Seagrass Wins at CinéFest Sudbury
by Staff Editors
(September 27, 2023 – Toronto ON) The 35th annual edition of the CinéFest in Sudbury, Ontario has wrapped with an announcement of those films honoured by the festival, and Seagrass, which is still on the festival circuit has been named Outstanding Canadian Feature Film. Directed by Meredith Hama-Brown, Seagrass follows a Japanese-Canadian woman grappling with the death of her mother as she brings her family to a retreat. When her relationship with her husband begins to affect the children’s emotional security, the family is forever changed.
The French Language Feature Film Award was given to Vampire humaniste cherche suicidaire consentant, starring Sara Monpetit (pictured above) as Sasha. Our Québec Correspondent, Maurie Alioff, who screened the feature at TIFF, lamented in his review that “Humanist Vampire” was overlooked for awards. In the film, Sasha is a young vampire with a serious problem: she’s too sensitive to kill. When her exasperated parents cut off her blood supply, Sasha’s life is in jeopardy. Luckily, she meets Paul, a lonely teenager with suicidal tendencies who is willing to give his life to save hers. But their friendly agreement soon becomes a nocturnal quest to fulfill Paul’s last wishes before day breaks.
Other awards included the Austraila/UK copro The Royal Hotel, which was given the Outstanding International Feature Film Award; The Cinema Indigenized Outstanding Talent Award, which was given to Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun, directed by Banchi Hanuse; the Outstanding Female-Led Feature Film Award was given to the Estonia film Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (Savvusanna sõsarad). Directed by Anna Hints and set in the darkness of a smoke sauna, women share their innermost secrets and intimate experiences, washing off the shame trapped in their bodies and regaining their strength through a sense of communion. The Inspiring Voices & Perspectives Feature Film Award was given to Close to You (pictured above). Directed by Dominic Savage, the film follows Sam (Elliot Page) who has the chance to encounter with an old friend on his way back home to a dreaded family reunion that forces him to confront long-buried memories.
The Outstanding Short Film Award went to I Promise You Paradise (Paradis). Directed by Morad Mostafa it is a 2023 France/Egypt/Qatar co-production, being distributed in Canada by H264. Walter’s Room from director Austin Lindsay picked up The Outstanding Northern Ontario Short Film Award, and Daniel Gies won the Outstanding Animated Short Film Award for Return to Hairy Hill (Retour à Hairy Hill), which tells the story of Ethel, whose childhood ends abruptly when her mother flies away, leaving Ethel alone to care for an isolated homestead and her younger siblings. As a merciless winter descends upon them, Ethel must decide whether to resign herself to fate or to try her luck in the wide world.
In the Audience Choice section of CinéFest awards, the UK/France/Belgium co-production, The Old Oak won the Award for Best Feature; Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe was the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary; À mort le bikini! (Death to the Bikini!) from director Justine Gauthier was honoured with the Audience Choice Award for Best Short.
SOURCE: CinéFest Sudbury.