By William Wolf


The coveted 2014 Grolsch People’s Choice Award, chosen by the balloting of those attending the assortment of screenings covering some 300 films, has gone to “The Imitation Game,” directed by Morten Tyldum, and starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the British mathematician and scientist credited with breaking the Nazi Enigma Code in World War II by building an early computer version to aid in deciphering, thereby saving untold numbers of lives and helping to shorten the war. Tragically, Turing was later persecuted as a homosexual and committed suicide.

The honoring of “The Imitation Game” was one of the numerous awards given at the close of the 39th Annual Festival (September 4-15) and carried a $15,000 prize. The runner up in the people’s Choice competition is “Learning to Drive,” directed by Isabel Coixet and co-starring Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley. Second runner-up is “St. Vincent,” directed by Theodore Melfi and starring Bill Murray.

Another prized honor is the Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film. This year it goes to “Felix and Meira,” directed by Maxime Giroux. The prize comes with $30,000. The City of Toronto presents an award for Best Canadian First Feature film, this time giving it to Jeffrey St. Jules for “Bang Bang Baby,” coming with a cash award of $15,000.

TIFF is a festival rich in prize-giving. The Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award goes to Hajooj Kuka for Beats of the Antonov, about refuges from Sudan struggling to survive. There is also the Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award, which goes to Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement for “What We Do in the Shadows,” an example of the vampire genre.

Other prizes:

The Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema Award for World or International Asian Film Premiere—to Shonali Bose for “Margarita, with a Straw.”

The International Critics (FIPRESCI) for Special Presentations—to Oren Moverman’s “Time Out of Mind,” and for the Discovery Program—to Abd Al Malik for “May Allah Bless France!”

Vimeo Award for Best Canadian Short Film—To Randall Okita for “The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer.”

Vimeo Award for Best International Short Film—To Sotiris Dounouko’s “A Single Body.”

The awards were announced at a TIFF luncheon this afternoon at the Intercontinental Hotel. Posted September 15, 2014.


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