Sunday, September 18, 2011

TIFF Cadillac rides with Lebanese film

TORONTO – The 36th Toronto International Film Festival announced its award recipients at a reception at the Four Seasons Hotel today.
The Cadillac People's Choice Award, voted on by Festival audiences, goes to Nadine Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now?
Set against the backdrop of a war-torn country, it tells the heartwarming tale of a group of women’s determination to protect their isolated, mine-encircled community from the pervasive and divisive outside forces that threaten to destroy it from within. The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and custom award, sponsored by Cadillac. First runner-up is Asghar Farhadi’s "A Separation," and second runner-up is Ken Scott’s "Starbuck."
The Cadillac People’s Choice Documentary Award goes to Jon Shenk for The Island President. In this whirlwind political documentary, Mohamed Nasheed wins the presidency after a 20-year battle for democracy in the Maldives, only to face an unfathomable challenge: to save his island nation from rising seas. "The Island President" follows Nasheed as he takes the climate fight to backroom chambers of power in New York, London, Delhi, and finally into the fierce realpolitik of the Copenhagen Climate Conference. First runner-up is Bess Kargman’s "First Position," and second runner-up is Cameron Crowe’s "Pearl Jam Twenty."
The Cadillac People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award goes to Gareth Evans for The Raid. Starring Indonesian martial arts sensation Iko Uwais, the film follows a SWAT team that is trapped in a rundown Jakarta apartment block filled with heavily armed drug dealers and killers. First runner-up is Adam Wingard’s "You’re Next," and second runner-up is Bobcat Goldthwait’s "God Bless America."
The SKYY Vodka Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film goes to Nathan Morlando for Edwin Boyd. The jury remarked: "The SKYY Vodka Award for Best First Canadian Feature goes to a film that sets a tone, stays with it, and shows you what it is to be a soldier returning from war only to find that the world has no place for you. This is a film that puts a human face on a Canadian myth." Supported by SKYY Vodka, the award carries a cash prize of $15,000.
The jury gave a special citation to Anne Émond’s Nuit #1: "Anne Emond’s Nuit #1 was simple and raw. It reminded us of the power of two actors with incredible chemistry, a courageous filmmaker, and a dingy apartment. We can’t wait for Nuit #2."
The City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian Feature Film goes to Philippe Falardeau for Monsieur Lazhar. The jury remarked: "Very rarely does a film come along that does everything perfectly. At the end of this movie, my jury members looked at each other, with tears in our eyes. We came to a unanimous decision: the City Of Toronto Award for Best Canadian Feature goes to a film that explores loss, exile, and the truths we tell our children." The award carries a cash prize of $30,000.
The award for Best Canadian Short Film goes to Ian Harnarine for Doubles With Slight Pepper. The jury remarked: "Through the humble but moving story of a family in crisis, this film expresses truths that resonate in Canada and around the world. It is the debut of an exciting new voice from whom we hope to see a great deal more." The award offers a $10,000 cash prize. Honourable mentions go to Mathieu Tremblay’s "Of Events" (D'aléas), and Ryan Flowers and Lisa Pham’s "No Words Came Down."
All three Canadian awards were selected by a jury of film professionals. The feature film jury consists of actor Liane Balaban ("One Week," "Up In Cottage Country"); director Sturla Gunnarsson ("Force of Nature"); journalist/producer Denis Séguin ("How to Start Your Own Country"); and producer Gabriella Martinelli (Capri Films). The short film jury members are Sundance programmer Jon Korn; filmmaker and artist Srinivas Krishna ("My Name is Raj"); and Hot Docs Programming Manager Karina Rotenstein.
The Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for the Discovery programme is awarded to Axel Petersén for Avalon (Sweden). The jury remarked: "An assured, darkly humorous portrait of an affluent class in hedonistic self-denial, 'Avalon' marks the arrival of a promising new voice in Swedish filmmaking."
The Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Special Presentations is awarded to Gianni Amelio for The First Man (Le Premier Homme, France, Algeria, Italy). The jury remarked: "Gianni Amelio’s realization of an unfinished Albert Camus novel explores the legacy of colonialism with the tenderness of a memoir and the unflinching gaze of a war reporter."
The Festival welcomed an international FIPRESCI jury for the 20th consecutive year. The jury members consist of jury president Diego Batlle (Argentina), Carmen Gray (United Kingdom), Freddie Wong Kwok-Shiu (Hong Kong), Sam Adams (United States), Pascal Grenier (Canada) and John Semley (Canada).
TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit.

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