The Toronto International Film Festival was first launched as the Toronto Festival of Festivals, collecting the best films from other film festivals around the world and showing them to eager audiences in Toronto. The dynamic event has truly evolved. In 2019, TIFF announced two new awards, the TIFF Impact Award to honour production companies for work that has had an impact on the film industry, and the Mary Pickford Award to honour an emerging female filmmaker. In the same year the festival introduced the TIFF Tribute Awards, a gala ceremony at which distinguished actors and filmmakers are honoured for their lifetime career achievements; unlike most award categories, the Tribute Award honorees are named in advance of the festival.
People's Choice Award
When it comes to the TIFF, all eyes were on the People’s Choice Award, which is frequently a bellwether for the Oscar race. The festival's People's Choice Award—which is based on audience balloting—has emerged as an indicator of success during awards season, especially at the Academy Awards.
Past recipients of this award include Oscar-winning films, such as Life Is Beautiful (1998), American Beauty (1999), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), The King's Speech (2010), 12 Years a Slave (2013), La La Land (2016), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), Green Book (2018), Jojo Rabbit (2019), and Nomadland (2020). That's a heck of a run for a festival of any kind.
For the past decade, every winner of the coveted award has gone on to receive a nomination for Best Picture. Competition for the People’s Choice Award was stiff, with critical darlings such as “Women Talking” and “The Banshees of Inisherin” vying for the top prize. But ultimately, Steven Spielberg’s crowd pleasing, semi-autobiographical film “The Fabelmans” was named the winner.
Spielberg was all smiles, “Above all, I am glad I brought this film to Toronto,” Spielberg said in a statement. “This is the most personal film I have made, and the warm reception from everyone in Toronto made my first visit to TIFF intimate and personal for me and my entire ‘Fabelmans’ family.” Spielberg is an iconic figure in the film industry with a resume among the most respected in its history. Spielberg co-founded the production company DreamWorks SKG with Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, and billionaire David Geffen, a year later.
Through the studio Spielberg released the critically acclaimed film "Saving Private Ryan" in 1998, winning that year's Academy award for best director.
Spielberg directed the science fiction thriller Jurassic Park, the highest-grossing film ever at the time, and the Holocaust drama Schindler's List (both 1993), described as one of the greatest films ever made. The people's choice documentary award goes to Black Ice by Hubert Davis, with 752 Is Not a Number and Maya and the Wave as runner ups. The midnight madness award goes to Weird: The Al Yankovic Story by Eric Appel, with The Blackening and The Pearl also getting runner-up mentions.
This year's jury, consisting of local legend Patricia Rozema, along with fellow filmmakers Iram Haq and Chaitanya Tamhane, awarded the Best film in the Platform programme and $20,000 cash prize to Riceboy Sleeps by Anthony Shim.
This critics' prize was awarded by Andrea Crozzoli, Márcio Sallem, Max Borg, Andrew Kendall and Toronto critic Marriska Fernandes to A Gaza Weekend by Basil Khalil.
What's the big deal about
the Toronto Film Festival?
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF, often stylized as tiff) is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world, attracting over 480,000 people annually. Since its founding in 1976, TIFF has grown to become a permanent destination for film culture operating out of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, located in Downtown Toronto. TIFF's mission is "to transform the way people see the world through film."
Year-round, the TIFF Bell Lightbox offers various screenings, lectures, discussions, festivals, workshops, industry support, and meetings with filmmakers from Canada and around the world. TIFF Bell Lightbox is located in beautiful downtown Toronto.
Other notable Awards
IMDB Pro Shortcuts
Top short film selection was presented to Snow in September. The best Canadian short went to Simo by Aziz Zoromba , while the Share Her Journey Award went to Nanitic by Carol Nguyen.
Canada Goose Amplify Voices Awards
A $10,000 cash prize was awarded to Canadian documentary To Kill A Tiger by Nisha Pahuja, and the Amplify Voices award goes to Leonor Will Never Die by Martika Ramirez Escobar and While We Watched by Vinay Shukla.
The prize awarded to Best Feature Film from the Contemporary World Cinema and Discovery programmes by an emerging Asian and/or Pacific Islander filmmaker by a jury headed by Dr. Ida Yoshinaga and joined with Diana Ashimova and another jury member selected Sweet As by Jub Clerc.
The Shawn Mendes Change Maker
The $10,000 prize for a film that promotes social change goes to Something You Said Last Night directed by Luis De Filippis.