By Tonte Spiff
After much anticipation, the Vaughan International Film Festival ’19 (VFF) has come and gone. On the closing night, VFF hosted an awards show to spotlight the best productions and performances put on display.
The evening began with the People’s Choice Award, voted on by festival goers, awarded to Sarah Gonyea for her documentary film A Voice for Change: The Laura Hillier Story.
Michael Tibollo - MPP for Vaughan-Woodbridge, stressed the importance of providing incentives and tax credits to ensure film production in the GTA. Maurizio Bevilacqua - Mayor of Vaughan, took the stage to congratulate the festival’s co-founders Antonio Lenco & Mark Pagliaroli on their accomplishments. The mayor truly believes in the power of the arts, and in this case film production, as he said: “We should rally behind them, because they deserve it. We should support them in every which way we can, because they brought something to us that didn’t exist before. Like everything, you need to respect those who create.”
The night shifted back to the awards presentations with Nathalie Pitters & Kupa Warner’s film From Life winning Best Cinematography. From Life follows an amateur artist, sketching in a churchyard, through a series of encounters with a young woman played by Emma Laird, who was nominated for Best Actress for her strong performance in the film. However, that honour was taken home by Jeanine Mason for her role as Sydney in Made Public. This was just the beginning of a historic night for the team behind Made Public, as the film’s male lead Josh Zuckerman went on to win the next award of the night for Best Actor.
There was also a specially presented award to recognize the career accomplishments of an individual; Independent Leadership Award. The purpose of the award is to recognize individuals making significant contributions in the independent film community, and this year’s recipient was actress Mischa Barton. Even though Mischa is a two-time Teen Choice award winner for her role as Marissa Cooper in The O.C. and Entertainment Weekly’s “It” Girl award, she has focused her career more recently on indie films as she’s starred in over a dozen in the last five years.
In near shocking fashion, Made Public won the award for Best Film as well as Best Director for Foster Wilson’s oversight during the production process. Made Public was nominated for a record tying four awards and went on to win in all four categories. Speaking to VIBE105, Foster Wilson said: “It’s been an incredible ride, so many people got us to this place. This was a film that was probably not going to be made, but enough people believed in us and believed in this script. Two years in the making and here we are.”
The night ended with an excellent performance from Juno nominated recording artist Scott Helman.
*Editor’s Note: VIBE105 is the official media partner of Vaughan International Film Festival 2019. VFF can be found on Twitter @VaughanFilmFest & Facebook @VaughanFilmFestival .