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Stellar Year For Festival Wraps With Awards

Toronto - With a final tally of 345 films (including 180 world and North American premieres) from 50 countries, unspooling over 10 days, the 27th Toronto International Film Festival wrapped on Sunday, September 15th with its annual Awards Brunch at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto.

AGF PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD
Sponsored by one of the Festival's major supporters, the AGF People's Choice Award is voted on by Festival audiences – known worldwide for their enthusiasm and love of cinema. The 2002 award goes to Niki Caro's WHALE RIDER, a beautifully realized story set in New Zealand that follows a young girl whose destiny is irrevocably bound with the cornerstone myth of her patriarchal tribe.

The runners up are Michael Moore's BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE and Gurinder Chadha's BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM. BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE takes a satirical and poignant look at America's gun culture. BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM follows a strong-willed and talented soccer-playing girl who must choose between her love for the game and the impositions of her disapproving family.

VOLKSWAGEN DISCOVERY AWARD
The press corps, which consisted of about 750 international media, voted on the Volkswagen Discovery Award. The recipient of the Volkswagen Discovery Award is the riveting THE MAGDALENE SISTERS, directed by Peter Mullan. The film depicts the living nightmare four young women endure after they are wrongfully condemned to an asylum by their families and the Irish Catholic church.

AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN SHORT FILM
The jury was composed of three Canadian filmmakers: Elida Schogt, Sarah Polley, and Pierre Hébert. The Award for Best Canadian Short Film, a $10,000 cash prize, was presented to Ann Marie Fleming's BLUE SKIES, "for its subtle, decisive and innovative way of conveying the complexity of human experience."

The Special Jury Citation was awarded to SHORT HYMN SILENT WAR directed by Charles Officer, "for its strong, emerging voice, that elicited a sense of urgency about its subject matter."

CANADIAN FEATURE FILM AWARDS
The Citytv Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film and the Toronto - City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film were selected by an international jury of industry professionals comprised of: Ellen Baine, Director of Programming, Citytv, Star!, FashionTelevisionChannel and SexTV: The Channel; Kyle Rae, City of Toronto Councillor; Anne Thompson, Senior Writer for Entertainment Weekly; Christoph Terhechte, Director of International Forum of New Cinema; and Canadian filmmaker Bruce Sweeney.

CITYTV AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FIRST FEATURE FILM
Established by sponsor Citytv, the award carries a cash prize of $15,000 and is presented to a Canadian filmmaker whose first feature film is considered exemplary. This award acknowledges the fresh new talent emerging within Canadian cinema.

The Citytv Award for Best Canadian First Feature goes to Wiebke von Carolsfeld's MARION BRIDGE, "for its precise realization and von Carolsfeld's direction of an expressive acting ensemble."

TORONTO - CITY AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM
Presented annually at the Toronto International Film Festival and generously co-sponsored by The City of Toronto and Citytv, the Toronto - City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film carries a cash prize of $25,000.

For "translating its character's interior mental state into extraordinary visual terms, the Toronto - City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film goes to David Cronenberg's SPIDER.

INDEPENDENT FILM CHANNEL VISIONS AWARD
The winning film was selected by a three-person jury made up of writer/director Alison Maclean (JESUS' SON); writer/director/producer Whit Stillman (BARCELONA); and Wayne Clarkson, Executive Director of the Canadian Film Centre.

The inaugural Independent Film Channel Visions Award is presented to RUSSIAN ARK, by master filmmaker Alexandr Sokurov. A technical tour de force, this stunning film moves through 33 rooms of Russia's St. Petersburg Hermitage in a single camera shot lasting 96 minutes. The award carries a cash prize of $20,000.

The jury awarded special citations to Fernando Meirelles' CITY OF GOD and Gus Van Sant's GERRY.

FIPRESCI PRIZE
For the eleventh consecutive year, the Festival welcomed an international FIPRESCI jury. This prize is annually bestowed upon a feature film directed by an emerging filmmaker and making its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The 2002 jury was comprised of Borislav Andjelic, Daily News Vercernje Novaste, Serbia (Jury President); Vanz Chapman, Word: Literary Calendar, Canada; Ronald Ockhuysen, De Volkskrant, The Netherlands; and Julie Rigg, ABC Radio National, Australia.

The FIPRESCI Prize is awarded to LES CHEMINS DE L'OUED directed by Gaël Morel (France) "for its political risk taking, for its power to disturb, for its portrait of the way protracted war destroys identity and the capacity of trust."


The Awards Brunch is generously sponsored by the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto.


The 27th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5-14, 2002.

For more information, please contact: Andréa Grau or Gabrielle Free at 416-934-3200.


THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL GROUP IS A CHARITABLE, CULTURAL, AND EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION DEVOTED TO CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE IN FILM AND THE MOVING IMAGE.


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