BY RENU MEHTA
TORONTO: The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) presented the awards for the best films at this year’s festival at a special awards ceremony held on September 17 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. This year marked the 40th year that Toronto audiences were able to cast a ballot for their favourite Festival film for the Grolsch People’s Choice Award.
This year’s award went to Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and custom award, sponsored by Grolsch. The Festival presented a free screening of the film at Roy Thomson Hall at 6pm at Roy Thomson Hall.
The second runner-up award went to Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name and the first runner-up is Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya.
New this year, the Festival also presented a free screening of Toronto Platform Prize winner Sweet Country at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 17.
Announced by Piers Handling, CEO and Director of TIFF, and Cameron Bailey, artistic director of TIFF, the festival this year had 470,000 attendees watching 256 features and 84 short films out of which one third were directed by women.
IWC SHORT CUTS AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN SHORT FILM
The IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Short Film goes to Marc-Antoine Lemire’s Pre-Drink. The jury remarked the film “is a monumental yet intimate portrayal of a woman in transition. The 2017 Short Cuts jury honors Pre-Drink for Best Canadian short film.”
The award offers a $10,000 cash prize by IWC Schaffhausen.
IWC SHORT CUTS AWARD FOR BEST SHORT FILM
The IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Short Film went to Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s The Burden (Min Börda). The jury remarked, “Whimsical but tragic, imaginative and just plain weird, this is exactly what one can expect from a Scandinavian musical with fish in bath robes singing out their existentialist crisis. This is a film that stands out in this program and any film program it will ever be part of.” The award offers a $10,000 cash prize made possible by IWC Schaffhausen.
The jury gave honourable mentions to Matthew Rankin’s The Tesla World Light (Tesla: Lumière Mondiale) and Qiu Yang’s Xiao Cheng Er Yue (A Gentle Night).
CITY OF TORONTO AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FIRST FEATURE FILM
The City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film goes to Wayne Wapeemukwa’s Luk’ Luk’l. The jury remarked, “The award goes to a striking debut film that disrupts borders – of form and content and suggests new cinematic territories. This beautifully realized film offers a unique Canadian perspective, made with real compassion, insight and remarkable characters from Vancouver’s East Side.” This award carries a cash prize of $15,000, made possible by the City of Toronto.
The jury gave honourable mention to Sadaf Foroughi’s Ava.
CANADA GOOSE AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM
The Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film goes to Robin Aubert’s Les Affamés. The jury remarked, “This year the Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film goes to a hybrid art-house film that proved to be something of a revelation. Wonderfully scripted and perfectly cast, this film managed the rare feat of featuring genuinely interesting and well-rounded characters; surprising dramatic and comedic moments with well thought-out multi-generational female roles while, also dealing with poignant and contemporary issues, set against a striking rural backdrop and hundreds of ‘ravenous’ zombies.”
This award carries a cash prize of $30,000 and a custom award, sponsored by Canada Goose.
The jury gave honourable mention to Simon Lavoie’s The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches (La petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes).
THE PRIZES OF THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF FILM CRITICS (FIPRESCI PRIZES)
Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery programme was awarded to Sadaf Foroughi for Ava.
Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) for Special Presentations was awarded to Manuel Martín Cuenca for The Motive (El Autor).
As selected by a jury from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema for the sixth consecutive year, the NETPAC Award for World or International Asian Film Premiere went to Huang Hsin-Yao’s The Great Buddha+.
Jury members included jury chairperson Rashmi Doraiswamy (India), Jian Hao (China), and Savine Wong (Canada). The jury remarked, “The NETPAC Jury awards The Great Buddha+ for depicting the interface between the haves and have-nots, with black humor and style, innovating with noir in representing the social reality of Taiwan today.”
TORONTO PLATFORM PRIZE PRESENTED BY AIR FRANCE
The Festival welcomed an international jury who unanimously awarded the Toronto Platform Prize, presented by Air France, to Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country.
“This is a spiritual epic taking place in 1929 in Australia’s Northern Territory,” said the jury in a statement. “It is a great saga of human fate, and its themes of race and struggle for survival are handled in such a simple, rich, unpretentious and touching way, that it became for us a deeply emotional metaphor for our common fight for dignity.
Speaking about their deliberations, the jury added: “We saw 12 films from all over the world that took us into very different universes of the soul and to extremely different places on our planet. We were thankful to be able to see these films and we very much appreciated that actually exactly half of them were made by women. TIFF is leading the way, we feel.”
“As we only had one award to give, we had to be quite radical. We also limited ourselves to only one special mention, even if other films might have imposed themselves for best acting, writing or directing.”
Awarding a special mention to Clio Barnard’s Dark River, the jury said: “This film, deeply rooted in the Yorkshire countryside, convinced us, as its characters and actors, its photography, its story and its sense of place were all so much ONE, so utterly believable and controlled, that we were totally taken by it.”
The Toronto Platform Prize offers a custom award and a $25,000 cash prize, made possible by Air France.
GROLSCH PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS
The Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award went to Joseph Kahn’s Bodied. The second runner-up was Craig Zahler’s Brawl in Cell Block 99. The first runner-up went to James Franco’s The Disaster Artist.
The Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award went to Agnès Varda and JR’s Faces Places. The second runner-up was Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! The first runner-up was Long Time Running directed by Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas De Pencier.