TORONTO – ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch, a dramatic exploration of humankind’s devastating impact on environmental change, has won the Toronto Film Critics Association’s 2018 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award.
The award, the richest annual film prize in Canada, was presented to Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier by writer-director Don McKellar, whose Last Night was named the TFCA’s Best Canadian Film in 1998.
It was Baichwal’s third trip to the TFCA podium, previously winning Best Canadian Film forManufactured Landscapes in 2006 and the 2013 Rogers Best Canadian Film prize (with Burtynsky) for Watermark.
As runners-up, Maison du bonheur director Sofia Bohdanowicz (who won last year’s Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist) and Ava director Sadaf Foroughi each received $5,000 from Rogers Communications.
Hosted by TIFF Artistic Director and Co-Head Cameron Bailey, the ceremony took place at a gala dinner held January 8, 2019 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto with a cocktail reception sponsored by Cineplex Entertainment.
“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. “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.”
“This year’s three nominated films speak to the extraordinary range and international outlook of Canadian cinema,” said Rogers Vice-Chair, Philip B. Lind. “ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch presents a vision of environmental ruin on an unprecedented scale, with a profound and disturbing beauty. It’s a literal landmark and we are thrilled to celebrate its unique achievement.”
At the gala, Grace Lynn Kung (Frankie Drake Mysteries) and Jess Salgueiro (Mouthpiece) introduced a series of video acceptance speeches from winners, including Best Director Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), Best Actor Ethan Hawke (First Reformed), Best Supporting Actress Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) and Best Supporting Actor Steven Yeun (Burning).
Rick Mercer presented the $5,000 RBC Allan King Documentary Film Award for Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Morgan Neville’s affectionate look at the legacy reaching beyond the small screen neighbourhood created by TV’s Mr. Rogers.
Canadian television personality Traci Melchor presented writer-director Molly McGlynn with the $10,000 Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist.
In its mission to recognize new voices in film criticism, the TFCA gave Genevieve Citron the inaugural TFCA Emerging Critic Award. Citron is the creator and lead editor of The Film Atlas website.
Prolific actor Tantoo Cardinal was presented with the Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award by actress Tanaya Beatty (Through Black Spruce). Under the pay-it-forward terms of the award, Technicolor donated $50,000 in services to a filmmaker of Cardinal’s choosing — writer-director and video artist Darlene Naponse, whose film Falls Around Her, starring Cardinal, had its world premiere at TIFF 2018.
Richard Crouse, host of the CTV talk show Pop Life, welcomed prominent members of the film industry, civic and culture community on the red carpet, including producer J. Miles Dale, whose The Shape of Water won the Academy Award for Best Picture last year, producer-director Miranda de Pencier, producer-director Charles Officer, producer-director Barry Avrich, actors Tanaya Beatty, Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, Clark Johnson, Michaela Kurimsky, Grace Lynn Kung and Jess Salgueiro, Telefilm executive director Christa Dickenson, TIFF co-head Joana Vicente, Beth Janson, CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, Hussain Amarshi, founder and CEO of Mongrel Media and Toronto Mayor John Tory.
The TFCA is extremely grateful to founding sponsor Rogers Communications for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, to returning sponsors Labatt’s for the Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist, to Technicolor for the Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award, to Cineplex Entertainment for the awards cocktail reception. The TFCA welcomes new sponsors Air Canada as the official airline and RBC for the RBC Allan King Documentary Award. The TFCA also welcomes new sponsors the Four Seasons Hotel and Champagne Perrier-Jouët. The TFCA salutes stalwart supporters The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, Zoomer Magazine, and TAXI Toronto.
(Under the TFCA’s guidelines, contenders eligible for the awards include films released in Canada in 2018 plus films that qualify for the 2018 Oscars and have Canadian distribution scheduled by the end of February 2019.)
The Toronto Film Critics Association was established in 1997 and is comprised of Toronto based journalists and broadcasters who specialize in film criticism and commentary. All major dailies, weeklies and a variety of other print, electronic and web outlets are represented. Members of the TFCA also participate in the Federation of International Film Critics (FIPRESCI). As such, they have sat on juries at festivals in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, Montreal, Miami, Palm Springs, Chicago, Pusan, Moscow, Amsterdam, London and Vienna, among others.