TIFF 2019: Martin Eden wins the Platform Prize

The Toronto International Film Festival announces the first of this year's prize-winning features, including Heather Young's Canadian character study Murmur

Pietro Marcello’s Martin Eden has won the $20,000 Platform prize at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

The competitive Platform program – now in its fifth year, and the first since the departure of its founding curator Piers Handling – champions “bold directorial visions”. The jury, composed of Berlinale artistic director Carlo Chatrain, Variety film critic Jessica Kiang and filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari, selected Marcello’s adaptation of Jack London’s 1909 novel for “a thrilling and eloquent work of art that we agreed on unanimously and instantaneously.”

The jury also awarded honourable mentions to Kazik Radwanski’s Anne At 13,000 Ft., in which Deragh Campbell plays a Toronto day-care worker cracking under the strain of personal and professional crises, and Alice Winocour’s Proxima, which stars Eva Green as an astronaut torn between her family and her career.

Martin Eden will be screened for free at the TIFF Bell Lightbox at 12:15 pm Sunday (September 15). Tickets will be available at 10 am online, by phone and at the venue.

Marcello’s timely adaptation of London’s parable is a scathing exploration of the social conditions that encourage the working class to eschew socialism in favour of self-defeating political ideologies. Shot on Super 16mm and full of eye-popping colour, the film mixes in archival footage and pop music to create an ambiguous sense of time and place.

The movie is having a successful festival run. Luca Marinelli won the best actor prize at the Venice Film Festival and distributor Kino Lorber picked up the North American rights. It will be released theatrically in 2020.

The International Federation Of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) announced its winners as well: Heather Young’s Murmur, starring non-professional actor Shan McDonald as a troubled woman working at an East Coast animal shelter, won the group’s award for the Discovery program, while Coky Giedroyc’s How To Build A Girl, which stars Beanie Feldstein in an adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s 2014 novel, won the award for films in the Special Presentations program.

Further awards, including the various Grolsch People’s Choice winners, will be announced Sunday.

With files from Kevin Ritchie


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