36th Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: Day Nine
September 16th, 2011 – by Ian Evans
Nick Murphy is all smiles as his film, The Awakening, has its gala premiere at Roy Thomson Hall. ©2011 DigitalHit.com. All rights reserved. Photographer: Ian Evans
Director Nick Murphy’s The Awakening is a horror film that stars Rebecca Hall as a hoax exposer in 1921 England who goes to a boarding school to help explain the appearances by a child ghost. Her debunking hits a wall when the ghosts start making themselves known to her. Murphy sees this not as a “haunted house” story but as a story set in a time when millions had died due to World War One and the Spanish Flu epidemic, two events which left emotional holes that people often filled with a need to believe in the supernatural.
Also at Roy Thomson Hall tonight was the gala premiere of Winnie, Darrell Roodt’s Winnie biopic that traces the life of Winnie Mandela, who is played here by Oscar® winner Jennifer Hudson. Winnie, who fought against apartheid with her husband Nelson (Terrence Howard) even after he was imprisoned for 27 years by the minority white government. The film traces her evolution into a more controversial figure who was later accused of supporting violence, murder and corruption and was eventually divorced by Mandela, their separation begin just two years after his 1990 release. Hudson was not available to walk the carpet, but Howard and Roodt, best known for Cry, the Beloved Country, did make their way down one of TIFF 2011’s last red carpets.