By William Wolf


The Grolisch People’s Choice Award, the most popular in the just-concluded annual Toronto International Film Festival, has gone to “Room,” directed by Lenny Abrahamson. The film is an unusual drama in which a mother and son are confined to a tiny space, with drama building as to what living in such a tight, prison-like room means to both. The award is arrived at through the balloting of those attending the vast assortment of screenings. The honor includes a cash prize of $15,000 (Canadian currency, as with other cash prizes listed here).

The runners up were Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight,” a tense drama about how the Boston Globe newspaper exposed the cover up of sexual abuse by priests, and Pan Nalin’s “Angry Indian Goddesses,” promoted as India’s first female buddy comedy.

Another popular feature of the Festival—this was celebrated as its 40th annual—is the Grolsch Midnight Madness Award, won by Ilya Naishuller for “Hardcore,” built around the search for a kidnapped wife in Moscow. Runners up were Jeremy Saulnier for “Green Room” and Todd Strauss-Schulson for “The Final Girls.”

The Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award went to Evgeny Afineevsky for “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.”

The Festival, with more than 300 films on exhibition, bristles with an array of different type awards, which included:

Canada Goose Award for best Canadian Feature Film to Stephen Dunn’s “Closet Monster “—“For its confidence and invention in tackling the pain and yearning of the first love and coming of age of a young gay man in Newfoundland,” with a cash prize of $30,000.

City of Toronto Award for best Canadian First Feature Film to Andrew Cividino’s “Sleeping Giant” -–“For its sophisticated plotting, indelible characters and insightful critique of masculinity through a fateful rite of passage on the north shore of Lake Superior,” with a $15,000 cash award.

Short Cuts Award for Best Short Film to Maïmouna Doucouré’s “Maman(s),” with a $10,000 cash prize.

Short Cuts Awards for Best Canadian Short Film to Patrice Laliberté for “Overpass.”

Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery Program to Marko Škop for “Eva Nová.”

Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) for Special Presentations to Jonás Cuarón’s “Desierto.”

NETPAC AWARD for World or International Asian Premiere to Sion Sono for “The Whispering Star.”

DROPBOX DISCOVERY PROGRAMME FiLMMAKERS AWARD to Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah for “Black.”

TORONTO PLATFORM PRIZE, a new award to honor director’s cinema from around the world, to Alan Zweig for “Hurt,” with a $25,000 cash prize. Posted September 21, 2015.


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