Ten films will compete for the annual WIFF Prize in Canadian Film at this year’s Windsor International Film Festival. The titles vying for the $25,000 cash prize were unveiled yesterday during the WIFF at TIFF party held at Toronto’s Canoe restaurant. The competitors are a full slate of dramatic works that represent some of the most acclaimed Canadian films from the circuit.
“This year’s nominated films are the culmination of artistic visions and storytelling prowess of this country’s remarkable talent,” said Vincent Georgie, WIFF’s Executive Director and Chief Programmer, in a statement from the festival. “Each film is a unique chapter in the evolution of Canadian cinema. We look forward to celebrating their remarkable achievements with the WIFF Prize at this year’s festival.”
BlackBerry, directed by Matthew Johnson, screens in competition with its take on the rag-tag Canadian team who transformed communication and our way of life with handheld technology. Le plongeur, directed by Francis Leclerc, tells the story of a 19-year-old student with a gambling addiction who takes a job as a dishwasher to get by. Also in competition is veteran filmmaker Atom Egoyan’s backstage drama Seven Veils. Amanda Seyfried stars in this twisted tale that draws upon Egoyan’s experience directing Salomé for the stage.
Meanwhile, director Louise Archambault scores two competition slots with her films Irena’s Vow and One Summer. The former is an English-language Holocaust drama about a nurse who saved several Jews by hiding them in the cellar of a Nazi officer’s home. The latter is a dramedy about a priest who realizes that his parish’s days are limited.
This year’s competition boasts especially strong competition from Quebec. In addition to Achambault and Leclerc’s films, Guy Édoin’s Frontiers brings an ensemble drama that includes Pascale Bussières, Micheline Lanctôt, and Marilyn Castonguay. Meanwhile, Ariane Louis-Seize’s festival breakout Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person, which puts a fun twist on YA vampire flicks will continue to bring smiles for its attention-grabbing title. Also playing are Anik Jean’s family drama My Mother’s Men and Monia Chokri’s acclaimed infidelity drama Simple Comme Sylvain. Rounding out the field is Sophie Dupuis’ drag scene drama Solo, which reunites the director with actor Théodore Pellerin. The film was the only Canadian drama to screen as a Gala at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
Last year’s winner, Riceboy Sleeps went on to win the prize for Best Canadian Feature from the Toronto Film Critics Association and the Canadian Screen Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. WIFF will announce its full line-up ahead of this year’s festival, such runs October 26 to November 5.