40th Toronto International Film Festival

Canada, September 10 - September 20 2015

The jury

Engin Ertan (Turkey), Francisco Ferreira (Portugal), Alissa Simon (US), Kerstin Gezelius (Sweden), Chris Alexander (Canada), Pierre Pageau (Canada)

Awarded films

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which celebrated its 40th edition this year, once again presented an impressive line-up to its audience. This year’s program included two new sections as well. One of them, titled Primetime, focused on TV production. In this section episodes of new series like Casual (directed by Jason Reitman) or Heroes Reborn were presented. The six titles in the Primetime section included international productions as well, such as Trapped from Iceland (created and directed by Baltasar Kormákur).

The other new TIFF section is titled Platform and the festival describes it as a “juried programme that champions director’s cinema from around the world”. Even though the new Platform Award offers a C$25,000 cash prize as well, this new section isn’t exactly presented as a competition by the festival. A jury composed of Claire Denis, Agnieszka Holland and Jia Zhangke awarded the first ever Toronto Platform Prize to Alan Zweig for Hurt.

Other than these new sections and awards, the world premieres of highly anticipated studio films along with their stars on red carpet drew a lot of attention to TIFF as well. The festival continues to be an important awards season precursor with its premieres; this year’s line-up included Oscar hopefuls such as The Martian, The Danish Girl, Brooklyn, Room, Spotlight, and Beasts of No Nation.

TIFF is an important showcase for genre cinema from all over the world, especially with its trademark, horror-focused section Midnight Madness. At the same time another trademark section of the festival, Wavelengths, continued to bring the best in experimental cinema to the screen.

As in previous years, there were two FIPRESCI Prizes awarded at TIFF: One for a film from the Special Presentations section and one for a film from the Discovery programme. For the prize awarded in the Special Presentations section, our six-member jury focused on world premieres without North-American distribution. For the prize awarded in the Discovery programme, our jury focused on first and second feature films. Since both Special Presentations and Discovery are non-competitive sections, the selection of eligible films was made by the festival.

Our jury decided to award the FIPRESCI Prize for the Discovery programme to Eva Nová by Marko Škop “for exploring themes of humanity, dignity, addiction and redemption in a naturalistic, deceptively simple and non-exploitative manner.” The FIPRESCI Prize for Special Presentations went to Jonás Cuarón’s Desierto “for using pure cinema to create a strong physical sensation of being trapped in a vast space and hunted down by hatred in its most primal form.” (Engin Ertan, edited by Alissa Simon)

Toronto International Film Festival: www.tiff.net