny is chilling—and thrilling—to watch.

Best Actress, Morelia 14

UK | DIR: ANDREW HAIGH
Two towering performances by screen icons Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay make Andrew Haigh's slow-burn drama a must-see. A week before their 45th wedding anniversary, the Mercers' genteel life in the English countryside is threatened when Geoff receives a letter saying that the body of his long-dead first love has been recovered—perfectly preserved—in the Swiss Alps... "Composed with rigour and exactitude and performed with a repressed, heartfelt passion."
Guardian

Best Actress, Best Actor, Berlin 15; Best British Feature, Edinburgh 15


MISCELLANEOUS
GERMANY | DIR: SEBASTIAN SCHIPPER
Shot in a single astonishing take, this tour-de-force heist thriller plunges us into the predicament of Victoria (Laia Costa), whose “one crazy night" in Berlin grows increasingly perilous as she's roped into a bank robbery. Such technical audaciousness only heightens the narrative's tension, setting the stage for a dizzying climax that's precisely the sort of spectacle best seen on the big screen. "A kinetic, frenetic, sense-swamping rollercoaster ride." — Hollywood Reporter

Outstanding Artistic Contribution to Cinematography, Berlin 15

(I NOSTRI RAGAZZI)
ITALY | DIR: IVANO DE MATTEO
When grainy surveillance video appears to capture a heinous crime committed by their teenage kids, two couples hold a summit at an upscale restaurant and debate what to do next. Based on Herman Koch's international bestseller—hailed as "chilling, nasty, smart, shocking and unputdownable" by Gone Girl's Gillian Flynn—Ivano De Matteo's exquisitely crafted, ravishingly cinematic psychological thriller makes exceptional use of an exemplary cast and upends our expectations at every turn.

Europa Cinema Label Prize, Venice 14

MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Passes + Ticket Packs On Sale Now (online only at viff.org)
THU SEP 3
All Ticket Sales (online at viff.org, starting at noon)
VIFF Complete Festival Program Guide available at locations around town

SAT SEP 12
In-Person Advance Sales start at Vancity Theatre Box Office, 1181 Seymour St (Noon-7pm).

THU SEP 24
34th Annual Vancouver International Film Festival opens
All venue box offices open, 30 minutes before the first screening of the day

VIFF Industry Conference
SAVE THE DATE: September 29 – October 3, 2015
PASSES ON SALE NOW


The premier screen-based media conference on the West Coast, VIFF Industry offers valuable insights into the multi-faceted elements shaping the future of the industry. Offering five days of professional development and business networking for registered participants, session topics are wide-ranging and industry-relevant, from content creation and financing, to marketing and direct distribution, to storytelling and audience engagement. The 2015 program will allow delegates to view the screen based media landscape through a new lens with a special focus on Virtual Reality and Finding an Audience: the DNA of Discoverability.

A new initiative this year is VIFF Industry Exchange in partnership with the CMPA-BC — the only Canadian marketplace of its kind devoted specifically to Digital Online Content. This marketplace will serve to assist in upgrading our screen based community’s knowledge of the key players; provide networking opportunities to further develop business deals and relationships; and help to develop their skills in producing and selling online content.


About VIFF

Founded in 1982, the Greater Vancouver International Film Festival Society is a not-for-profit cultural society and federally registered charitable organization that operates the internationally acclaimed Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), the annual VIFF Industry Conference and the year-round programming of the Vancity Theatre at the Vancouver International Film Centre. Its mandate is to encourage understanding of the world's cultures through the art of cinema, to foster the art of cinema, to facilitate the meeting in British Columbia of cinema professionals from around the world, and to stimulate the motion picture industry in British Columbia. In its 34th year, the Vancouver International Film Festival welcomes the world to Vancouver from September 24-October 9, 2015 as it showcases the top BC, Canadian and international films and plays host to industry professionals from around the globe.