Alan Franey has overseen his final Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) after a year in which attendance exceeded expectations.

The festival director is stepping down from his role after 26 years to focus on programming and other pursuits, he announced in a Saturday news release.

"It has been a privilege for me to lead this organization for so long, and there are many people I will remain grateful to," Franey said.

"Our senior staff and board have been working towards this executive transition for a few years, and we are fortunate to have several deeply knowledgeable and dedicated long-term employees who work 60-80 hour weeks on our behalf.'

Franey's final year in charge involved a mad scramble to find new venues after Empire Granville 7 Cinemas closed last year. VIFF 2012 also saw lagging attendance due to an unseasonably warm autumn.

The festival eventually found new venues including the Centre for the Performing Arts, the Vancouver Playhouse, SFU Woodward's, the Rio Theatre and Cineplex Odeon International Village.

VIFF 2013 screened 341 films from 75 countries, including 92 Canadian films and 85 non-fiction films. Seven-hundred and fifty volunteers kept operations running.

The Film and Television Forum saw particular success this year, kicking off on Sept. 27 with an event at the Centre that drew 1,800 fans to see "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan.

The Forum went on to host over 1,000 delegates, an increase of seven per cent over last year.

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  • VIFF 2013 Audience Awards

    <strong>Roger's People's Choice Award</strong> "<a href="" target="_blank">Like Father, Like Son</a>" Director: Kore-eda Hirokazu

  • VIFF 2013 Audience Awards

    <strong>Most Popular Canadian Documentary Award</strong> "<a href="" target="_blank">When I Walk</a>" Director: Jason DaSilva

  • VIFF 2013 Audience Awards

    Most Popular Canadian Environmental Documentary Award "<a href="" target="_blank">Salmon Confidential</a>" Director: Twyla Roscovich

  • VIFF 2013 Audience Awards

    <strong>Most Popular Canadian Feature Film Award</strong> "<a href="" target="_blank">Down River</a>" Ben Ratner

  • VIFF 2013 Audience Awards

    <strong> Most Popular International Documentary</strong> "<a href="" target="_blank">Dessert Runners</a>" Jennifer Steinman

  • VIFF 2013 Audience Awards

    <strong>Most Popular First Feature</strong> "<a href="" target="_blank">Wadjda</a>" Director: Haifaa Al Mansour

  • <em>Next: More Films At Viff 2013</em>

  • Blind Detective

    Hong Kong director Johhnie To returns with something VIFF is a pitching as "a madcap, genre-bender" fusing cop thriller with horror and throwing in a dash of rom-com for good measure. <a href="" target="_blank">Watch the trailer.</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Check screening times.</a>

  • Gabrielle

    Quebecois writer-director Louise Archambault's drama is the tale of a woman with William's syndrome and her friendship with a boy she meets in the choir at her day centre. <a href="" target="_blank">Watch the trailer.</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Check screening times.</a>

  • Le Week-End

    Roger Michell's bittersweet comedy will resonate with anyone who's been married a while. Jim Broadbent plays Nick, an academic relegated to a less-than elite college and married to Meg (Lindsay Duncan), who he's whisked off on the Eurostar to Paris to try and inject a bit of romance - and sex - into their lives, with painfully honest results. <a href="" target="_blank">Watch the trailer.</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Check screening times.</a>

  • Gloria

    Paulina Garcia won the Best Actress award in Berlin this year for her performance as Gloria, a single woman of a certain age who hits the senior singles scene in Santiago. <a href="" target="_blank">Watch the trailer.</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Check screening times.</a>

  • The Congress

    Ari Forman's follow up to the extraordinary "Waltz With Bashir" stars Robin Wright (playing herself) and the splendid Danny Huston. Inspired by Stanislav Lem's novel The Futurological Congress, the movie looks at life, artifice, immortality... All through this director's very unique lens. <a href="" target="_blank">Watch the trailer.</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Check screening times.</a>

  • The Past

    Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation" was a devastating account of a family slowly torn apart by a moment of bad judgment. Here, Farhadi moves the action from Iran to Paris, to detail the painful steps in a marriage on the verge of disintegration. <a href="" target="_blank">Watch the trailer.</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Check screening times.</a>

  • A Story Of Children And Film

    Critic-turned-filmmaker Mark Cousins returns with a follow up to the wonderful "A Story Of Film" to look at the life of children, as seen through their depiction in cinema. Just think Ozu, Bergman and Spielberg, and you'll be off and running. <a href="" target="_blank">Watch the trailer.</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Check screening times.</a>

  • Kiss The Water

    A truly beautiful portrait of a life lived in microcosm, Eric Steel's film documents the life of Megan Boyd, a woman from a small village in the Scottish Highlands, who became the world's foremost crafter of hand-tied salmon fishing flies. A real treat. <a href="" target="_blank">Watch the trailer.</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Check screening times.</a>

  • Wolf Children

    Hosoda Mamoru's modern fairy tale featuring a single mom who falls in love with, yes, a wolf man, is a surefire bet for anyone who loves Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli oeuvre. <a href="" target="_blank">Watch the trailer</a>. <a href="" target="_blank">Check screening times.</a>

  • Big Bad Wolves

    This Israeli thriller about the aftermath of a child murder is screening as part of the late night "Altered States" strand. Not for the feint of heart. <a href="" target="_blank">Watch the trailer</a>. <a href="" target="_blank">Check screening times.</a>

  • <em>Next: 10 Canadian Films To See At VIFF</em>

  • The Oxbow Cure

    Directed by Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas, "<a href="" target="_blank">The Oxbow Cure</a>" is billed as a minimalist and entrancing character study. Suffering from a spine-threatening illness, Lena (Claudia Dey) retreats to a cabin in the wilderness.

  • The Dirties

    Matt Johnson both directs and stars in "<a href="" target="_blank">The Dirties</a>," a film about a gang of bullies—and how its victims plan to seek revenge.

  • Rhymes For Young Ghouls

    Following teenage Alia (Kawennahere Devery Jacobs) as she plots against a tormenting Indian Agent, "<a href="" target="_blank">Rhymes For Young Ghouls</a>" juxtaposes the real with the surreal. Directed by Jeff Barnaby.

  • Whitewash

    A widower (Thomas Haden Church) drives his snowplow into a snowy Quebec forest and proceeds to live as an outlaw. "<a href="" target="_blank">Whitewash</a>" is director Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais's feature debut.

  • Tom At The Farm

    This psychological thriller follows Tom (director Xavier Dolan) as he heads to the Quebec countryside for his lover's funeral. "<a href="" target="_blank">Tom At The Farm</a>" is said to be Dolan's most rugged film to date.

  • Sarah Prefers to Run

    Starring Sophie Desmarais as a young McGill student who messes up many aspects of her life and finds solace in running. Director Chloé Robichaud is participating in VIFF’s Film and Television Forum panel "Canuck First-Time Feature Film Directors" on Saturday, October 5.

  • Vic + Flo Saw A Bear

    Two ex-cons attempt to live normal lives in the Quebec countryside in "<a href="" target="_blank">Vic + Flo Saw A Bear</a>." DIrected by Denis Côté and starring Pierrette Robitaille, Romane Bohringer, and Marc-André Grondinb.

  • My Prairie Home

    Canadian transgender country/pop artist Rae Spoon confronts memories of growing up in rural Alberta and enduring an abusive childhood home in "<a href="" target="_blank">My Prairie Home</a>." Directed by Chelsea McMullan.

  • Gabrielle

    Writer/director Louise Archambault presents "<a href="" target="_blank">Gabrielle</a>," an unusual love story between a young woman affected by Williams' syndrome and a boy she meets in choir.

  • When I Walk

    Filmmaker Jason DaSilva was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in late 2006. In "<a href="" target="_blank">When I Walk</a>," he documents the ups and downs of his declining body—and the occasional miracle.

  • <em>Next: Late Night Movies At VIFF 2013</em>

  • Antisocial

    <a href="" target="_blank">"Antisocial" trailer.</a>

  • Big Bad Wolves

    <a href="" target="_blank">"Big Bad Wolves" trailer.</a>

  • Borgman

    <a href="" target="_blank">"Borgman" trailer.</a>

  • A Field in England

    <a href="" target="_blank">"A Field in England" trailer.</a>

  • Halley

    <a href="" target="_blank">"Halley" trailer.</a>

  • Willow Creek

    <a href="" target="_blank">"Willow Creek" trailer.</a>

  • XL

    <a href="" target="_blank">"XL" trailer.</a>

  • <em>Next: VIFF 2013 Must See B.C.</em>

  • 3 Days In Havana

    In Havana on business, Jack Petty (Gil Bellows, who directs with Tony Pantages) finds himself mixed up in a conspiracy that includes assassination, kidnapping and more.

  • Cinemanovels

    Curating a retrospective of her late father's films, Grace embarks on a journey, but one without a clear destination. Directed by Terry Miles ("A Night For Dying Tigers", "When Life Was Good"), "Cinemanovels" is dedicated to the memory of Vancouver critic Ian Caddell.

  • The Dick Knost Show

    Tom Scholte plays a sports shock jock whose career looks set to implode over an inappropriate spat on Twitter in director Bruce Sweeney's latest.

  • From Neurons To Nirvana: The Great Medicines

    Oilver Hockenhull's documentary looks at how the classification of pychedelic drugs as Class A has limited the possibilities of science, medicine and consciousness.

  • Hue: A Matter Of Colour

    Veteran Canadian director Vic Sarin returns to VIFF with a documentary about identity, ethnicity and the bigotry and shame associated with skin colour.

  • Lawrence & Holloman

    Adapted from the play by Morris Panych, Matthew Kowalchuk's screen version (and his feature-length directorial debut) presents itself as part satire, part absurdist fable on the modern day rat race.

  • Leap 4 Your Life

    SFU grad Taylor Hill, wrote, produced and stars in this mockumentary about a teen dance group billed as "Step Up" with more bite. Not bad for a 23-year-old.

  • Oil Sands Karaoke

    Charles Wilkinson made the thought-provoking documentary "Peace Out" that screened at the Vancity Theatre earlier this year. Here, he continues to focus on environmental issues by turning his gaze to the tensions at play in Fort McMurray.

  • Salmon Confidential

    Anyone with even a passing interest in B.C.'s wild salmon stocks has heard of Alexandra Morton. Anyone with even a passing interest in democracy, science and food security will want to see Twyla Roscovich's damning documentary about how all three are under threat in B.C.

  • That Burning Feeling

    The directorial debut of award-winning producer Jason James stars Paul Costanzo as high flier Adam Murphy, whose life takes an unexpected turn when he gets.. that burning feeling.

  • Chi

    Anne Wheeler's documentary follows much-loved Canadian actress Babz Chula as she journeys to Kerala in an attempt to stave off the cancer eating away at her. On returning home to face an unstoppable disease, Chula invites Wheeler to document her story to the end.

  • Down River

    Benjamin Ratner's second feature was inspired by the loss of his friend and mentor Babz Chula. A film about companionship, inspiration and finding your own way in life, "Down River" is this year's Canadian Images gala screening at VIFF.