Grant money grew, and so did the geyser of digital video. Toronto likely produced more frames per second per year than ever before. But I'll remember 2001 for the way every image paled before the pictures of September 11; for the passing of video artist and teacher Colin Campbell, who was the best of this city -- wise, generous and just ironic enough; and for these folks.1PHILIP HOFFMAN Hoffman understands how cameras film death with every frame. His retrospective at the Images festival showed his sophisticated fusing of craft and emotion, culminating in the premiere of What These Ashes Wanted, a bone-deep memory of his late partner, Marion McMahon.
2JIM ALLODI Allodi excels at what so many filmmakers try for and miss. He's a gifted writer and an understated actor who proves a natural ally for the audience. This year he released his first feature, The Uncles, and it turns out he can summon a rich, convincing world onscreen, too. Allodi's outstanding cast on The Uncles deserves special mention, especially Tara Rosling.
3MARK S. BONHAM A month ago I'd never heard of Mark S. Bonham, which says more about my money than his fame. Then the investment guru dropped a $750,000 gift on the Inside Out festival, and launched the $5,000 annual Mark S. Bonham Scholarship for Queer Studies in Film and Video. Earlier this year Bonham forked out $200,000 to create the Mark S. Bonham Teaching Endowment in Sexual Diversity Studies at the U of T. Hey, Bonham, how about some more big cardboard cheques for Reel World, Splice This!, Images....
4SARAH POLLEY There seems no end to Polley's skills. Her short drama I Shout Love brought a tight, smart form to a classic breakup story. And Polley directed Kristen Thomson to another standout performance. The film is dead funny, and harrowing in the matter-of-fact way life is. More, no doubt, to come.
5ROBERT KENNEDY Kennedy does heroic editing work for director Ron Mann, but out on the streets he's a Super8 star. This year he had a lavish retrospective at the Splice This! Super8 festival, while Dinky Menace, his brilliant tabletop satire, played at the Toronto Worldwide Short Film Fest.
6BLAH BLAH BLAH COLLECTIVE The 14 members include John Greyson, Ali Kazimi, b.h. yael, Kevin McMahon and Charles Officer, some of the most respected film and video artists in the city. They went to Quebec City for the Summit of the Americas protest, shot video, shared it and produced a collection of sometimes exceptional pieces. But here's the real achievement: they cared enough to go.
7karen king As a National Film Board producer, King is marshalling a whole new generation of films to the screen. This year they included Nisha Pahuja's Bollywood Bound and Alison Duke's Raisin' Kane, which won best documentary at New York's Urbanworld festival. What happened to the culture warriors of the 90s? Some moved inside and kept working.
8david rokeby Rokeby continues to push computer-based sound and image art way past clever. This year he installed Guardian Angel at InterAccess, as part of the Images festival. Besides showing surveillance on auto-pilot, it was also mesmerizing to watch.
9chris macdonald and karen tisch Hot Docs 2001 took over the whole College Street crawl. Between the programming and the marketing push, a week of world documentaries somehow became the hottest ticket in town. Kudos to head honchos MacDonald and Tisch, along with whoever else there is responsible for giving us back our national cinema.
10 tonya lee williams Williams gets mobbed in shopping malls because she's Dr. Olivia on Y&R. This year she added festival pioneer to her resumé, launching the Reel World event. The thing was first-year glitchy, but it made a dazzlingly bold move by setting up at a multiplex in Scarborough. And it turned the spotlight back on diversity, which had become so... politically incorrect.