TIFF ’17: Les Affames wins best Canadian film

Wayne Wapeemukwa's Luk' Luk'l won best Canadian first feature, while the FIPRESCI jury awarded Sadaf Foroughi for her debut film Ava.
Les Affames

Robin Aubert’s Les Affamés and Wayne Wapeemukwa’s Luk Luk’I were two of the Canadian films to take home awards at the close of the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday.

Les Affamés was awarded the Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film, with the jury calling the zombie art-house flick “something of a revelation” and particularly calling out its “well thought-out multigenerational female roles (who were totally badass).” TIFF senior programmer Steve Gravestock accepted the $30,000 award on behalf of Aubert. The jury also gave an honourable mention to Simon Lavoie’s The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches. 

The City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film was presented to Wayne Wapeemukwa’s Luk’ Luk’I. Accepting the $15,000 prize, Wapeemukwa commented that the film has proven to be divisive. “I’ve been called exploitative, bold, opportunistic, talented, prejudiced and caring,” he said. The feature follows the lives of five Vancouverites living on society’s fringes during the 2010 Olympics, with many of its lead characters playing themselves. Wapeemukwa said the prize money would be split between development for his next film and his lead cast. “I’m going to continue making films which split people, because now more than ever our strength will come from our diversity.”

The jury also gave an honourable mention to Sadaf Foroughi for her debut feature Ava. The film, which follows an Iranian teen whose relationship with her family is challenged, went on to win the Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery programme. The FIPRESCI Special Presentations prize went to Manuel Martín Cuenca for The Motive (El Autor)

The third annual Platform Prize, selected by an international jury and which comes with a $25,000 cash award, went to Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country. The film is set in Australia’s Northern Territory in 1929 and follows an Aboriginal stockman accused of murder. Upon accepting the award, Thornton, an Indigenous filmmaker, said, “We make films especially about our past because a lot of our past has been written by colonizers.

“[This film is] the truth that I needed to get out there, not only to Australia but to the world.”

Elsewhere, the Grolsch People’s Choice Award, voted upon by festival audiences, went to Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, while the people’s choice for best doc went to Agnès Varda and JR’s Faces Places. Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas De Pencier’s Tragically Hip doc Long Time Running was the first runner-up for the award. Meanwhile, the Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness award went to Joseph Kahn’s Bodied. The award was accepted by the film’s Toronto-born writer Alex Larsen.

On the shorts side, the IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Short Film went to Marc-Antoine Lemire’s Pre-Drink, with Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s The Burden (Sweden) winning the award for best short. Both come with a $10,000 prize.

Lastly, the Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema (NETPAC) Award for World or International Asian Film Premiere was awarded to Huang Hsin-Yao’s The Great Buddha+.

Image courtesy of TIFF