David Cronenberg and Guy Maddin win Awards at TIFF

The Toronto International Film Festival announced its award winners on Saturday, September 15 with co-directors Piers Handling and Noah Cowan handing out prizes on the closing day of the festival. Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg won the Cadillac People's Choice Award for the film EASTERN PROMISES. Cronenberg's crime film starring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, and Armin Mueller-Stahl, opened this weekend in New York and makes its Boston debut next Friday at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. There were two runners-up announced as well; Jason Reitman's comedy, JUNO starring Ellen Page, a favorite among Chlotrudis attendees, and Ellen Spiro's and Phil Donahue's documentary on the Iraqi War, BODY OF WAR.

On a side note, this year's People's Choice Award was poorly handled; possibly the single biggest gaffe I've ever seen in the generally well-run festival. At the beginning of each screening, volunteers pass out slips with the by-now-familiar-to-festgoers, voting ranks along the bottom. As festivalgoers are accustomed, at the end of the film you tear through the number that corresponds to the rank about how you enjoyed the film: 0 meaning poor, 4 meaning the best. The tearing eliminates the need for a writing instrument, which many people seeing a movie do not have. No instruction is given on the voting process; apparently it was assumed that feativalgoers would be familiar with this type of ballot and proceed accordingly. What a surprise, three days into the festival when Bruce was reprimanded by a volunteer about not having written the film's name on the slip! This was news to all of us, and made the whole tearing through the number irrelevant! Strangely enough, a couple of days later, volunteers were starting to announce, "Don't forget to write the name of the movie on your ballot." This surely hurt the voting, as many people couldn't be bothered and just skipped the voting process altogehter. Let's hope they get this right next year.

Another Chlotrudis favorite, Guy Maddin's MY WINNIPEG, took the CityTV Award for Best Canadian Feature Film. This amazing flim merges documentary and narrative, bringing together the best of Maddin's creative genius to tell the story of the Canadian city that is the heart of the heart of the country. IFC Entertainment has purchased the distribution rights for the United States, so watch out for its release!

The complete list of award-winners at TIFF follows:

Cadillac People's Choice Award:
EASTERN PROMISES, directed by David Cronenberg

FIPRESCI International Critics Prize:
LA ZONA, directed by Rodrigo Pla

Artistic Innovation Award:
ENCARNACION, directed by Anahi Berneri

Diesel Discovery Award:
COCHOCHI, directed by Israel Cardenas & Laura Amelia Guzman

CityTV Award for Best Canadian Feature Film:
MY WINNIPEG, directed by Guy Maddin

Toronto-City Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film:
CONTINENTAL, UN FILM SANS FUSIL, directed by Stephane Lafleur

Award for Best Canadian Short Film:
POOL, directed by Chris Chong Chan Fui