Toronto International Film Festival winners

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

TIFF awards
The Toronto International Film Festival is open to the public, and just about anyone can attend!

Apart from relaxing out in the yard or by the pool, the best thing about summer is getting the scoop on Hollywood’s upcoming movies from film festivals! Just last week, the Venice Film Festival said “arrivederci” to its attendants, and passed them over to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) held in Canada. The festival itself was founded in 1975, and since then has been considered one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the world. In fact, Time Magazine has gone as far as describing TIFF as “the most influential film festival, period.” Now, if TIFF is the top-tier of film festivals, then these next winners must be proud!

Director Steve McQueen snatched the top prize, the People’s Choice Award, for his film 12 Years a Slave. “At a festival that has shown so many brilliant films, I cannot be more thrilled to receive this award,” McQueen said in a statement following news of his award. “I am deeply grateful to all the people who have worked on this film, and that their amazing work has been recognized.” The film portrays the chilling story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. The film also garnered plenty of Oscar buzz for its main actors Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

The second biggest award, People’s Choice Documentary, was awarded to Egyptian-American director Jehane Noujaim. His documentary, The Square, gives the audience a ground-level look at the Egyptian revolution using recorded hand-held amateur footage of rioting protesters. By releasing this film, Noujaim hopes to open the eyes of other countries, and see the issues Egypt is facing. “To understand the revolution in a real way and to reflect on their own democracies. I’d hope [viewers] come out really challenging all the stereotypes they may have about the region and come out of the film and feel like they want to engage,” he said.

Now, it wouldn’t be the Toronto International Film Festival without a little Canadian pride, eh? Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver’s animated flick, Asphalt Watches, took the $15,000 prize for Best Canadian First Feature Film. In the flash-animated feature, two friends hitchhike across Canada and encounter menacing characters that disrupt their adventure. Ehman and Scriver explained that the crazy events are actually based on a true story they took together! Along with using their personal story for the plot, they also created the animation and provided the voices. Hm, I think the crazy adventures my friends and I take would make an awesome story, too. Maybe you’ll see me at next year’s TIFF!

Anyways, with Toronto closing its venues and Venice way out of the picture, there’s only one thing to do now… wait for the Oscars. Let’s see if any of these notable films live up to the Toronto hype and take home another award!

Images courtesy of TIFF Facebook.