VIFF announces BC and Canadian award winners for 36th annual festival

VANCOUVER: The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) released its full list of awards that recognize the outstanding films and filmmakers featured at the 36th annual festival, tonight. With more than $80,000 in prizes awarded, these significant cash awards help further the creative careers of BC and Canadian filmmakers by celebrating their exceptional work.

Juried awards for Canadian features and shorts were announced at an awards ceremony prior to the BC Spotlight Gala Screening of director Melanie Wood’s Shut Up and Say Something at The Vancouver Playhouse.

The full list of awards, jurors and winners is as follows:

BC Spotlight Awards

Sea to Sky Award

    • Presented by TELUS, this award recognizes the exceptional work of a female key creative on a BC-produced feature or short film. The winner will receive $20,000 that can be used towards future productions or further training.
    • Winner: Kathleen Hepburn, Never Steady, Never Still
  • Special Mentions:
    Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city and
    Yassmina Karajah, Rupture

Best BC Film Award

    • Awarded to a narrative feature, which will receive a $10,000 development bursary from the Harold Greenberg Fund and a $15,000 post-production services credit supplied by Encore (Deluxe Ent Services Group).
  • Winner: Luk’Luk’I (dir. Wayne Wapeemukwa)

BC Emerging Filmmaker Award

    • A $7,500 cash prize sponsored by the Union of BC Performers/ACTRA and Actra Fraternal Benefits Society, along with a $10,000 equipment credit from William F. White. First or second narrative features that are signatory to a UBCP/ACTRA agreement are eligible for this award.
  • Winner: Kathleen Hepburn, Never Steady, Never Still

Jury members: Kevan Funk, Taylor Hill, Harry Killas

Canadian Film Awards
Narrative Features:

Best Canadian Film

    • A $10,000 award sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada will be presented to one of the seventeen nominated Canadian narrative features.
  • Winner: Black Cop (dir. Cory Bowles)

Emerging Canadian Director

    • The Directors’ Guild of Canada will also present a $2,000 award to one of the nominated films that mark the director’s first or second narrative feature.
    • Winner: Kathleen Hepburn, Never Steady, Never Still
  • Special Mention: Seth A. Smith,The Crescent 

Jury members: Bracken Hanuse Corlett, Tracey Friesen, Ravi Srinivasan

Documentary Features:

Best Canadian Documentary

    • Presented by the Rogers Group of Funds, $15,000 will be award to a Canadian documentary feature film.
    • Winner: Unarmed Verses (dir. Charles Officer) 
  • Special Mention: Shut Up and Say Something (dir. Melanie Wood)

Jury members: Ann Marie Fleming, Janice Morris, Jeff Chiba Stearns

Short Film Awards:

Best Canadian Short Film

    • Presented by Lexus, one Canadian short film will receive $2,500.
    • Winner: Shadow Nettes (dir. Phillip Barker) 
  • Special Mention: Scaffold (dir. Kazik Radwanski)

Best BC Short Film

    • Presented by Creative BC, one BC short film will be awarded $5,000.
    • Winner: Rupture (dir. Yassmina Karajah) 
  • Special Mention: Memory of the Peace (dirs. Jennifer Chiu, Jean Parsons)

Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film

    • Presented by Delta Air Lines and an anonymous donor, $2,000 cash, and a round-trip flight anywhere that Delta Air Lines flies, will be awarded to a director of a Canadian made short film
    • Winner: Vincent Toi, The Crying Conch 
  • Special Mention: Adib Alkhalidey, Go Play Outside

Jury members: Nick Citton, Alicia Eisen, Darcy Van Poelgeest

Please note, the Impact Award and the Super Channel People’s Choice Award will be announced at The Centre for the Performing Arts on October 13.

Tickets for all talks, sessions and performances are available for purchase at and in person at the Vancouver International Film Centre.


Each year VIFF relies on the hard work of more than 1,000 volunteers to assist in running the festival. Volunteer registration is now open at

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) and the year-round programming of the Vancity Theatre at the Vancouver International Film Centre. VIFF produces screenings, talks and events that act as a catalyst for a diverse community to discover, discuss and share the creativity and craft of storytelling on screen. In its 36th year, the Vancouver International Film Festival welcomes the world to Vancouver from September 28-October 13, 2017 as it showcases the top international, Canadian and BC films and plays host to industry professionals from around the globe.