TIFF Awards Given Out

Looking at the TIFF Awards

Handing out awards at a film festival is always a controversial and often-tedious exercise, where politics often has as large of a role in the decision-making process as the actual art of filmmaking. That being said, the awards handed out yesterday at the Toronto International Film Festival were quite deserving for the most part, despite the fact that I don't quite agree with most of them.

The full press release with all the award winners and honorable mentions is available on the TIFF website, but here's a quick look at what won and a few of my thoughts on each award.

Swarovski Cultural Innovation Award
This award went to Takva - A Man's Fear of God, and I'm pretty glad it did. Erkan Can's performance is inspiring, Takva is easily one of the best entires in the Visions programme. I would have liked to see some recognition for Rolf de Heer's Ten Canoes as well, but I won't argue with this one.

The People's Choice Award
Bella may have been a good choice for this award, but I'm still surprised. After all the hype over Borat, I seriously thought that it would contend for People's Choice. This probably demonstrates the fact that people who enjoyed Borat are probably the kind of people who don't vote for People's Choice. I would have given this award to Pan's Labyrinth, quite easily my favorite film at this year's festival.

Diesel Discovery Award
I'm not surprised that Reprise won, and to tell you the truth, it may have been the most deserving, but I am a little chuffed that 7 Ans wasn't getting any buzz for this award. Out of all the films in the Discovery programme, it was clearly one of the most interesting.

The Prize of the International Critics
This is the award that proves that the jury doesn't always get it right, and that buzz and politics is often more important than skill. Death of a President may have treaded on some controversial ground, and may have fused reality and fiction quite nicely, but it was in no way the best film at the festival. Pan's Labyrinth, again, was clearly better, and for a more jury-friendly choice, Apted's Amazing Grace or Almodovar's Volver could have been just as good.

Citytv Award for Best Canadian First Feature
I have no complaints in giving this one to Sur la Trace d'Igor Rizzi, though I did think Douglas Coupland's script in Everything's Gone Green could have pushed that one over the top.

Toronto-City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film
Most people could have easily predicted a win for Jennifer Baichwal's Manufactured Landscapes for this award just as the festival started, but I decided to skip out on the screening. Did I miss out? From what I heard, not really.

Short Cuts Canada Award
I am completely baffled by the fact that this award went to Giroux's Les Jours, because The Saddest Boy in the World is much more deserving. Did the jury actually watch any of Jamie Travis' films? That boy is bringing the life back into Canadian short film.

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