×

A ‘Whale’ of a tale in Toronto

N.Z.-Teuton pic wins festival's choice honor

TORONTO — The 27th Toronto International Film Festival wrapped Sunday with the People’s Choice Award, chosen by fest auds, going to “Whale Rider,” a New Zealand-German co-production.

Pic, helmed by Niki Caro (“Memory and Desire”), is an adaptation of the 1987 novel by Maori author Witi Ihimaera about a girl struggling against her patriarchal New Zealand community.

Special mention for the award went to Michael Moore’s culture-jamming “Bowling for Columbine,” and Gurinder Gadha’s soccer-playing-girl film, “Bend It Like Beckham.”

The 11th annual FIPRESCI prize, selected by a jury of international critics, went to “Les Chemins de l’oued” (“Under Another Sky”), in which Samy (Nicolas Cazale) escapes a hit-and-run car accident by going off to stay with his family in Algeria.

Canuck award to ‘Spider’

The Toronto City award for best Canuck feature went to David Cronenberg’s psycho-thriller “Spider,” starring Ralph Fiennes. Best Canadian First Feature, a C$15,000 ($9,600) prize, went to Wiebke von Carolsfeld’s “Marion Bridge,” the Molly Parker starrer about three sisters coming together over the care of their dying mother.

The inaugural Visions award, an Independent Film Channel-sponsored prize for filmmakers who “push the boundaries of contemporary cinema,” went to “Russian Ark,” a Russian-German co-production from Alexandr Sokurov. The film is a single 96-minute shot moving through 33 rooms in Russia’s St. Petersburg Hermitage. The three-person jury also awarded special citations to Fernando Meirelles’ “City of God” and Gus Van Sant’s “Gerry.”

This year’s Discovery Award, selected by the international media, went to the U.K.-Ireland co-production “The Magdalene Sisters,” from Peter Mullan, about a group of young women, circa 1964, who are forced to live in an Irish Catholic convent. Miramax picked up rights for the Venice Golden Lion winner during the fest.

‘Skies’ a winner

The award for best Canadian short went to Anne Marie Fleming’s “Blue Skies,” with a special jury citation to Charles Officer for “Short Hymn Silent War.”

Fest director Piers Handling kicked off the awards presentation by expressing his relief at the positive energy in the room. “I think that everyone wanted closure for the festival and they didn’t get it last year,” he said, referring to the tragedy of Sept. 11, which scuttled the 26th festival and loomed large on the minds of attendees well into the 27th.

“There is a different tone this year, more respectful at every level,” he added.

Close to 350 films were screened over the festival’s 10 days in 20 cinemas. “It is clear there were some problems with the press screenings that we will work on,” an understated Handling told the audience, referring to crowding that prevented some reviewers from attending important screenings such as Todd Haynes’ “Far From Heaven.”

Miramax picking up rights to the Juliette Binoche starrer “Jet Lag,” Lions Gate taking “Irreversible,” and Strand Releasing buying rights to the Italian-language thriller “Gasoline.” United Artists took North American rights to the Chinese pic “Together.”

More Film

  • Themba Ntuli and Ashley Lazarus

    Ashley Lazarus, Director of Apartheid-Era Cult Classic, Returns to Screen

    DURBAN–Director Ashley Lazarus, whose film about the interracial friendship between two young boys during the apartheid era became a South African cult classic in the 1970s, is set to return to the big screen with a film that builds on his life-long passion for early-childhood education. “Teacher Wanted” is the inspirational story of a teacher [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum's Free Association Partners With Atwater Capital for Film Development Fund

    Free Association, a production company led by Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan and Reid Carolin, has entered into a film development fund with Atwater Capital. The four-year $2 million revolving fund stipulates that Atwater will finance a minimum of five films with Free Association. Michael Parets, VP of production, will oversee the deal. Free Association will [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Box Office: Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Takes on 'Lion King'

    Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” will have to take on much more than a changing showbiz landscape. This weekend, the washed-up actor and his majordomo are battling Disney’s juggernaut “The Lion King” at the domestic box office. Tarantino’s R-rated auteur [...]

  • Margot Robbie Once Upon a Time

    Margot Robbie Says 'Barbie' Movie Will Put 'Positivity' Into the World

    Over the last 10 years, Margot Robbie has stepped into the skates of Tonya Harding, taken up the mantle of Harley Quinn and, next up, she’s playing the world’s most famous doll, Barbie. The live-action film is due out in 2020 and set to be written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, while Robbie serves [...]

  • 2018 NALIP Gala

    National Association of Latino Independent Producers Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

    Ben Lopez has seen the future of the entertainment industry, and says it is the Latinx community. “In the next 20 years, we’re going to be prioritized — because not only will we have the numbers demographic-wise, we’ll have the spending power,” says Lopez, the executive director of the National Assn. of Latino Independent Producers, [...]

  • 'Patrick Melrose' TV show premiere

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy to Star in 'Louis Wain'

    Benedict Cumberbatch (“Avengers: Endgame”) and Claire Foy (“The Crown”) are set to star in “Louis Wain,” a biopic of the prolific English artist who rose to prominence at the end of the 19th century. “Louis Wain” will start shooting on Aug. 10 with BAFTA-nominated Will Sharpe (“Flowers”) directing the film, which was written by Sharpe [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content