Monday, September 19, 2011

Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF) awards - winners

Three Toronto-based filmmakers were the big winners at the 5th annual Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF).

Jackie English (NIMBY), Sam Lalonde (Whelm) and Che Kothari (FLIP HOP: che kothari x elicser x skam) took the top three awards of the festival as selected by guest judge Atom Egoyan who was present at the event. Egoyan also selected the winner of the Naish McHugh Award for Emerging Toronto Filmmakers. The $2,500 cash award went to writer/director/producer Richard B. Pierre for Fresh Start and was presented by Councillor Michael Thompson, Chair of the Economic Development Committee of The City of Toronto. The 10-day "underground" film festival closed yesterday with an awards ceremony held at The Drake Hotel.

In awarding the first place prize to filmmaker Jackie English, Egoyan said "NIMBY is droll, funny and captures what urban living is all about. It's an extraordinary work."

"Being around this much talent is inspiring," said TUFF Executive Director, Sharon Switzer. "I love being able to celebrate our 1-minute filmmakers. I'm already looking forward to next year."

The evening's honorable mentions went to Alison Davis (Winnipeg, Canada) for the animation Courtship and to Su Tomesen (Amsterdam, NL) for the split-screen video Dwelling. Other winners, chosen by jury members Angie Driscoll (CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival; Hot Docs) and Guillermina Buzio (Inside Out; Planet in Focus), included:
  • Best Animation - Mirroring Reality by Martynas Genkovas (Lithuania)
  • Honorable Mention for Animation - Cutters by Ahmet Serif Yildirim (Turkey)
  • Best Canadian Environmental Film - Relics by Chris Juraschka (Canada)
  • Most Ambitious Film by a Local Female Director - Woodland by Claire Bennett (Canada)
  • Toronto Lens Award - Little White Corvette by Shane Azam and Alex Bowron (Canada)
  • Poetic Toronto Award - In These Streets by Lila Karim and Michael Barry (Canada)
  • Jury Prize for Documentary - Shoeshop by Mai Phuong Pham and Ha Thanh Phung (Vietnam)
  • Jury Prize for Narrative - What if... by Autumn Schrock (United States)
  • Jury Prize for Experimental Film - Amoré by Juli Saragosa (Germany)
The Best Local Film Award was given to Terry O'Neill and Tara Cooper for Haircut, a narrative set in Toronto's Kensington Market. This is the third year the duo have submitted work to TUFF and their second win. Their prize includes a Film Launch Party package courtesy of The Drake Hotel, two all-access passes to CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival, a copy of Imagination Studio 3 (Sony Creative Software) and a 1-year subscription to STASH Magazine.

The most popular film of the festival, as determined by online votes, was In Bubble Trouble, directed by Iain Lew Kee from Toronto, Canada. She receives an Apple iPad 2 courtesy of TUFF and a 1-year subscription to STASH Magazine.

This year's prizes included over $20,000 in cash and in-kind products and services from: CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival, Earth Day Canada, Plant in Focus, Rattail Films, Shopper's Drug Mart, Sony Creative Software, STASH Magazine, Toon Boom Animation, Toronto Film Scene, Videoscope, Witz Education and Women in Film & Television Toronto (WIFT-T).

TUFF runs annually on the Onestop network of digital platform screens located in subway stations across the Toronto Transit System. The award-winning festival brings silent, 1-minute films to a daily audience of over 1 million commuters. Films can be viewed online throughout the year at

TUFF is co-produced by Art for Commuters and Onestop Media Group, and funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.

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