38th Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: Day Eleven

Sunday, September 15th, 2013 by Ian Evans

The 38th Toronto International Film Festival is now one for the history books. The red carpets have been rolled up and the stars headed home. Just one piece of business left — the handing out of awards.

The YouTube Award for Best Canadian Short Film and a $10,000 cash prize, went to Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg’s Noah. The award jury said that, “This film is a commentary on the ephemeral, disposable, A.D.D. culture that many of us are consumed by and living in. It tells us a story in a way we’ve never seen before and it tells it well. It’s fresh, innovative, and had the remarkable ability to embody complex emotion through the simple gesture of a mouse.” Honourable mentions go to Kevan Funke’s Yellowhead, and Fraser Munden and Neil Rathbone’s The Chaperone 3D.

The City of Toronto + Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film was given to Alan Zweig’s When Jews Were Funny. The jury stated that, “For its deeply moving exploration of memory, identity and community and for its coherent and profoundly humourous representation of the personal as universal, the Award for Best Canadian Feature Film goes to Alan Zweig’s documentary When Jews Were Funny.” The award comes with a $30,000 prize. The jury also presented a citation to Jennifer Podemski, Cara Gee and Shay Eyre “For three generations of extraordinary, honest and courageous performances in Peter Stebbing’s Empire of Dirt.”

The Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film (and 15 grand) went to Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver’s Asphalt Watches, the jury saying that “For its ferociously audacious and excitingly original animated road trip across Western Canada that is like no other, the jury recognizes as Best Canadian First Feature Film the breathtakingly inventive Asphalt Watches.” Honourable mention went to Afflicted “for its technical mastery, polish, sense of fun and ability to scare the pants off us.”

The international FIPRESCI jury, attending the Festival for the 22nd consecutive year, also had some awards.

The Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI) for Special Presentations was awarded to Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida. The jury remarked: “The prize is awarded to Ida for a layered and humane exploration of issues of religious and personal identity. With its very original, austere yet poetic imagery it brings alive the gravity and grimness of history.”

The Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery programme was given to Claudia Sainte-Luce for The Amazing Catfish. The jury remarked: “Claudia Sainte-Luce shows a precocious, playful and poignant grasp of the fluid nature of family and the capability of the human heart under the most dire conditions for generosity, empathy and tenderness, in her vibrant debut The Amazing Catfish.”

For a 36th year, Toronto audiences were able to cast a ballot for their favourite Festival film, called the BlackBerry People’s Choice Award. In 2013, that award went to Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave.

The BlackBerry People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award went to Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell? The first runner up was Mike Flanagan for OCULUS and the second runner up was Alex de la Iglesia for Witching & Bitching.

The BlackBerry People’s Choice Documentary Award was awarded to Jehane Noujaim for The Square. In that category, the first runner up was Alanis Obomsawin’s Hi-Ho Mistahey! and the second runner up, Leanne Pooley’s Beyond the Edge.

Continuing the feel good award-giving, the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema, award the NETPAC Award for World or International Asian Film Premiere to Anup Singh’s Qissa. Jury members said that “The NETPAC Award for the best Asian film at Festival 2013 goes to Qissa, directed by Anup Singh, for its sensitive portrayal of the issues of identity and displacement that affect people not only in India, but in all parts of the world and for brilliance of cinematic craft and the choice of metaphor that has been employed to tell a moving story that is bound to provoke thoughts, spark debate and give its viewers an intense experience.”

The winner of the Grolsch Film Works Discovery Award, and a $10,000 prize, was Gia Milani’s All the Wrong Reasons.

The RBC Emerging Filmmakers Competition was won by Christoph Rainer’s Requiem for a Robot and earned the filmmaker a $20,000 grand prize. Honourable mentions went to Dan Popa for Tales of Santa Fe and Kevan Funk for Destroyer, each getting a $5,000 prize.

And that’s a wrap! See you next year!