44th Toronto International Film Festival Coverage: Day Eleven

Sunday, September 15th, 2019 by Ian Evans

Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit courtesy of TIFF.

It’s the last day of the 2019 edition of TIFF and several films were honoured at an awards luncheon. Here’s a look at the winners with additional comments from the Festival’s press releases.


The IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Short Film went 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.


The IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Short Film went 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 City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film went 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.


The Canada Goose® Award for Best Canadian Feature Film went 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.


Selected by a jury from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema (NETPAC), the NETPAC Award went 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.”


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 went 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 Festival presents free screenings of Jojo Rabbit at TIFF Bell Lightbox tonight. Tickets are now available online, by phone, and in person. This screening is Rush eligible.

The Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award went 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 went 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.

The Toronto Platform Prize was presented at a reception at the Bisha Hotel, hosted by Joana Vicente, TIFF’s Executive Director and Co-Head. Pietro Marcello’s Martin Eden was chosen as the winner of the $20,000 CAD prize by the jury, which is comprised of award-winning filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari, Berlinale Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian, and international film critic Jessica Kiang. “Our main prize goes to a thrilling and eloquent work of art that we agreed on unanimously and instantaneously,” said the jury. “A politically and philosophically provocative story told with extraordinary cinematic invention and grace, this film reaffirms a faith that is easy to lose in 2019: that the cinema we know is an iceberg with nine-tenths still remaining to be discovered. This is a classic story told in a novel manner that dips below the surface to find highly unconventional, often archival modes of expression that are irreverent and anachronistic and yet that honour and participate in the history of cinema.” Additionally, the jury awarded two honourable mentions. One of the recipients is Kazik Radwanski’s Anne at 13,000 ft, which the jury highlighted as “a film that creates a horror-movie level of buzzing tension out of a mercilessly close-up, yet deeply compassionate portrait of an unstable young woman, brought unforgettably to life in Deragh Campbell’s riveting central performance.” The other honourable mention was awarded to Alice Winocour’s Proxima, which the jury considered “a beautifully down-to-earth, procedural approach to a story about the lure of space vying with the bonds of home, that is for once told from the point of view of a woman who does not apologize for finding as much joy in her vocation as in her family.”

Also the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Jury announced this year’s prize winners. The FIPRESCI Prize for the Discovery programme was awarded to Heather Young for Murmur, which the jury selected “for its impressive, minimalist, and precise storytelling — both in its structure and its use of static camerawork and framing — and for its empathetic and powerful simplicity in deconstructing the effects of an addictive personality.” The FIPRESCI Prize for the Special Presentations programme was awarded to Coky Giedroyc for How to Build a Girl. “Led by a performance by Beanie Feldstein, our winning film is a witty and heartfelt story of an irrepressible teenage girl who breaks into the snooty boys’ club of English rock criticism, loses her soul, and then gains it back again. Congratulations to How to Build a Girl,” said the jury.

And that’s a wrap on the 44th Toronto International Film Festival. See you next year!