By Erin Eaton
The 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival concluded Sunday when crowd-favourite Silver Linings Playbook took home the $15,000 BlackBerry People’s Choice Award.
The People’s Choice Award is known to foreshadow Oscar success, with such films as American Beauty and Slumdog Millionaire previously winning the prize.
In director David O. Russell’s latest effort, Silver Linings explores the life of a former high-school teacher (Bradley Cooper) who returns to his family home after an extended period in a mental institution. He teams up with his troubled love-interest, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), in an attempt to overcome their emotional dysfunction.
Ben Affleck’s film Argo was named first runner-up. Second runner-up was Eran Riklis’ Zaytoun.
The best Canadian feature prize was awarded to 23-year-old Quebec filmmaker Xavier Donlan for his third feature, Laurence Anyways. His film beat out 32 other Canadian features shown in the festival.
Laurence Anyways observes a young couple facing considerable conflict when leading-man Laurence (Melvil Poupaud) confesses to being transgendered.
A teary Donlan accepted the $30,000 award, admitting that he feared the film would “be forgotten.”
Donlan now follows in the francophone footsteps of Philippe Flardeau’s Monsier Lazhar and Deni Villeneuve’s Incendies, the Canadian feature prize-winners of 2011 and 2010 respectively.
Actor, director and Humber film professor John Bourgeois told Humber News there’s no underestimating the importance of TIFF for Humber theatre and film students.
“For us, as for all culture watchers, it means that the city was buzzing with excitement and new possibilities.”
Bourgeois said he is particularly excited for first-year Humber theatre student Claire Mazerolle, who made her debut film performance in Laurent Cantet’s dramatic feature, Foxfire.
“Having an actor’s performance shown at TIFF means unprecedented exposure to the international limelight.”