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The VIMFF Summer Fest is back on June 22 at the Shipyards in North Vancouver!
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Film Awards 2023

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Announcing the VIMFF 2023 Film Awards!

Each year we bring together an expert jury to view films from our Fall Series in November as well the films selected for the VIMFF main festival in February. The jury had their work cut out for them, with close to 100 amazing films from around the world. We want to congratulate and thank everyone for sharing their stories with us at the VIMFF!

Explore the award winning films below! You can view most of these films at our Best of VIMFF 1 and Best of VIMFF 2 shows at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, B.C.

Want to know more about the jury? Scroll down to view their bios!

vimff laurel GRAND PRIZE

A White Dream

This film was part of VIMFF 2023 and is no longer available for viewing.

Grand Prize
53 mins |
France |
2021
DIRECTOR:
Mathieu Le Lay
Jérémie Villet explores the extreme Yukon region with the goal of photographing the legendary mountain goat.

Jury Quote

Many of us would like to know how a professional wildlife photographer creates exquisite imagery and achieves a seemingly unachievable vision. One observes through this film that both filmmaker and the subject are obsessed enough to suffer for their craft, even through the pain of frostbite. The result is sublime.

– Michael Brown, VIMFF 2023 Jury

vimff laurel best mountain culture film x

Kumari: A Father’s Dream

This film was part of VIMFF 2023, VIMFF 2023 Tour and is no longer available for viewing.

Best Mountain Culture Film Presented by the British Columbia Mountaineering Club
32 mins |
United States |
2022
DIRECTOR:
Sean O'Connor
Deep in rural Nepal, a group of childhood friends from low-caste families have started a trekking guide social enterprise that has transformed their home community of Kumari.

Jury Quote

A heartfelt story of the human spirit creating a better world and then being interrupted by a natural disaster. The filmmakers take the courageous step of returning to the location and rewriting the story to acknowledge the aftermath of the devastation. The result is yet more effective at showing the power of community and resilience.

Michael Brown, VIMFF 2023 Jury

vimff laurel best climbing film x

This is Beth

This film was part of VIMFF 2023, VIMFF 2023 Tour and is no longer available for viewing.

Best Climbing Film
18 mins |
Canada |
2022
DIRECTOR:
Jen Randall
An intimate look at a professional climber, and her relationship with her sport, her career and herself.

Jury Quote

Our shifting bodies, identities and experiences inform our ability to climb, strengthen and summit the mountains around us and in our minds. This film is the intimate portrayal of world-renowned athlete Beth Rodden and delves into the folds of her pursuit of self-worth, success and personal actualization in her sport of rock climbing. Beth is an absolute legend in rock-climbing, yet her vulnerability portrayed in this film makes her experiences relatable to multiple and diverse communities. This film makes space for themes of parenting, body-image, self-acceptance and athletic excellence and is a gem within the field of Mountain sports and climbing films.

– Erynne Gilpin, VIMFF 2023 Jury

vimff laurel best canadian film x

The Klabona Keepers

This film was part of Fall Series 2022 and is no longer available for viewing.

Best Canadian Film
70 mins |
Canada |
2022
DIRECTORS:
Tamo Campos, Jasper Snow-Rosen
An intimate portrait of the inspiring Indigenous families that succeeded in protecting the remote Sacred Headwaters, known as the Klabona.

Jury Quote

Smoked Fish, loon calls, pristine waterways, ceremonial grounds and constitutions of land-based governance, The Klabona Keepers is an outstanding and comprehensive portrayal of leadership and self-determination of the Iskut village, Tahltan Territory. This film delves into the interconnections of community cultural wellness, land-defence, inter-generational strength, love and resistance. The Klabona Keepers spans categories of Environmentalism, leadership, community and Mountain culture.

– Erynne Gilpin, VIMFF 2023 Jury

vimff laurel ADVENTURE FILM x

The Last Mountain

This film was part of VIMFF 2023 and is no longer available for viewing.

Best Adventure Film
106 mins |
United Kingdom |
2021
DIRECTOR:
Chris Terrill
A story of a mother and son, two of the greatest climbers of all time, died at almost the same age, in the same mountain range, both doing what they loved best.

Jury Quote

The Last Mountain is an emotional and haunting tribute to two icons of the climbing community; Alison Hargeaves and her son Tom Ballard. Shot over more than 25 years, filmmaker Chris Terrill employs footage from Tom and his sister Kate’s childhood trip to their mother’s last mountain, K2, as the backbone to a tale that is as complex as it is rich in drama, texture and emotion. Terrill weaves timelines and narratives drawing us into the family’s process of grieving in the very mountains that took two of its members’ lives. This is an important and masterful film and embodies the very notion of adventure.

– Karen Duthie, VIMFF 2023 Jury

vimff laurel best mountain sport film x

Speed of Sound

This film was part of VIMFF 2023 and is no longer available for viewing.

Best Mountain Sport Film
5 mins |
United Kingdom |
2022
DIRECTOR:
Jade Ang Jackman
Speed of Sound is a textured insight into the experience of an unstoppable young woman who won Gold at the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics.

Jury Quote

In this award-winning short, the jury was struck not only by its compelling story and highly visual style, but by the rich and thoughtful soundscape, which is especially fitting as the film’s subject, Austrian Paralympic skier Carina Edlinger, has 2 percent vision. We congratulate director Jade Ang Jackman, and producer Ellie Sabine-Singh for their artistic portrayal of a committed and accomplished athlete in Speed of Sound.

Suzan Beraza, VIMFF 2023 Jury

vimff laurel best environmental film x

Rematriation

This film was part of VIMFF 2023 and is no longer available for viewing.

Best Environmental Film
67 mins |
Canada |
2022
DIRECTOR:
Alexi Liotti
Rematriation explores scientific, cultural, economic and sociopolitical perspectives, as citizens fight to protect the last big trees in British Columbia from being felled.

Jury Quote

The 2023 VIMFF Jury presents the festival’s Best Environmental Film award to Rematriation, a vital documentary feature about Ada’itsx (Fairy Creek) and the ongoing fight to protect old growth forests on southern Vancouver Island. The film’s articulate human subjects make compelling arguments for why these remaining forests are important, and important to preserve; more broadly, they remind us – if anyone needs reminding by this point! – why environmental stewardship is the central issue of our age. A wide range of social, political, cultural, historical, and, crucially, indigenous perspectives inform Rematriation’s frequently stirring 67 minutes. The film’s ravishing images underscore the urgent case being made and capture the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural wonders we are in such danger of squandering. 

– Jim Sinclair, VIMFF 2023 Jury

vimff laurel best short film x

Renaissance

This film was part of Best of VIMFF 2024, VIMFF 2023, VIMFF 2023 Tour and is no longer available for viewing.

Best Short Film
5 mins |
Canada |
2022
DIRECTOR:
Mike McKay
A ballet dancer finds her true expression through rediscovering her passion for movement in the mountains.

Jury Quote

Ottawa filmmaker Mike McKay’s evocative Renaissance stood out among the festival’s many accomplished short films with its unique angle on a popular mountain sport. Beautifully shot, and told in intimate first-person voice-over, it profiles a burned-out ballet dancer who rekindles her love of movement and dance when she discovers a new passion – climbing. The film makes expressive use of split screen to draw parallels between, but also to contrast, dance and climbing, and eloquently suggests the healing potential, physical and spiritual, of both sports and the arts.

– Jim Sinclair, VIMFF 2023 Jury

vimff laurel best of bc x

Continuum

This film was part of VIMFF 2023, VIMFF 2023 Tour and is no longer available for viewing.

Best BC Film
2 mins |
Canada |
2021
DIRECTOR:
Harrison Mendel
Brett Rheeder and Harrison Mendel show how the sequence of individual movements are all linked together as a cohesive collection.

Jury Quote

Continuum transports us through a multiverse of landscapes via a mountain biker steeped in a perfect state of flow. Seamless transitions and a dreamy soundtrack punctuated by the crunching sound of tires on dirt anchor us in the moment, transporting us on the rider’s journey. The brilliance of this film is its simplicity; ironically and expertly achieved through complex, difficult and ultimately innovative shooting and riding techniques. Immensely satisfying and exciting, this gorgeous two minute film is the embodiment of the phrase “always leave them wanting more.”

Karen Duthie, VIMFF 2023 Jury

vimff laurel jury special mention x

Ocean Mother

This film was part of Fall Series 2022, VIMFF 2023 and is no longer available for viewing.

Jury Special Mention
5 mins |
United States |
2021
DIRECTOR:
Miko Lim
A conversation about motherhood and the ocean with champion spear fisherwoman and free diver, Kimi Werner.
vimff laurel jury special mention x

PASANG: In the Shadow of Everest

This film was part of VIMFF 2023 and is no longer available for viewing.

Jury Special Mention
71 mins |
United States |
2021
DIRECTOR:
Nancy Svendsen
A story of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa’s tragic and inspiring journey to become the first Nepali woman to summit Everest in 1993.

VIMFF 2023 JURY

vimff speaker suzan beraza

Suzan Beraza

Suzan Beraza is a Hispana-Latina-American filmmaker and was born and raised in the Caribbean. Her films have been shown on Netflix, Independent Lens, PBS, BBC, World Channel, FranceTV and on the Documentary Channel, at Lincoln Center, and at many festivals. Suzan became Festival Director for Mountainfilm festival in Telluride, Colorado in 2017, and is the former Chair of New Day Films, the longest-running film cooperative.

vimff speaker michael brown

Michael Brown

Michael Brown has excelled as an adventure athlete and filmmaker in his career. He has been to the summit of Mount Everest five times, each time with cameras rolling. His work as a director and cinematographer covering adventure sports, including caving, kayaking, and mountain climbing, spans all seven continents. His work has won many film festivals and industry awards, including three national Emmy Awards and the Giant Screen Cinema Association (IMAX) ‘Outstanding Cinematography’ Award. Michael is also a recipient of the International Alliance For Mountain Film’s Grand Prix and the Explorers Festival’s Camera Extreme. Michael’s previous film at VIMFF, The Weight of Water, was awarded the Best Adventure Film Prize in 2020, and this year he has returned to join the jury.

vimff film awards jury karen duthie x

Karen Duthie

Karen Duthie is a Vancouver based director, story editor and filmmaker working in Vancouver’s factual television scene. She won a Gemini Award for Best Direction for the television show Conviction Kitchen. Her documentary 100% Woman won many festival awards, including Best Mountain Biking Film at the 2005 Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. When not immersed in story telling, Karen can be found riding mountain bikes on Vancouver’s North Shore, or surfing on Haida Gwaii’s North Beach.

vimff film awards jury erynne gilpin x

Erynne M. Gilpin

Educator. Land-Based Wellness. Film-maker. Rock-Climber and Mother of Michif (The Pás/Duck Bay MB; Member of the Manitoba Métis Federation), Filipina and Celtic ancestry based between Canada and Brazil. Founder and organizer of Indigenous Women Climb, Gilpin works to support place-based leadership through land-based learning, film-based storytelling and self-determined creative representation. Fluent speaker of English, French, Portuguese and Spanish, Erynne is dedicated to inter-cultural and Inter-National Indigenous leadership via pathways of self-determination, creative resurgence and knowledge mobilization. With a Doctorate in Indigenous Governance and Post-Doctorate Fellowship within the realm of Indigenous wellness and leadership, Gilpin’s work focuses on Indigenous leadership, wellness and Land-based family health. Currently, Gilpin is a community-based educator and co-director of film-production company UATÊ STORIED LEARNING.

vimff film awards jury jim sinclair x

Jim Sinclair

Jim Sinclair was Executive and Artistic Director of The Cinematheque in Vancouver for three decades, and curated thousands of films, and hundreds of film series, during that time. He has served on numerous film festival, government arts council, and film industry awards juries. In 2011, he was made a Chevalier of France’s “Order of Arts and Letters” for his work promoting French and European cinema in British Columbia.

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