Denis Cote’s Vic + Flo Saw a Bear earns Silver Bear award in Berlin

And Inch'Allah, by director Anais Barbeau-Lavalette, earned a critics' prize at the European festival as Canadian directors came home with an impressive trophy haul (Vic + Flo pictured).

The Canadian prison parole drama Vic + Flo Saw a Bear from director Denis Côté has won the Alfred Bauer Silver Bear award at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival for a feature film that opens new perspectives.

Canada’s prize haul in Berlin also included Inch’Allah, by director Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, earning three trophies, including third place for the Panorama audience award.

Côté, who has seen previous work like Curling and Bestiaire pick up awards on the European festival circuit, caught the attention of the Berlin jury, led by Wong Kar Wai, with the world premiere of the Romane Bohringer, Pierrette Robitaille and and Marc-André Grondin-starrer about a woman on prison leave meeting up with a woman she knew on the inside.

The French language film from indie producer Metafilms is written and directed by Côté and will be released in Quebec by FunFilm Distribution.

Vic + Flo Saw a Bear has also been sold to France (UFO), Portugal (Leopardo Films) and Italy (Bolero Films).

Côté, in seeing his latest film compete in Berlin, is looking to follow the lead of Quebec director Kim Nguyen, whose Oscar-contending War Witch began in Berlin last year when the film premiered there and won the Silver Bear for actress Rachel Mwanza.

Also taking prizes in Berlin was Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s Inch’Allah, which had its international premiere as part of the European festival’s Panorama sidebar.

The reward for the  Quebec picture, produced by micro_scope,  was third place in the audience voting competition, and the FIPRESCI critics prize.

The Canada-France co-production about a young Canadian obstetrician working in a makeshift clinic in a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank also earned special mention in the Ecumenical Jury competition.

Inch’Allah had its world premiere in Toronto, and stars Evelyne Brochu, Sabrina Ouazani, Yousef Sweid, Sivan Levy, Carlo Brandt.

Canada was also recognized when the short film Barefoot, by director Danis Goulet, secured special mention in the best short competition after screening in the Generation 14plus sidebar.