30th Year Of VIFF A Record Year

After sixteen days of showing films, welcoming crowds, making deals, and allowing directors to give Q&A’s to the audience, the Vancouver Film Festival ended its 30th year on Friday, October 14th. I had my excitement with volunteering and seeing seven different shows of differing variety. Those that volunteered, like myself, were treated to a Mexican style brunch at the Waldorf Hotel which consisted of some prize giveaways and small gifts. Almost a week later, the news hit that this year’s film festival achieved new records.

The 2011 Vancouver International Film Festival was the most attended and highest-grossing VIFF. Admissions totalled over 152,000, up from 148,000 from last year. Ticket revenues also hit a record with $1,178,811, breaking the record of $1,074,025 also set last year. Very impressive.  

One thing we learn about hosting film festivals like these is that the money from ticket sales are not enough. Although we hit a new high in ticket sales, the Festival itself costs $3.5 million to put on. The remainder of the baklance is covered by government support (about 10%), private sector sponsorship, and personal donations. One thing about this year is that there was a bigger expense this year in using the Vogue Theatre for showing movies. Although the VIFF used the Granville 7, Pacific Cinematheque and the VanCity Theatre as it did last year, the Park Theatre wasn’t used this year, opting for bigger crowds with the Vogue Theatre. The Vogue served as the Visa Screening Room for all the big premeieres and Gala events, replacing Theatre 7 at the Granville 7. It did pay off as film crowds were bigger for the Vogue.

The success of this year’s VIFF keeps its reputation as one of the Top Five film festivals in North America in attendance and films screened. Here are some of the numbers behind this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival:

-152,000 – total admissions

-633 – public screenings

-600 – industry guests

-386 – total films shown

  • 240 – feature length (60+ minutes)
  • 126 – shorts
  • 20 – mid-length films (20-59 mins)

-97 – Canadian Films shown

  • 39 – feature length
  • 57 – shorts
  • 1 – mid-length

-80 – countries entering films

-49 – North American premieres

-40 – Canadian premieres

-36 – media screenings

-30 – International premieres (first screeening outside home country)

-20 – World Premieres

-17 – entries in the Best Foreign Language Film category for this year’s Oscars shown

-16 – days of showing films

-10 – theatres showing films

Very imporessive numbers indeed and a hard act for 2012 to follow. Also for those interested in the award winners, here’s which film won what:

DRAGONS & TIGERS AWARD for YOUNG CINEMA

  • The Sun-Beaten Path  (China/Tibet) – dir. Sonthar Gyal

ROGERS PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

  • A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin)  (Iran) – dir. Asghar Farhadi

VIFF MOST POPULAR DOCUMENTARY FILM AWARD

  • Sing Your Song (USA) – dir. Susanne Rostock

ENVIRONMENTAL FILM AUDIENCE AWARD

  • People of a Feather (BC/Nunavut) – dir. Joel Heath

SHAW MEDIA AWARD for BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM

  • Nuit #1 (Québec) – dir. Anne Émond

MOST PROMISING DIRECTOR of a CANADIAN SHORT FILM

  • Andrew Cividino for We Ate the Children Last (Québec)

NFB MOST POPULAR CANADIAN DOCUMENTARY AWARD

  • Peace Out  (BC/Québec) – dir. Charles Wilkinson

VIFF MOST POPULAR CANADIAN FILM AWARD

  • Starbuck  (Québec) – dir. Ken Scott

So there you have it. Those are the winners of this year’s Vancouver international Film Festival. Great to see the Festival end on a great note. I’m happy to have volunteered for the Festival this year. I hope to volunteer for the Festival again next year and I hope to see its records broken again. Will it be a marquee film festival in the future like Cannes, Sundance, Venice or Toronto? Only time will tell. Nevertheless I commend the VIFF for showing its huge variety of films, showing the most Canadian film and for promoting a wide array of films and talents from the up-and-coming to the established. Also I commend the volunteers for doing a good job with the crowds. Last year my uncle visited the Toronto Film Fest and he said the people thee get treated like cattle. So I myself comment the VIFF volunteers for treating the crowds right.

Here’s to the continued success of the Vancouver International Film Festival and to its success in the future years. VIFF 2012: Starting September 27th. Already I can’t wait!

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