My first TIFF has come and gone, and along with it, my first experience of Toronto and Canada. The one thing that really struck me about this festival is that it takes place in the heart of downtown Toronto, a bustling metropolis where people are concerned more with auditors than auteurs. Most of the festivals I have gone to are centred entirely around the movies being shown and activities around the line-up of films. It felt a little surreal to be passing people on the street in their business suits and with their laptop bags, while I was heading to a cinema. Usually in Cannes, I’m passing people on holiday, or at Sundance, most were all heading to a cinema of one or another too. Perhaps that’s another unique quality of TIFF – it certainly adds a certain kind of vibrancy to it.
Audience participation is another key part to this fest, and I found that to be another hallmark of this, and I couldn’t help but look at the faces next to me while watching movies like Argo, which had us all literally digging into the cinema seat, and Cloud Atlas, with its many whimsical scenes.
My favourite films of this festival were Argo, for its-edge-of-the-seat-gripping-storytelling, The Relucatant Fundamentalist, for the way it explored issues still pertinent to our times, The Master, for its captivating performances, and for pure fun, Much Ado About Nothing. Of course there were about 296 other films, of which I only saw a smattering.
Here, then, are the winners of the awards from the festival:
- Best Canadian Short Film – Deco Dawson, Keep a Modest Head.
- The City of Toronto + Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film – Xavier Dolan, Laurence Anyways.
- The SKYY Vodka Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film – Brandon Cronenberg, Antiviral and Jason Buxton, Blackbird.
- The Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Special Presentations – Francois Ozon, Dans la maison (In the House).
- Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery programme – Mikael Marcimain, Call Girl.
- The BlackBerry People’s Choice Award – David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook.
- The BlackBerry People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award – Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths.
- The BlackBerry People’s Choice Documentary Award – Bartholomew Cubbins, Artifact.
- The NETPAC Award for the Best First or Second Feature World or International Asian Film Premiere – The Land of Hope by Sion Sono.