Room Wins Toronto Film Festival’s Grolsch People’s Choice Award

Posted by at 11:41 am on September 21, 2015


The 40th Annual Toronto International Film Festival comes to a close and they announced the winners in their annual awards, including the Grolsch People’s Choice Award, the FIPRESCI critics’ award, and the inaugural Toronto Platform competition.

Lenny Abrahamson’s Room won the coveted Grolsch People’s Choice Award, which has previously gone to movies that have won or been nominated for the Academy Awards’ Best Picture in previous years with previous people’s award winners being Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech and last year’s The Imitation Game. The runner-ups for the audience-picked award were Pan Nalin’s Angry Indian Goddesses and Thomas McCarthy’s Spotlight, which has also been receiving rave reviews since premiering at the Venice Film Festival.

Furthermore, TIFF offers a People’s Choice Award to a film in the popular “Midnight Madness” section, which this year went to Ilya Naishuller’s controversial action flick Hardcore, which sold to STX Entertainment for a reported $10 million just days ago. The runner-ups in that category were Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room and Todd Strauss-Schulson’s The Final Girls, both which already had distribution in place before playing at TIFF.

The FIPRESCI prize from the International Federation of Film Critics (which includes jury members from Turkey, Portugal, Sweden and Canada) was given to Marko Skop’s feature debut Eva Nova from the “Discovery” programme “for exploring themes of humanity, dignity, addiction and redemption in a naturalistic, deceptively simple and non-exploitative manner.” They picked Gravity co-writer Jonas Cuaron’s Desierto in the “Special Presentations” section “for using pure cinema to create a strong physical sensation of being trapped in a vast space and hunted down by hatred in its most primal form.”

The new “Toronto Platform” competition given to directors from around the world, selected by acclaimed filmmakers Jia Zhang-ke, Claire Denis and Agnieszka Holland, went to Alan Zweig for Hurt with honorable mentions to Gabriel Mascaro’s Neon Bull, He Ping’s The Promised Land, and Pablo Trapero’s The Clan. Zweig will receive a cash prize of $25,000.

Best Canadian First Feature went along with its $15,000 prize 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,” while Stephen Dunn’s first feature Closet Monster received Best Canadian Feature Film sponsored by Canada Goose, which receives a $30,000 prize, “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.” Philippe Falardeau’s My Internship received an honorable mention.

Short Cuts Awards went to Patrice Laliberté for Overpass as Best Canadian Short and Maïmouna Doucouré’s Maman(s) for Short Film with an acknowledgment to the performance by Sokhna Diallo in the latter.

Evgeny Afineevsky’s Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom about the formation of a new civil rights movement in Ukraine won the People’s Award for documentary feature with the runners-up being Avi Lewis’s This Changes Everything and Brian D. Johnson’s Al Purdy Was Here.

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