Alanis Obomsawin | Photo by Scott Stevens

Alanis Obomsawin to Be Celebrated at TIFF Tribute Awards

Denis Villeneuve to receive Ebert Award

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4 mins read

Alanis Obomsawin will be honoured with the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media at this year’s TIFF Tribute Awards. TIFF announced the celebration of Alanis today via a release. The news follows the announcement that Obomsawin will receive a retrospective of her work this year’s festival.

Obomsawin is among Canada’s most significant and prolific artists. The Abenaki filmmaker is best known for her landmark documentary Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, which chronicles the tense 1990 standoff between members of the Mohawk tribe and Quebec police when the tribe erected a blockade in protest of land seizures for a local golf course. Obomsawin has directed 52 works and has an upcoming documentary about Senator Murray Sinclair, who chaired the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“This year more than ever, TIFF is delighted to come together and celebrate leading industry talent with the 2021 TIFF Tribute Awards,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head, in a statement from TIFF. “An exciting highlight of the Festival is a career retrospective of one of the most acclaimed Indigenous directors in the world, Alanis Obomsawin, entitled Celebrating Alanis. The Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media recognizes leadership in creating a union between social impact and cinema. As a gifted documentary filmmaker and impassioned storyteller, Alanis brings awareness to vital Indigenous issues and is widely recognized as a national treasure because of her extraordinary body of work. What is truly beautiful is that this year, we are celebrating two incredible filmmakers, both of whom have deep personal ties to this country and have contributed to our cinematic landscape in very unique ways.”

TIFF also announced that Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award. Villeneuve’s latest project is the highly anticipated adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune, which will have its world IMAX premiere as a special event at the festival. Villeneuve was nominated for Oscars as Canada’s Best International Feature for Incendies and as Best Director for Arrival. Last year’s TIFF Ebert Director Award winner Chloé Zhao won the Academy Award for Best Director.

“The TIFF Ebert Director Award recognizes filmmakers who have exemplified greatness in their career,” added Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head, in a statement from TIFF. “Denis Villeneuve’s many films, including Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, Sicario, Enemy, Prisoners, and Incendies, to name a few, and his upcoming epic adaptation of the seminal novel Dune, which he directed, co-wrote, and produced, are a testament to Denis’ boundless ability for authentic, passionate storytelling. There is no question Denis is an accomplished and outstanding filmmaker. He has a wonderful body of work and operates at an incredible level of excellence on the world stage. Over the years, Denis has brought many of his films to TIFF, so we feel a special closeness to him. It is wonderful to be celebrating his career at this time.”

TIFF also announced today that select press and industry screenings would be added to the festival at Cineplex Scotiabank now that American media may attend in-person due to the opening of the Canada-US border. The TIFF Tribute Awards will be broadcast on CTV and streamed internationally via Variety.

Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association.

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