A VIFF 2012 Wrap-Up

By now you’ve probably read the reviews of all eleven of the films I saw at this years’ Vancouver International Film Festival. The Festival ended its sixteen days of films and festivities on Friday October 12th. I was working at the Granville 7 theatre at the time. The following Sunday all volunteers were treated to a volunteer appreciation luncheon at the Fan Club Cabaret in downtown Vancouver. The luncheon consisted of a live jazzy blues performance and a good lunch buffet. I was able to talk with people I volunteered with during the Festival.

As for the Festival itself, the festival did not succeed in breaking its 2011 record in ticket sales. The number of tickets went down 8% to 140,000. That can be blamed in part due to record-breaking hot Vancouver weather at that time. Yeah, it was a milestone ‘Indian summer’.  Nevertheless there were excellent turnouts and even filled crowds at many shows, even at special showings at the Vogue Theatre. If you want to read up about last-year’s success, which includes details about how film festival income is made, read here.

Here is this year’s VIFF by the numbers:

-140,000 – total admissions

-750 – volunteers

-643 – screenings

-392 – total films shown

  • 235 – feature length (60+ minutes)

-800 – number of Canadian films entered for the VIFF

-108 – Canadian Films shown

  • 37 – feature length
  • 51 – shorts
  • 20 – mid-length
  • 15 – co-productions

-96 – non-fiction films shown

  • 83 – feature length
  • 17 – Canadian

-75 – countries entering films

-64 – Canadian premieres

-51 – North American premieres

-37 – International premieres (first screening outside home country)

-21 – World Premieres

-16 – days of showing films

-12 – entries in the Best Foreign Language Film category for this year’s Oscars shown

-10 – screens showing films

-4 – theatres participating in the VIFF

Very impressive numbers for this year. Anyways I’m sure most of you want to know what film won what award, right? Well let’s say it had to be tough from the multitude of ballots filled out at this year’s Festival. An impressive 87% of the films shown were mostly rated ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’ so you could understand this would be quite the tough call for both the VIFF juries and the ballot tally. Nevertheless winners have been declared and here goes it:

ROGERS PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

-THE HUNT/Jagten (Denmark/Sweden) dir. Thomas Vinterberg,

VIFF MOST POPULAR INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM AWARD

-NUALA (Ireland) dir. Patrick Farrelly, Kate O’Callaghan

VIFF MOST POPULAR CANADIAN DOCUMENTARY AWARD

-BLOOD RELATIVE, dir. Nimisha Mukerji

VIFF MOST POPULAR ENVIRONMENTAL FILM AWARD

-REVOLUTION(Canada) dir. Rob Stewart

VIFF MOST POPULAR INTERNATIONAL FIRST FEATURE

-I, ANNA (UK/Germany/France), dir. Barnaby Southcombe

VIFF MOST POPULAR CANADIAN FILM AWARD

-BECOMING REDWOOD, dir. Jesse James Miller

Women in Film and Television Artistic Merit Award

-LIVERPOOL (Canada) dir. Manon Briand

DRAGONS & TIGERS AWARD for YOUNG CINEMA

-EMPEROR VISITS THE HELL (China) dir. Li Luo

Honorable Mentions:

-A FISH (South Korea), dir. Park Hongmin

-PECULIAR VACATION AND OTHER ILLNESSES(Indonesia), dir. Yosep Anggi Noen

BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM AWARD

– BLACKBIRD, dir. Jason Buxton

Honorable Mention: BECOMING REDWOOD, dir. Jesse James Miller

MOST PROMISING DIRECTOR OF A CANADIAN SHORT FILM

– Juan Riedinger for FLOAT

Honorable Mention: PEACH JUICE, dirs. Brian Lye, Callum Paterson and Nathan Gilliss

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 myself had a good time seeing films. I saw eleven, as I reviewed at this site in the last while. I wanted a mix of films and I got a good mix out of it: four documentaries, two shorts programs (all by Canadians), three foreign-language films, one country’s entry in the Oscar category for Best Foreign Language Film and three Canadian features. I feel I had a good mix.

One thing about this year’s festival is it did mark the end of an era for the VIFF. This is the 11th Vancouver Film Festival held at the seven-screen Granville 7 Theatre in Downtown Vancouver. As of November 4th, the Granville 7 will cease to exist as it will be constructed into a condominium building. It was a shock to all of us but for years we kept on hearing “It’s closing within the year” and we’d come back there each and every year. This time it’s for real and even Empire Theatres that owns the Granville 7 made it official in an email to Granville 7 patrons.

The Vancouver Sun and Province didn’t shy away from that fact and even wrote stories that it will mark doomsday for the VIFF in the future. It first seemed believable since the Granville 7 was key to the VIFF’s growth over the years and its location being central to most of the other theatres showing films during the VIFF. The actual fact is most of us won’t believe it to be doomsday. If you know Vancouver media, they love moaning ‘doomsday’ about everything. In fact they kept on shouting ‘doomsday’ in the years leading up to the Vancouver Olympics and they ended up being the best thing that happened to the city. So what does that tell you? Finding a new theatre facility will be a challenge for next year’s film festival. I myself predict it may be either the Tinseltown in downtown Vancouver or the Fifth Avenue Cinema near Kitsilano. Nevertheless I’m confident that a new location for next year’s VIFF will not hurt the festival. In fact those who have VIFF email subscriptions will learn of the new location in the spring of 2013. Also they pointed out in that email that with the healthy attendance at this year’s Festival and 60,000 year–round members, the future of the Festival is bright and secure. Plus the Festival continued its reputation as one of the Top 5 Film Festivals in North America. So no reason to mourn doomsday. Besides if Canadian cities smaller than us in population continue to hold their own International Film Festival, there’s no reason Vancouver can’t.

Here’s to the continued success of the Vancouver International Film Festival and to a new era starting next year. I haven’t been given a start date of VIFF 2013 so I assume it will either be September 26th or October 3rd. I’m looking forward to next year.

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3 responses

  1. […] noted in my summary of last year’s VIFF, 2012 was the last year it was to be held at the Granville 7 Cinema. The Cinema would continue for […]

  2. […] films attracted a total of 130,000 in gated admission. As a flat number, that’s 7% lower than last year  and 20,000 shy of 2011′s record but that’s actually a very optimistic number to the VIFF […]

  3. […] attendance of 150,000 over 386 films. The results are especially impressive when you compare it 2012 which had more films and with last year under the new format. Last year’s total entries were […]

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