'Status Quo?,' 'Fair Sex' take docu, performance prizes

The 12th Whistler Film Fest wrapped on Sunday with a brunch honoring Variety’s Top 10 Screenwriters to Watch and the annual Borsos Awards.

The Borsos Canadian Feature Film Award, which carries the second largest cash prize in Canada — $15,000 — went to Kate Melville’s directorial feature film debut, “Picture Day.”

The coming-of-age story follows a rebellious teenager who is trapped between adolescence and adulthood as she’s forced to repeat her last year of high school.

“This year, we are delighted to recognize a filmmaker whose work is revelatory: universal in its specificity, soulful, heartfelt, raw, intelligent, profoundly human and so much fun,” said Borsos Jury members including producer Martin Katz, actor/director Helen Shaver and actors Rachelle Lefevre and Liane Balaban.

The performance award also went to the pic’s star Tatiana Maslany (Variety’s up and coming Canadian talent pick earlier this year) for her “fearless, honest, unapologetic, heartbreaking, and hilarious” performance.

The world documentary award was awarded to Karen Cho’s “Status Quo?,” which received a standing ovation. Doc looks at the history of the women’s movement in Canada.

The documentary jury included Sundance Institute’s Bird Runningwater, actress Sarain Boylan and Brian D. Johnson, critic for Maclean’s magazine.

A breakout performance citation was given to Marie-Evelyne Lessard “for her astonishing turn leading a gifted ensemble” in Martin Laroche’s “Les Maneges Humains/Fair Sex.”

Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos honored “Twilight” scribe Melissa Rosenberg with the Billion Dollar Screenwriter Award, presented by Amazon Studios.

Gaydos also acknowledged Variety’s 10 Screenwriters to Watch: Katie Dippold (“The Heat”); Patrick Aison (“Wunderkind”); Reid Carolin (“Magic Mike”); Scott Rothman & Rajiv Joseph (Draft Day); Ted Melfi (St. Vincent de Van Nuys); Derek Connolly (Safety Not Guaranteed); Bill Dubuque (The Judge); Chris Terrio (‘Argo”); Kelly Marcel (’50 Shades of Grey’); and Ken Scott (‘Starbuck”).

Appropriately, given the fest’s location, the winners took home a hand-carved talking stick by a local First Nations artist.

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