Anthropocene claims top Canadian honours at TFCA annual gala

Both Toronto and Vancouver critics revealed their winners Tuesday, with Edge of the Knife taking best Canadian feature out West and Anthropocene doing so in Ontario.

TFCA AwardsJennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky and Nicholas de Pencier’s documentary Anthropocene: The Human Epoch has won the Toronto Film Critics Association’s $100,000 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award.

Upon receiving the coveted award at the annual TFCA gala, the filmmakers revealed they would not be accepting the cash prize, instead choosing to split the money three ways: between the two other nominees, Sadaf Foroughi (Ava) and Sofia Bohdanowicz (Maison dubonheur), and TIFF’s Share Her Journey campaign.

“We had lots of legs-up at earlier stages of our career, and a lot of people in this room were responsible for those,” said de Pencier of the filmmakers’ decision to split the prize, which was presented by Don McKellar.

Anthropocene is the third film in a trilogy that also includes Watermark and Manufactured Landscapes, both of which have previously won the TFCA’s Rogers Best Canadian Film prize. The film has made around $400,000 at the Canadian box office since its release in September via Mongrel Media, and is scheduled to screen at Sundance later this month.

“Even though we’re veterans, every film is really hard to make creatively,” said Baichwal. “That’s the most compelling thing about it, and that’s why we love doing what we’re doing: because it’s still completely engaging and really difficult.”

The evening also saw writer-director Molly McGlynn, whose debut feature Mary Goes Round premiered at TIFF ’17, win the $10,000 Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist, and Genevieve Citron win the inaugural TFCA Emerging Critic Award.

Meanwhile, actor Tantoo Cardinal was presented with the Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement and history of Canadian cinema. Each year the winner chooses an emerging filmmaker to receive $50,000 in services, with Cardinal selecting Anishinaabe filmmaker Darlene Naponse as the recipient.

Over on the west coast, the Vancouver Film Critics Circle (VFCC) also announced its 2018 winners, with Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown’s Edge of the Knife claiming the award for best Canadian feature ahead of Andrea Bussmann’s Fausto and Katherine Jerkovic’s Roads in February.

Edenshaw and Haig-Brown’s Haida-language feature also won the prizes for best direction in a Canadian film, best B.C. film and best male actor in a Canadian film (Tyler York).

As well, Anthropocene received more accolades as it collected VFCC’s prize for best Canadian documentary, while Keith Behrman’s Giant Little Ones won best screenplay and Jerkovic was named as VFCC’s “One to Watch.”

In the acting categories for Canadian films, Arlen Aguayo Stewart (Roads in February) won the best female actor award, Aaron Read (When the Storm Fades) won best supporting male and Kayla Lorette (When the Storm Fades) won best supporting female.