Amid such high profile entries as Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, and Ben Affleck’s The Town, the period drama The King’s Speech entered the Toronto International Film Festival relatively low on buzz. Such is no longer the case, as the Tom Hooper-directed film just walked away from the fest with top honors: the “People’s Choice Award,” as voted by festival audiences. The King’s Speech stars Colin Firth as King George VI as he reluctantly assumes the throne despite a nervous stammer.
Other big winners include writer/director Shawn Ku for his work on Beautiful Boy, and the post-apocalyptic vampire flick Stake Land, honored with the “Midnight Madness Award” by audiences. Hit the jump for the official press release with the full list of winners.
AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN SHORT FILM
The award for Best Canadian Short Film goes to Vincent Biron for Les Fleurs de l’âge, which explores a summer day for a regular group of school kids. The jury remarked: “Director Vincent Biron manages to take a moment of an ordinary childhood summer and render unforgettable art from it. This gem of a film captured the jury’s hearts with its quiet, poignant, but also vivid and wonderfully sympathetic portrayal of ‘a day in the life’ of several children on the cusp of small but revelatory experiences of teenage life. The jury was stunned by the talent and originality we found in the short films selected this year. We hope there will be more venues and increased opportunities for the public to see these incredible films and shall be working toward this end.” The award offers a $10,000 cash prize and is supported by the National Film Board of Canada.
THE SKYY Vodka AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FIRST FEATURE FILM
The SKYY Vodka Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film goes to Deborah Chow for her compelling debut feature The High Cost of Living. Starting with a collision between unlikely characters, Deborah Chow’s The High Cost of Living maintains a compelling realism with a strong sense of emotional power. Eliciting inspiring performances from her perfect cast, and with a keen eye for subtle detail, Chow demonstrates exceptional maturity in this superbly directed debut feature. The award carries a cash prize of $15,000.
THE CITY OF TORONTO AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM
The City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian Feature Film goes to Denis Villeneuve for Incendies. In stories of immigration and war, one generation’s quest for closure and forgetting can conflict with the next generation’s search for identity. Denis Villeneuve takes a wrenching family drama and successfully navigates it through the brutality of a real life war with a breathtaking level of film making artistry. For its masterful telling of a complex story which spans cultures, continents, and generations, the City of Toronto Award goes to Incendies. Generously sponsored by the City of Toronto, the award carries a cash prize of $30,000.
CANADIAN FILM AWARDS JURY
All three Canadian film awards are selected by a jury of industry professionals. The feature film jury consists of writer/director Ruba Nadda (Cairo Time); filmmaker/producer Nick de Pencier (One Week, Four Wings and a Prayer); journalist and TFO veteran Lucie Amyot; and director Bruce Sweeney (Last Wedding, Excited). The short film jury members are Canadian documentary filmmaker and author Shelley Saywell (In the Name of the Family, Women in War); documentary producer, journalist and author Noah Richler (This Is My Country, What’s Yours); and writer and directorSudz Sutherland (Love, Sex & Eating the Bones, Doomstown).
THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF FILM CRITICS AWARDS (FIPRESCI PRIZES)
The Festival welcomed an international FIPRESCI jury for the 19th consecutive year. The jury members consist of jury president Lotfi Ben Khelifa (Tunisia), Madhu Eravankara (India), Janusz Wróblewski (Poland), Necati Sönmez (Turkey),
Pierre Pageau (Canada) and Alice Shih (Canada).
The Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for the Discovery programme is awarded to Shawn Ku for Beautiful Boy (USA). The jury remarked: “This film shows its audience that in a world of chaos and insanity, humanity is the only key to life.”
The Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Special Presentations is awarded to Pierre Thoretton for L’Amour Fou (France). The jury remarked: “This film portrays the poignant, emotional and cinematic expression of the life and times of an internationally renowned artist, exploring his stark loneliness and artistic overtones.”
CADILLAC PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
The Cadillac People’s Choice Award is voted on by Festival audiences. This year’s award goes to Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech (United Kingdom/Australia). The King’s Speech tells the story of King George VI. After his brother abdicates, George ‘Bertie’ VI (Colin Firth) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded nervous stammer and considered unfit to be King, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and custom award, sponsored by Cadillac. Runner-up is Justin Chadwick’s First Grader (United Kingdom).
The Cadillac People’s Choice Award presents a free screening of the Cadillac People’s Choice Award-winning film tonight. The screening takes place at 6 p.m. at the Ryerson Theatre. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first served basis beginning at 4 p.m. at Ryerson Theatre. For more information on this screening, visit tiff.net.
Cadillac People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award
The Cadillac People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award goes to Jim Mickle’s Stake Land (USA). In the aftermath of a vampire epidemic, a teen is taken in by a grizzled vampire hunter on a road trip through a post-apocalyptic America, battling both the bloodsuckers and a fundamentalist militia that interprets the plague as the Lord’s work. Runner-up is Michael Dowse’s Fubar II (Canada).
Cadillac People’s Choice Documentary Award
The Cadillac People’s Choice Documentary Award goes to Sturla Gunnarsson’s Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie (Canada). At 75 years old, David Suzuki shows no signs of slowing down. In this captivating documentary portrait, the passionate environmentalist’s legacy lecture is entwined with candid interviews in which he reflects on his life and shares deeply personal stories, revealing a side previously unseen. Runner-up is Patricio Guzmán’s Nostalgia for the Light (France/Germany/Chile).