Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Toronto Film Critics Association names Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy the Best Canadian Film of the Year

Enemy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a Toronto college professor whose world is thrown into chaos when he becomes obsessed with a lookalike actor, has won the Toronto Film Critics Association’s 2014 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award.

The award was presented to director Denis Villeneuve by Deepa Mehta at a gala dinner held January 6, 2015 at the historic Carlu in downtown Toronto. Also nominated for the award were The F Word, directed by Michael Dowse, and Mommy, directed by Xavier Dolan. In attendance were prominent members of the film industry.

This is the third time Villeneuve has taken home the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, having previously won in consecutive years for 2009’s Polytechnique and 2010’s Incendies. The $100,000 value of the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award makes it the richest annual film prize in Canada. As runners-up, Dolan and Dowse each received $5,000 from Rogers Communications.

“All three Canadian finalists are Montreal directors, but their films could not be more different,” said TFCA President Brian D. Johnson. “With Enemy, Denis Villeneuve ventured onto David Cronenberg’s home turf and took no prisoners. By embracing this nervy psychodrama, our critics have plucked a dark gem from art-house obscurity and held it up to the light.”

“This award is a hat trick for Denis Villeneuve,” said Phil Lind, Vice Chairman, Rogers Communications Inc. “As one of this country’s most talented directors, Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy is another cinematic triumph. We’re thrilled to again acknowledge Canadian film excellence with this award.”

The evening’s host, TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey, introduced a videotaped acceptance speech from filmmaker Richard Linklater, whose remarkable character drama Boyhood took the TFCA’s 2014 awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette).

The Master’s Katie Boland and The F Word’s Tommie-Amber Pirie presented letters and videotaped acceptances from Best Supporting Actor winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Best First Feature director Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox) and Best Foreign-Language Film director Ruben Östlund (Force Majeure).

Tony-winning writer and actor Bob Martin presented the Manulife Best Student Film Award to Eui Yong Zong for Leftover, a drama about a North Korean family’s experiences as refugees in Toronto. The award carries a cash prize of $5,000, donated by Manulife to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism that is at the heart of student film-making and the power of storytelling in inspiring active citizenship. Manulife’s Martha Hancock, AVP Philanthropy and Sponsorships, Branding and Communications presented Zong with the cheque.

As previously announced, Piers Handling is winner of the Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award, which was presented at the event by Wayne Clarkson and Grace Carnale-Davis, Vice-President, Sales & Client Service – Technicolor Toronto. Under the pay-it-forward terms of the award, Technicolor donated $50,000 in services to a filmmaker of Handling’s choosing—Randall Okita, whose The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer was named Best Canadian Short at TIFF last September.

Albert Shin, whose feature debut In Her Place explores social mores in South Korea, received a cheque for $5,000 from Scotiabank as the winner of this year’s Scotiabank Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist. The prize was presented to Shin by Patricia Rozema and Rick White, Head of Marketing, Scotiabank Global Wealth and Insurance.

Jesse Moss was presented with a cheque for $5,000 by Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky and Joe Fresh’s President and Creative Director Joe Mimran. Moss is the director of the American sociological study The Overnighters, winner of this year’s Joe Fresh Allan King Documentary Award.

The TFCA is extremely grateful to founding sponsor Rogers Communications Inc. and welcomes new sponsor Joe Fresh. Thanks to returning sponsors Manulife, Scotiabank, Cineplex Entertainment, Technicolor Creative Services, Maclean’s Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Moët & Chandon, Shangri-La Hotel Toronto, The Carlu, North 44, MacLaren Craft and Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Previously announced winners for the 2014 TFCA Awards

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