Vancouver fest wraps, hands out awards


VANCOUVER -- The French-Iranian co-production "Persepolis" on Friday took the People's Choice award for most popular international film at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

The coming-of-age drama by directors Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud was honored as the festival wrapped up its 26th edition.

The festival's People's Choice award for most popular international documentary went to "Garbage Warrior" by the United Kingdom's Oliver Hodge.

Michael Stenberg, Johan Soderberg and Linus Torell of Sweden took home the $25,000 inaugural Kyoto Planet Climate for Change award for "The Planet," a graphic documentary showcasing global environmental degradation.

For the hometown crowd, Gwen Haworth's transsexual drama "She's a Boy I Knew" grabbed both the Most Popular Canadian Film and the Women in Film & Television artistic merit awards. Yung Chang's disconcerting "Up the Yangtze" won the Best Canadian Documentary award. Director Carl Bessai won the Western Canada Feature Film award for "Normal," which depicts the aftermath of a teenager's accidental death.

Robert Weng's "Fujian Blue" and Zhang Yuedong's "Mid-Afternoon Barks," both poignant explorations of modern China, shared the Dragons & Tigers award for Young Cinema in the East Asian program.

VIFF director Alan Franey announced the awards prior to the screening of "Priceless," which closed the festival. The festival showcased a total of 333 films in 575 screenings over its 14-day run. Franey also announced that the festival organizers expected to meet or exceed its targeted admissions of 151,000.