“Antonia’s Line,” the dramatic 50-year-tale of a 90-year-old Dutch woman, received the top prize at the close of the 20th Toronto Intl. Film Festival Sept 17. Directed by vet filmmaker Marleen Gorris, the movie opens in North America in early 1996 via First Look Pictures and Cinepix Film Properties.
CFP’s Jeff Sackman lauded the film in accepting the Air Canada Award and cited the Sales Co., its rep, for clever positioning when it was screened in the Cannes market. The initial screenings were restricted to women.
The publicly polled top award at the festival named the unusual romantic thriller “Love Letters” from Japan runner-up; the Diane Keaton-directed “Unstrung Heroes” and Columbia/Castle Rock’s “The Run of the Country” tied for third place.
Additional prizes at the annual closing brunch were awarded by various juries. The Metro Media Award, polled by attending critics, cited Claude Chabrol’s Venice-preemed psychological thriller “A Judgment in Stone” as best of fest.
The six-member international critics Fipresci award for films in the First Cinema section split its prize between the social satire “Eggs” from Norway and “Desolation Angel” a stark urban American tale of revenge. Jury president Dan Fainaru noted that two films in the section – the Iranian “White Balloon” and “Manneken Pis” from Holland – were ineligible as they had won awards at earlier fests.
Juried cash awards went to Canadian shorts and features. In the shorts section, “Reconstruction,” an autobiographical examination by Laurence Green, received the John Spotten award, which includes $5,000 in cash and services from the National Film Board of Canada.
The Canadian feature prize – the Toronto CITY – provided another surprise with the citing of Bruce Sweeney’s “Live Bait,” a romance involving an older woman and younger man.