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Villeneuve's Incendies wins Best Canadian Film at VIFF

A scene from Incendies: After their mother Nawal's death, twin siblings Simon and Jeanne embark on a journey to the Middle-East that shines a disturbing light on their mother's past and culminates in a shocking revelation. Based on an acclaimed play by Wajdi Mouawad and directed by Genie-award winning Denis Villeneuve.

Quebec's Denis Villeneuve can add another honour to the growing list of accolades for Incendies: It's been named Best Canadian Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Incendies, about twins who embark on a journey to the Middle East to satisfy their mother's dying wish, was given the same honour at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, and has been selected as Canada's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards.

The VIFF prize, worth $20,000, was one of two juried awards announced Friday, on the festival's closing night. The other, Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film, went to Halima Ouardiri, also of Quebec, for her short Mokhtar.

Audience awards were also announced Friday night. Lucy Walker's documentary Waste Land won the Rogers People's Choice Award. The UK-Brazil co-production follows artist Vik Muniz on his three-year collaboration with people who recycle trash for a living at the world's largest landfill, outside Rio de Janeiro.

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Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer's documentary Kinshasa Symphony, about a ragtag Congo orchestra that plays European classical music - often on homemade instruments - was named Most Popular Nonfiction Film.

The Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award went to John Zaritsky's Leave Them Laughing, about Carla Zilbersmith, a Vancouver-born-and-raised comedian and musician diagnosed with ALS.

And the VIFF Environmental Film Audience Award went to Sturla Gunnarsson's Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie, a look at the life and work of the renowned Vancouver-based environmentalist, centering on a so-called legacy lecture Suzuki delivered in Vancouver last year.

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