by Gilbert Seah
The results are in:
In general this year had a super crop of films at both Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival.
The movement of increased women in films is working. I noticed than close to 50% of all the films I had seen at TIFF had a female protagonist, female director or strong feminine content.
At this year’s TIFF, I have seen a total of 70 feature films, and I have picked out the best of the 70 though I had not seen PARASITE or THE TRAITOR which wee on most critics top films list.
These are listed below in order of my picks.
1. Les Miserables
2. Sorry We Missed You
3. The Whistlers
4. So Long My Son
6. There’s Something in the Water
7. The Twentieth Century (also won the Canadian First Feature Award)
8. JoJo Rabbit (also won the People’s Choice Award)
9. Marriage Story
10. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Below are the TIFF Awards (and the paragraph preceding describing the jury).
The short-film awards below were selected by a jury comprised of Chelsea McMullan, Léo Soesanto, and Andrea Roa.
IWC SHORT CUTS AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN SHORT FILM The IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Short Film goes to Chloé Robichaud for Delphine. The jury remarked, “By presenting its main character’s unique point of view through another character’s perspective, Robichaud’s Delphine boldly utilizes an original narrative device to offer a refreshing twist on the coming-of-age genre. This evocative, mysterious, yet sensitive short film brings up powerful feelings of nostalgia and memory, leaving an impact that lingers with the viewer long after its all-too-short run time comes to a close.” The award offers a $10,000 cash prize, made possible by IWC Schaffhausen. The jury awarded an honourable mention to Theodore Ushev’s The Physics of Sorrow for its impressive filmmaking and detailed craftsmanship.
IWC SHORT CUTS AWARD FOR BEST SHORT FILM The IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Short Film goes to Lasse Linder for All Cats Are Grey in the Dark. The jury noted, “Blurring the line between narrative and documentary, Linder’s All Cats Are Grey in the Dark simultaneously observes its main character — and its topic — with both empathy and absurdity. This unexpectedly touching, exceptionally composed, and tender tale of a man’s love for his cats (along with the best employed use of Alexa) surprised the jury with its observational filmmaking and memorable feline performances.” The award offers a $10,000 cash prize, made possible by IWC Schaffhausen. The jury gave honourable mention to Federico Luis Tachella’s The Nap for its brave exploration of age and sexuality.
The Canadian awards below were selected by a jury comprised of Magali Simard, Devyani Saltzman, and Alicia Elliott.
CITY OF TORONTO AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FIRST FEATURE FILM The City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film goes to Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century. The jury remarked, “Rankin’s debut feature is superb in its imaginative wildness, taking an otherwise staid historical Canadian figure and propelling him into the heart of one of the most creative, visual, and compelling experiences of the Festival.” This award carries a cash prize of $15,000, made possible by the City of Toronto.
CANADA GOOSE ® AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM The Canada Goose ® Award for Best Canadian Feature Film goes to Sophie Deraspe’s Antigone. The jury said that “Antigone stands out on its own as an electrifying piece of cinema. Tackling with vigour contemporary realities of immigration in Canada through the framework of Greek tragedy, Deraspe created magnificent onscreen humanism. It is imperative to point out Nahéma Ricci’s performance, reminiscent of Renée Falconetti’s Jeanne d’Arc.” This award carries a cash prize of $30,000 and a custom award, sponsored by Canada Goose ® . The jury gave honourable mention to Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn’s The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open.
NETPAC AWARD Selected by a jury from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema (NETPAC), the NETPAC Award goes to Oualid Mouaness’ 1982. Jury members include Chairperson Beckie Stocchetti, Kanako Hayashi, and Albert Shin. The jury remarked that this film was selected “for its adventurous, imaginative style and subtle, confident filmmaking, bravely juxtaposing and framing the universal innocence and charm of youth within harrowing historical context.”
GROLSCH PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS
This year marked the 42nd 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 goes to Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit. The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and a custom award, sponsored by Grolsch. The first runner-up is Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story. The second runner-up is Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite.
The Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award goes to Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform. The first runner-up is Andrew Patterson’s The Vast of Night. The second runner-up is Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum.
The Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award goes to The Cave, directed by Feras Fayyad. The first runner-up is Garin Hovannisian’s I Am Not Alone. The second runner-up is Bryce Dallas Howard’s DADs.
TIFF is over for 2019. Preparations begin or 2020.