felix-and-meiraFÉLIX AND MEIRA

Whistler Film Festival announced the winners of the 14th annual Festival, and FÉLIX AND MEIRA, by Canadian director Maxime Giroux, won the 11th edition of the prestigious Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature Film. This unusual love story, between a lonely francophone man in Montreal and the married Hasidic Jewish mother to whom he feels a connection, uncover themes of tradition, loneliness and desire, making for strange bedfellows in this contemporary Canadian tale of longing. FÉLIX AND MEIRA had its Western Canadian premiere at the festival and stars Martin Dubreuil, Hadas Yaron and Luzer Twersky.

The Borsos Jury commented, “It was a very eclectic and diverse group of films this year, which made for a deep and interesting deliberation. After thoughtful consideration, we came to a unanimous decision to award FÉLIX AND MEIRA with the Borsos Award for Best Canadian Feature.” Now in its 11th year, the Borsos Competition is the second largest festival prize for a Canadian film in the country. The competition is named after the legendary Canadian filmmaker Phillip Borsos, and is presented by the Directors Guild of Canada, BC, and supported by Telefilm Canada and Encore Vancouver.

FÉLIX AND MEIRA adds to its WFF accolades, receiving Best Screenplay, and awarding Maxime Giroux with Best Borsos Director. Hadas Yaron, the lead in FÉLIX AND MEIRA, also won WFF’s Best Performance in a Borsos Competition Film Award this year.

The other 2014 Borsos Competition finalists were: AFTER THE BALL, dir: Sean Garrity (World Premiere);  BANG BANG BABY, dir: Jeffrey St. Jules (Western Canadian Premiere);  MOUNTAIN MEN, dir: Cameron Labine (World Premiere);  RELATIVE HAPPINESS, dir: Deanne Foley (Western Canadian Premiere); and THE WOLVES (Les Loups), dir: Sophie Deraspe (World Premiere).

THE BACKWARD CLASS directed by Madeleine GrantTHE BACKWARD CLASS directed by Madeleine Grant

The World Documentary Award presented by Tribute.ca was awarded to THE BACKWARD CLASS directed by Madeleine Grant. The thoughtful documentary examines the first graduating class of a special private school for promising low-caste children in India. After thirteen years of living away from their impoverished families, they nervously prepare to write national ISC high school graduation exams in competition with all the other students in India. The documentary unveils the consequences if few or none of them pass, where it will leave them, and how it will reflect on the future of the financially challenged private institution. The Jury recognized Grant for “making an inspiring and uplifting film with a purposeful message and strong artistic viewpoint.” The Jury would also like to give a honourable mention to A LIFE IN DIRTY MOVIES, a beautiful film about the art of cinema.

The Canadian ShortWork Award went to RUNNING SEASON, directed by Grayson Moore. The Jury commented: “The Running Season is a darkly comic film that captures the deadpan wit of the Cohen brothers while remaining uniquely, and proudly Canadian. Full of uncomfortable laughs and slow burning tension, the stylish and wonderfully acted film is extremely deserving of this recognition.” The jury also gave honourable mention to THE ORPHAN AND THE POLAR BEAR.

The International ShortWork Award went to THE TIDE KEEPER directed by Alyx Duncan. “Gripping, poetic, beautiful, and visually stunning, this is a lyrical allegory of someone who literally gave his life to the sea. A great example of a filmmaker who is relentlessly dedicated to a strong theme,” commented the Jury.

The ShortWork Student Award presented by Capilano University Film Centre went to GODHEAD by University of Victoria’s Connor Gaston. The Jury praised the film for “smart direction, strong visuals, framing, and great performances. This story reminded us that the people with the most special minds often go unnoticed or are dismissed the easiest. But we certainly noticed Gaston as a British Columbian filmmaker with a strong, clear voice.

The Best Mountain Culture Film Award presented by Whistler Blackcomb went to SNOWMAN, directed by the local and emerging director Mike Douglas. “Beautifully shot, with real personal issues, the decisions we make, the sacrifices, triumphs and what it means to follow our hearts. For its commitment to the mountains, the community and the snow, we have selected SNOWMAN for this award,” said the Jury.

The MPPIA Short Film Award, presented by MPPIA and Creative BC, was won by Andrew Rowe for VEHICULAR ROMANTICIDE. The completed project will have its world premiere screening at the 2015 Whistler Film Festival.

Variety’s Vice President and Executive Editor Steven Gaydos acknowledged the Variety 10 Screenwriters to Watch, six of whom were present: Chris Bowman and Hubbel Palmer (LOOMIS FARGO); Chris Sparling (THE SEA OF TREES); Melissa Stack (THE OTHER WOMAN); Phyllis Nagy (CAROL); Suha Arraf (VILLAGE TOUMA); Ben Schwartz (MAJOR!); Graham Moore (THE IMITATION GAME); Matt Charman (SUITE FRANCAISE); Michael Starrbury (THE INEVITABLE DEFEAT OF MISTER & PETE); and Taylor Sheridan (SICARIO).


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