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Scarborough and The Power Of The Dog were runners up for the festival's prize, voted on by audiences
Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast won the People’s Choice Award at the hybrid live and virtual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The film is a crowd-pleasing black-and-white period piece about the troubles in Northern Ireland told through a child’s eye, which made it an expected winner for a prize that once went to Jojo Rabbit. The previous winner of the prize, Nomadland, went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars, like so many TIFF People’s Choice winners before it.
The first runner-up for the People’s Choice Award is Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson’s Scarborough, the adaptation of Catherine Hernandez’s novel about people in the east end Toronto community supporting each other amidst trying circumstances. Jane Campion’s The Power Of The Dog, an exquisite western about toxic masculinity starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, was the second runner-up.
Scarborough didn’t go home empty handed. The film received the 2021 Changemaker Award, which goes to a film that tackles social change and comes with a $10,000 bag. Scarborough also got a special mention from the Amplify Voices Award for Best Canadian Feature Film. You can read our TIFF cover story interviews with the filmmakers here.
Manitoban filmmaker Rhayne Vermette’s debut feature St. Anne took the Best Canadian Feature prize. The TIFF jury singled out the impressionistic film’s “unique vision” and “emotional topography.” Somali-Finnish writer and director Khadar Ayderus Ahmed also nabbed an Amplify Award for The Gravedigger’s Wife, a beautiful love story set against harsh circumstances.
TIFF also announced that Indonesian director Kamila Andini’s Yuni, a coming-of-age story following a young girl feeling the world close in on her, won the Platform prize. Andini won the prize on her return trip to Platform, after being featured in the category with her film The Seen and Unseen at the 2017 festival.
The winners were announced on Saturday evening during the TIFF Tribute awards, which also honoured Night Raiders director Danis Goulet; Dune director Denis Villeneuve; The Eyes of Tammy Faye actor Jessica Chastain; The Power Of The Dog’s star Benedict Cumberbatch and cinematographer Ari Wegner; and special honoree Dionne Warwick who came to Toronto with her documentary Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over.
Earlier, TIFF announced that Anatolian Leopard won the The International Federation Of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) jury award. The Turkish dark comedy stars Uğur Polat as the director of a zoo who fakes the escape of an endangered animal, putting on a farce to protect the zoo from private companies.
The NETPAC award went to Mounia Akl’s Costa Brava, Lebanon, a speculative drama about climate change starring Nadine Labaki and Saleh Bakri as a couple protecting their limited green space from a corrupt government.
TIFF wraps up Saturday with the People’s Choice screening of Belfast at the Princess of Wales Theatre.