By William Wolf


Unlike film festivals at Cannes, Venice and Berlin, for example, the Toronto International Film Festival is not known as a competitive one in which gaining an award at the end is a prime objective. Yet the event does feature a number of awards that are given, which adds to the color, as it did at the 30th anniversary edition of this sparkling Toronto event.

The “People’s Choice Award” is unusual in that the festival audiences do the balloting. Those attending the various screenings are urged to cast their votes, and this year, when all were tallied, the 2005 award went to director Gavin Hood’s “Tsotsi,” which is based on South African writer Athol Fugard’s novel. The work is a beautiful story of a young man who has committed a crime but has his life turned around by a meaningful encounter and makes an effort at redemption. It is a powerful tale powerfully told, with good performances and plenty of tension.

The “Discovery Award,” which carries with it a cash prize of $15,000, went to the Australian film, “Look Both Ways,” directed by Sarah Watt. This one is voted on by the members of the press. This time around the press corps consisted of more than 750 critics and journalists representing media from many parts of the globe. Another international award is the “Fipresci Prize,” voted by critics belonging to a jury of the international organization of the same name. The winner this year was South Korean director Kang Yi-kwan for the film “Sa-Kwa,” which depicts the search for love by a woman who is emotionally distressed.

There is also the “Citytv Award for Best Canadian First Feature.” shared this year by Louise Archambault’s “Familia” and Michael Mabbott’s “The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico.” The “City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film” was won by “C.R.A.Z.Y,” directed by Jean-Marc Vallée “for its standout acting, its incredible emotional resonance and extraordinary visual inventiveness.” This award carries a $30,000 cash prize and is co-sponsored by the City of Toronto and Citytv.

A $10,000 prize attached to the Bravo!Fact Short Cuts Canada Award” went to “Big Girl,” directed by Renuka Jeyapalan “for the poignant portrayal of the complex issues facing single parent families and its skillful mix of drama and comedy, and for the nuanced performances of Kris Holden-Ried and Samantha Weinstein.” An honorable mention was given Andrea Dorfman’s “There’s a Flower in my Pedal.”

(More to Come)


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