Toronto Film Critics Association Names ‘Anthropocene’ Best Canadian Film

Aerial view of phosphor tailing ponds near Lakeland, Florida
Photo courtesy of Anthropocene Films Inc

By Pat Mullen

It’s three for three for Jennifer Baichwal, Nick de Pencier, and Edward Burtynsky! Anthropocene, the third installment of the trio’s environmental trilogy, won the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award at last night’s Toronto Film Critics Association gala. The film made triple crown winners of the team after the previous installments in the trilogy, Manufactured Landscapes and Watermark, won the prize for 2006 and 2013, respectively.

Accepting the award, Baichwal and de Pencier championed the hard work and dedication of emerging filmmakers and Canada’s documentary community. The team also announced that they would further their support for emerging filmmakers by splitting the $100,000 prize donated by Rogers with fellow nominees Sofia Bohdanowicz (Maison du Bonheur) and Sadaf Foroughi (Ava). Baichwal and de Pencier added that the Anthropocene team would donate its portion of the purse to TIFF’s Share Her Journey campaign, which raises funds to bolster the next generation of women behind the camera.

“All of the films honoured by the TFCA this year prompt us to think about the human condition and to reflect on the footprint we leave upon the planet,” said TFCA president Peter Howell in a statement from the association. “But Anthropocene: The Human Epoch does so with life-changing authority. It’s a clarion call to action, one that I hope leaves these awards to find a global reach and response.”

Last night’s gala, hosted by TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey at the Four Seasons, also featured the announcement of the first recipient of the TFCA’s emerging critic grant. The critics named Genevieve Citron the inaugural honoree. She received $1000 in support and will have her work featured on the TFCA website in addition to mentorship opportunities. The $10,000 Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist went to Molly McGlynn, whose first feature Mary Goes Round was a hit on the festival circuit. Prolific actor Tantoo Cardinal (Dances with Wolves) received the Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award in recognition of her outstanding career. The pay-it-forward style award allows Cardinal to select a filmmaker to receive $50,000 in production support from Technicolor and she presented her Falls Around Her director Darlene Naponse as the recipient.

Other winners included the previously announced RBC Allan King Award Documentary Award, which went to Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor?. Alfonso Cuarón’s exquisitely shot drama Roma scored the top prizes, winning Best Film and Best Director.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Best Picture: Roma
Runners-up: Burning, First Reformed

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Runners-up: Lee Chang-dong, Burning; Paul Schrader, First Reformed

Best Actor: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Runners-up: Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate; Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Best Actress: Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Runners-up: Regina Hall, Support the Girls; Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Supporting Actor: Steven Yeun, Burning
Runners-up: Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?; Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther

Best Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Runners-up: Emma Stone, The Favourite; Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Best Screenplay: (tie) First Reformed, Paul Schrader; The Favourite, Tony McNamara, Deborah Davis
Runner-up: Roma, Alfonso Cuarón

RBC Allan King Documentary Award: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Runners-up: Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, Free Solo

Best Animated Feature: Isle of Dogs
Runners-up: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Ralph Breaks the Internet

Best First Feature: Sorry to Bother You
Runners-up: Eighth Grade, Hereditary

Best Foreign Language Film: Burning
Runners-up: Cold War, Roma

Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award: Tantoo Cardinal

Rogers Best Canadian Film Award nominees: Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize: Molly McGlynn

Emerging Critic Award: Genevieve Citron