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The winners of the 2016 Whistler Film Festival were announced this morning and BEFORE THE STREETS (AVANT LES RUES) Canadian director Chloé Leriche’s first feature, won the the coveted Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature Film. The moving story of Shawnouk, a young First Nations man who banishes himself into exile after committing a horrible crime during a routine break-in at one of the local summer homes. The first feature film ever shot in the Atikamekw language is an accomplished first film by filmmaker Chloé Leriche.

The Borsos Jury chose BEFORE THE STREETS for the Best Canadian Feature because “this surprising, unexpected film grips you from its powerful, intense opening chant, to well beyond the final credits, where we found ourselves compelled to linger, to sit, and to feel the films after-echoes wash over us. We fell in love with these compelling characters, and gained rare insights into the bonds of family and the challenges of reservation life.”

To add to its WFF accolades, the jury awarded Chloé Leriche with Best Borsos Director. Non professional actor Rykko Bellemare also received an honorable mention for best performance in BEFORE THE STREETS.

Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs the lead of the Canadian film THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT took home WFF’s Best Performance in a Borsos Competition Film Award this year. Devery Jacobs has given a pitch perfect performance as the sixteen year old protagonist of THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT. She is luminous, with every fleeting emotion reflected in her eyes. Confusion, fear, and finally wonder emanate as if from within. An actor in control of her craft , Devery wears her character with such ease. A simply jaw dropping turn as an actor.

The Borsos Award for Best Screenplay went to THE CYCLOTRON (LE CYCLOTRON), written by Olivier Asselin and Lucille Fluet. Best Cinematography in a Borsos Film went to cinematographer Mathieu Laverdière for THE CYCLOTRON.


The World Documentary Award was a tie between SLED DOGS directed by Fern Levitt and THE WILL TO FLY directed by Katie Bender and Leo Baker. The jury deliberated and had a hard time picking a winner but there was consensus on the top three films. In the end, they chose to give honorable mention to MR. ZARITSKY ON TV and the award for the Best Documentary at the Whistler Film Festival is a tie between THE WILL TO FLY and SLED DOGS.

The Best Mountain Culture Film Award went to THE WILL TO FLY directed by Katie Bender and Leo Baker. In an unanimous decision, the judges have chosen “THE WILL TO FLY as the winner of this year’s Mountain Culture Award for the way in which it drew the audience into the subject matter, capturing trials and victories of athletic and psychological determination. It was obvious that the filmmakers clearly put absolutely everything into this film and the telling of Lydia’s emotional and personal story.”

The $1,000 Canadian ShortWork Award went to MUTANTS directed by Alexandre Dostie. “The winner of this award offered a truly offensive, visceral, realistic, and moving look at human relationships all through the lens of a baseball team. The director got strong, believable performances from the entire cast and created a truly cinematic experience. The Canadian Shortwork Award goes to Alexandre Dostie for MUTANTS.”

The International ShortWork Award went to TIMECODE by Juanjo Gimenez. “For an unexpectedly beautiful piece that shows us how sometimes our common humanity is best shared and celebrated through the movement of body, the jury awards the International Shortwork Award to TIMECODE directed Juanjo Gimenez.”

Best Canadian Screenplay Award went to THE HEAD VANISHES, directed by Franck Dion. “The jury would like to present the Best Canadian Screenplay Award to a very moving short Canadian film, which is able to convey with minimal dialogue, a nuanced and difficult journey, exploring the inner experiences of both a mother and daughter, dealing with Alzheimer’s. The winner is Franck Dion’s THE HEAD VANISHES.”

The $500 ShortWork Student Award went to BOMBING, directed by Gloria Mercer. “For the sophistication of the filmmaking and for pulling exceptionally strong performances from the cast the jury awards the BC Student Shortwork Award to BOMBING directed by Gloria Mercer. Gloria, you’ve got good instincts, follow them, they’ll take you far.”

The MPPIA Short Film Award, presented by MPPIA and Creative BC, was awarded to Ana De Lara (BC) for GOOD GIRLS DON’T. The award consists of a $15,000 cash award plus up to $100,000 in services. The completed project will have its world premiere screening at the 2017 Whistler Film Festival.

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists presents the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary to SLED DOGS directed by Fern Levitt. “The Alliance of Women Film Journalists jury commends Whistler Film Festival for this programming of a controversial documentary that reveals egregious abuse of animals within its hometown and at other locales where dog sledding is a popular pursuit and profitable business. In Fern Levitt’s SLED DOGS, we see that some owners have little or no regard their animals’ comfort and well-being, often treating them in ways that are tantamount to torture, and then callously killing them when they can no longer serve to satisfaction. Our jury found SLED DOGS to be difficult to watch, heartbreaking and unforgettable. This is a documentary that can lead the way towards change for the better. We present the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary to the very compelling and well-crafted SLED DOGS directed by Fern Levitt.”

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists presents the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature to Chloé Leriche for BEFORE THE STREETS for a film in which we are observers in a story told with a fully naturalistic approach. We become immersed in the narrative, almost as if a video camera were chasing real life. As the first film shot in Atikamekw, a dialect,of the Algonquian Cree language, it is an engaging portrait of a young man who finds himself in an awful situation, one in which he’s forced to come to terms with his actions. Free of excessive writing and preconceived dramatic notions, BEFORE THE STREETS is beautiful in the simplicity of its storytelling and performance. We present the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature to BEFORE THE STREETS, directed by Chloé Leriche.

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