The King’s Speech crowned at TIFF
The King’s Speech triumphed at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, scooping up TIFF’s coveted People’s Choice Award.
The film stars British actor Colin Firth as King George VI, who is next in line for the throne when his older brother (King Edward VIII) abdicates.
The King’s Speech follows the reluctant sovereign’s relationship and eventual friendship with Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (portrayed by acclaimed Aussie actor Geoffrey Rush), who helps him overcome a serious stutter.
“I am absolutely thrilled that The King’s Speech has won,” director Tom Hooper said in a message read out at the ceremony.
“The Toronto audience is such a great audience to watch the film with. I am so proud that people responded to the film in such a positive wayÖ. We are all really excited and honoured.”
Along with the bragging rights of being the public’s pick out of more than 300 films at the close of the 11-day festival, TIFF’s People’s Choice Award also comes with $15,000 cash and a glass-and-crystal trophy.
Over the years, the honour has also given winners a significant push into the year-end film awards season that leads up to the Academy Awards.
Recent TIFF People’s Choice Award-winners have included Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Slumdog Millionaire, Eastern Promises, Tsotsi and Hotel Rwanda.
Quebec stories nab prizes
Meanwhile, several stories from Quebec were among the other award-winners.
Veteran filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies earned the trophy for Best Canadian Feature, which carries a cash prize of $30,000.
Based on the acclaimed play by Wajdi Mouawad, the heart-wrenching family drama centres on twin siblings in search of their brother and father after the death of their mother. Villeneuve previously directed the multiple Genie Award-winning Polytechnique.
Debut director and screenwriter Deborah Chow’s The High Cost of Living captured TIFF’s Canadian First Feature Film prize, which comes with a $15,000 cheque.
Set in Montreal, the film stars Isabelle Blais and Zach Braff, formerly of TV’s Scrubs, in a dark drama about an unlikely relationship between an expectant mother and a drug dealer.
TIFF’s award for Best Canadian Short ($10,000) also went to a Quebec filmmaker: Vincent Biron for his Les fleurs de l’‚ge, which offers a brief peek into the lives of a group of schoolchildren one summer day.
Other awards include:
People’s Choice, Documentary: Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie, directed by Canadian filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson.
People’s Choice, Midnight Madness: the post-apocalyptic vampire tale Stake Land, directed by U.S. filmmaker Jim Mickle.
FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Discovery Prize: Beautiful Boy, U.S. filmmaker Shawn Ku’s drama following an estranged couple who discover their son is responsible for a campus shooting.
FIPRESCI Special Presentation Award: L’Amour Fou, the documentary about the late fashion design icon Yves St. Laurent and his partner, Pierre BergÈ, directed by France’s Pierre Thorreton.
As per tradition, organizers will offer a free screening of the main People’s Choice Award-winner ó The King’s Speech ó Sunday night.
The screening is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. local time at the Ryerson Theatre, with tickets distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning two hours before.
The King’s Speech crowned at TIFF