You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toronto: Fest’s First Jury Members Set New Path

Throughout its 40 years, the Toronto Intl. Film Festival has billed itself as a non-competitive, audience-skewing festival — and been championed as such by filmmakers and industryites — with its People’s Choice award the marquee prize.

But on Thursday at the Elgin Theatre, festival CEO and director Piers Handling and artistic director Cameron Bailey introduced a brand new concept: Platform, a competitive program of 12 international films by emerging or mid-career directors. Handling also introduced the inaugural international jury of filmmakers that will award the Platform Prize of CAN$25,000 ($18,000) on Sept 20.

Acclaimed filmmakers Jia Zhang-ke, Claire Denis, and Agnieszka Holland, who comprise this year’s jury, are old friends of the festival, which has screened most, if not all, of their feature pics over the years.

On Thursday, after a red-carpet walk and onstage intro, they watched the world preem of Platform opener “Land of Mine” (Martin Zandvliet’s fact-based story about teenage German soliders sent to remove German landmines from the Danish west coast after WWII) with the audience and left at the start of an extended standing ovation.

As jury discussion heats up — Diasteme’s “French Blood” and Eva Husson’s “Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)” screened Friday, Joachim Lafosse’s “White Knights” Saturday afternoon — the audience experience may at least inform the jury’s debates. (Each Platform film has its first screening for public, press, and industry at the Elgin.)

“When I sit in the audience I feel what the audience is feeling,” said Denis at an intimate media conference on Friday morning. “The audience may not reflect what I am feeling at that moment, but I think it is very important.

“We all make films, so we have judgments about our own work,” continued Denis, currently co-writing her next film, an English-language science-fiction feature, with novelist Zadie Smith. “But as an audience member, I want to be surprised, and to be taken to a part of my emotions that I didn’t expect.”

“I always hope that a film will bring a closer understanding of the world around us and society,” said Jia, whose “Mountains May Depart” is screening in Special Presentations. “Another wish is for the film to offer the possibility of a new film language, and for new cinema to emerge.

“At the same time, this process is like dating,” he joked. “You see all 12 and then you know which one you fall in love with … of course, I will be in trouble if I fall in love with six!”

While many similar competitions offer one or more runner-up prizes, the Platform jury has a singular vision. “There is one prize only, we’ve been told,” said Holland. “This gives us a special responsibility, and we will respect that. And it also makes this award very special, as well.

“Every jury is different, and so the important thing is to be in the moment,” she added, noting that, as the inaugural jury, the process will evolve as they see more films and establish rapport.

“This is not a party,” said Denis of the jury process, although she and the others did say they expect some discussion will no doubt happen over drinks. “This festival is about being part of the world—and films, I think, are the best way to feel part of the world.”

Jia commented that Toronto is a city filled with immigrants: “You see the reflection of the world in this city, and also the reflection of cinema today at the festival. In 10 days I will see 12 films and I can’t wait to start.”

More Film

  • ABA_062_DAU_0060_v0409.87501 – Rosa Salazar stars as

    Box Office: 'Alita: Battle Angel' Wins Dismal President's Day Weekend

    Fox’s sci-fi adventure “Alita: Battle Angel” dominated in North America, but its opening weekend win isn’t leaving the box office with much to celebrate. Tracking services estimate that this will be one of the lowest grossing President’s Day weekends in years. “Alita,” the cyberpunk CGI spectacle, earned $27 million when it debuted in 3,790 locations [...]

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Oscars Placeholder

    Make-Up and Hair Stylist Guild Applauds Academy's Stance on Airing Every Oscar Winner

    Rowdy boos were followed by triumphant cheers at the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles, as the Hollywood union touched on a week of controversy over a reversed decision to hand out four Oscars during the show’s commercial breaks. Hair and makeup was one of the four categories that would [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler to Perform on the Oscars (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at the Oscar ceremonies on Feb. 24, Variety has learned. Midler, a longtime friend of composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman, will sing the song originally performed by Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns.” The song, by Shaiman and his lyricist partner Scott Wittman, is one of five [...]

  • Olmo Teodoro Cuaron, Alfonso Cuaron and

    Alfonso Cuarón Tells Why His Scoreless 'Roma' Prompted an 'Inspired' Companion Album

    Back around the ‘90s, “music inspired by the film” albums got a bad name, as buyers tired of collections full of random recordings that clearly were inspired by nothing but the desire to use movie branding to launch a hit song. But Alfonso Cuarón, the director of “Roma,” is determined to find some artistic validity [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content