By William Wolf


The structure of awards, which are not the main point of the sprawling Toronto International Film Festival designed to showcase work to the people of Toronto and also provide a market, differ from such award-conscious events as the Cannes and Venice fests. The most coveted award in Toronto is the Cadillac People’s Choice Award, voted by audience members who attend the various screenings and cast ballots for their favorites.

This year the populist honor went to David Cronenberg’s “Eastern Promises” (See review), a compelling tale of a good-hearted midwife trying to save a baby from Russian gangsters in London. The award carries a $15,000 cash prize. Runners up were Jason’s Reitman’s “Juno,” followed by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro’s “Body of War.”

Numerous other prizes were given, including the CITYTV Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film, which went to Stéphane Lafleur’s “Continental, Un Film Sans Fusil for “singular vision, an economical and subtle beauty and a cinematic maturity that belies the director’s relative inexperience.”

The Toronto-City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film went to Guy Madison’s “My Winnipeg,” a portrait of the director’s hometown. The prize for Best Canadian Short Film was given to Chris Chong Chan Fui’s “Pool.”

The Diesel Discovery Award was presented to Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán’s “Cochochi,” and Anahi Berneri’s “Encarnación” was honored with the Artistic Innovation Award.

International critics attending the Festival also have a prize they bestow, the FIPRESCI Prize, which is given to an emerging filmmaker whose work is having its world premiere at the Festival. The honor went to Rodrigo Plá’s “La Zona.”


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