‘Amelie’ tops Toronto fest

'Maya,' 'Wedding' take second place

TORONTO — Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Amelie From Montmartre” took the AGF People’s Choice award in what was a subdued end to the 26th Toronto Intl. Film Festival in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the U.S.

“Obviously this has been a different festival,” a somber Piers Handling told a group of reporters in Toronto Sunday. “Like you, we struggle to understand the devastation in the United States coming from the events that happened a few days ago.”

Runners up were Digvijay Singh’s “Maya,” a stark coming-of-age film set in India, and Indian romantic comedy-drama “Monsoon Wedding,” from Mira Nair.

The Fipresci foreign press award went to the French tragi-comedy “Inch’Allah Dimanche,” from Yamina Benguigui, with special mention to “Be My Star,” an Austrian-German pic about teen romance from Valeska Grisebach and the Canadian film “Khalid,” in which an immigrant boy tries to hide his mother’s death, from Asghar Massombagi.

The Volkswagen Discovery Award from the accredited press at the fest went to “Chicken Rice War,” a romantic comedy from Singapore about two feuding families from director Cheah Chee Kong.

Cannes Camera d’Or prize-winner “Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner”), an Inuit film about a community divided by evil spirits directed by Zacharias Kunuk, took the prize for best Canuck feature, and Sean Garrity’s film “Inertia” won the award for best first Canuck feature. “Film (dzama),” from director Deco Dawson, won the NFB-John Spotton award for best Canadian short.

As of Sunday, fewer than a dozen of the fest’s attendees were unable to get home, said Handling. Many left on Friday and Saturday, some flying out after lengthy delays at the airport, while others rented cars to take them to New York City or Buffalo.

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