Nomadland, Michelle Latimer, Tiffany Hsiung Among TIFF Winners

Tiffany Hsiung’s Sing Me a Lullaby won the IMDb Pro Short Cuts Share Her Journey Award at TIFF 2020

By Pat Mullen

Michelle Latimer’s Inconvenient Indian and Tiffany Hsiung’s Sing Me a Lullaby are among the prize winners from this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Latimer won the Amplify Voices Award for Best Canadian Feature presented by Canada Goose. The Amplify Voices Award, formerly presented for Best Canadian Feature by Canada Goose, rebranded this year to acknowledge the three best feature films by under-represented filmmakers. (Which comprised nearly all features among the official selections.) Latimer received a $10,000 prize with the award. Inconvenient Indian adapts Thomas King’s acclaimed best-seller of the same name and offers a powerful examination of the representation of Indigenous communities in film, analyzing how representation intersects with larger social forces and systemic inequity. Read Marc Glassman’s review of Inconvenient Indian here. The other Amplify Voices winners were Night of the Kings by Philippe Lacôte and The Disciple by Chaitanya Tamhane.

“It’s an incredible honour to receive this support,” said Latimer in a statement. Latimer, who was also at the festival with the CBC series Trickster, plans to use the prize to pay-it-forward to additional filmmakers. “In the spirit of amplifying voices from within my community, I would like to share this award with five emerging Indigenous artists across cinema media disciplines. We will announce the five recipients by mid-October. I have been able to achieve my dreams because of the grace and generosity of people who believed in me along the way. I want to pay this forward by supporting emerging artists to help them have voice and create the change we wish to see in this industry.”

Inconvenient Indian also won the People’s Choice Award for Documentary. Chloé Zhao’s hybrid drama Nomadland won the overall People’s Choice Award. The win for Nomadland is historic and marks the first time that a film has won both the TIFF People’s Choice Award and the Golden Lion at Venice. The runners-up in the People’s Choice race were One Night in Miami, the feature directorial debut of actress Regina King, and Beans, Tracey Deer’s feature dramatic debut.

On the shorts front, Tiffany Hsiung won the inaugural IMDb Pro Short Cuts Share Her Journey Award. The prize, which honours a female filmmaker among the TIFF Short Cuts selections, brings a $10,000 bursary and a one-year membership to IMDb Pro. Hsiung’s film is an intimate work 15 years in the making as she charts her family’s journey to connect her mother with her birth mother in Taiwan. Read more about Sing Me a Lullaby in our interview with Tiffany Hsiung.

“I would like to acknowledge all the phenomenal women filmmakers in this year’s program and say thank you for doing the work that you do,” aid Hsiung in a statement. “Collectively, we are building a new future for the next generation of women filmmakers that will encourage and empower them to become fierce leaders in our industry. I also wish to express my gratitude to the short cuts programmers for inviting our film; the jury members for selecting Sing Me a Lullaby for this incredible award; and of course, the entire team and partners who worked tirelessly to make this film possible. This award is dedicated to my grandmothers and my mother.”

Additional winners include the dramas Beginning, directed by Dea Kulumbegashvili, which won the FIPRESCI prize and Gaza Mon Amour by brothers Tarzan Nasser and Arab Nasser with the NETPAC Award.

Visit the POV TIFF Hub for more coverage from this year’s festival.