#TIFF20: TIFF TRIBUTE AWARDS HIGHLIGHTS
By Mr. Will Wong
The 2020 TIFF TRIBUTE AWARDS, now in its second year, took place tonight virtually and were aired on CTV. Hosted by eTalk’s newest addition Co-Anchor Tyrone Edwards and Chloe Wilde, the Awards in the absence of an in-person gala this year, were comprised of taped introductions and speeches from recipients in five categories.
Recipients tonight included Director Mira Nair at TIFF ’20 with A SUITABLE BOY; Terence Blanchard who scored Regina King‘s acclaimed TIFF ’20 selection ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI; Tracey Deer who directs this year’s BEANS; Sir Anthony Hopkins who stars in THE FATHER at the Festival; Director Chloé Zhao, at the Festival with NOMADLAND; and Kate Winslet who stars in very buzzed AMMONITE.
Presenters and speakers on the broadcast included: Regina King, Martin Scorsese, Delroy Lindo, Colin Farrell, Rosamund Pike, Ava DuVernay, Jodi Foster, Olivia Colman, Brie Larson, Jason Reitman and more.
Performing Stevie Wonder‘s Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s in Need of Love Today“, Toronto’s Shawn Mendes appeared on the broadcast announcing that his Shawn Mendes Foundation will launch an annual Changemaker Award for Filmmakers making film with a social message.
Frontline workers from Toronto area hospitals also have been invited to attend special screenings of some of the Festival’s marquee Films like CONCRETE COWBOY as a special gesture of thanks for their hard work amidst these challenging times.
Those honoured tonight and some memorable quotes:
TIFF IMPACT AWARD – MIRA NAIR
Nair: “When I work, it feels like fun. Thanks TIFF for an award to have my fun and the extraordinary privilege to make Cinema. To know my fun and art have made change which is a beautiful feeling. If we don’t tell our stories nobody will, but more so in this, I’ve learned the great power of listening and being porous.”.
TIFF VARIETY ARTISAN AWARD – TERENCE BLANCHARD
Blanchard: “I’m humbled by this entire experience. My life in Film has been one of growth and expansion for decades. I originally set-out to be Jazz performer but being in this realm has expanded my creative ability beyond my belief. I love Toronto and have been coming many years. To get award from place I love so much, warms my heart.”.
TIFF EMERGING TALENT AWARD – TRACEY DEER
Deer: “I’ve wanted be Filmmaker since I was 12 and now I’m living my dream come true. Thank you my community… and the biggest thanks to my mother who told me when I was a girl that I can do whatever I want and not let anyone get in my way. My mother is always right and this is something indigenous kids need to hear. Their voices are important and we need to create an environment they can feel safe in and I put out a challenge to do all we can to make it better for them.”.
TIFF TRIBUTE ACTORS AWARD – SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS
Hopkins: “I’m astonished I’m still in work at my age. I want to thank front-line workers and first responders around the world. This award is yours. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Have a great day, have a great life.”.
TIFF EBERT DIRECTOR AWARD – CHLOÉ ZHAO
Zhao: “I’m so amazed by the hard work TIFF has done putting a festival together, to help us take a break from all the craziness this year. It’s incredible what you have done. One most important takeaway I have from my four films is that when I entered the industry I felt it was competitive and didn’t know anyone. If I fail or make mistakes, I carry this with me for a long time. I feel lucky people I work with are there when I succeed and when I fail. Would like to share this with them.”.
TIFF TRIBUTE ACTOR AWARD – KATE WINSLET
Winslet: “It does feel odd to get an award in a time like this. Since I am able to say few words., I’d like to offer my deepest sympathies to families and individuals whose lives forever have been altered over the past six months. I commend TIFF for keeping the poignancy of storytelling alive. Even more so as we piece together this world and everything happening in it. However minor my thoughts might be, my feelings are heartfelt that we can return to a healthier reality with kindness and respect regardless of race, gender, beliefs or sexual orientation.”.
More on the Awards here.
(Photo credit: TIFF)
By Mr. Will Wong
All eyes are on Chloé Zhao who debuted at TIFF ’17 with The Rider, topping several best-of lists that year. While her work on Marvel’s The Eternals is on its way to us, sophomore effort NOMADLAND comes with high hopes and she does not disappoint.
The Film centers on Fern (Frances McDormand), a widow whom after the economic crash in 2008, loses her home and lives a content life free to roam as a nomad. Not yet able to retire, she lives out of her sometimes reliable van, taking-on odd jobs as a means of survival. Once a supply teacher, she now takes on temporary work at the Amazon warehouse for a bit. She works as a host at an RV park for a while, among other one-off gigs. She is our eyes and ears into this little-known about world travelling place to place with no destination, meeting several fascinating people along the way, who also live the nomadic life and through Fern, we learn their stories as well. These characters, played by non-actors give the Film an earthiness and soul that feels so authentic and Fern blends right into the world.
The story we want to know most about though is why she chooses this way of life with no benefits to take care of her should she fall ill and not knowing if she has enough money to cover repairs on her van. While at times appearing uncomfortable, she never once complains about the life. And at once when offered a choice to settle down and live comfortably a few times throughout the Film, she never takes them. If anything, she appears even more like a fish-out-of-water dwelling in the world of others. She is enigmatic and McDormand effortlessly draws us into Fern‘s way of life, which is comprised of constant moving parts.
Zhao not only directs, but adapts Jessica Bruder’s Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century and the Film feels very much like a Documentary and we are just a fly on the wall. The Rider Cinematographer Joshua James Richards teams-up with Zhao once again, capturing breathtaking landscapes and Fern as part of them, so exquisitely. Visually, Nomadland has an understated sense of style yet a comforting familiarity to it.
Ludovico Einaudi‘s piano-driven Score is soothing and complements the imagery perfectly.
The Film is about surviving and living one’s own truth and while very much a quiet piece, it is a thought-provoking one.
NOMADLAND screens at TIFF ’20 as follows:
Fri, Sep 11
RBC Lakeside Drive-In at Ontario Place
Sat, Sep 12
Online at Bell Digital Cinema
#FIRSTLOOK: CHLOE ZHAO’S “NOMADLAND” TO PREMIERE AT TIFF ’20
Chinese-born and L.A.-based Filmmaker Chloé Zhao won accolades with 2017’s The Rider and since then has signed-on to direct Marvel’s The Eternals. Coming next is her Film, NOMADLAND starring and produced by Frances McDormand which will be doing the Festival rounds at at the New York, Venice and Toronto International Film Festival. The latter two will premiere on September 11, 2020. Telluride also will be hosting a special Drive-In Screening in lieu of their Festival being cancelled this year.
NOMADLAND marks the first project between Zhao and Searchlight and the fifth between McDormand and Searchlight. McDormand won an Oscar for her performance in Martin McDonagh’s film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which Searchlight released globally in 2017. Zhao adapted NOMADLAND from journalist Jessica Bruder’s 2017 non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century following McDormand and producer Peter Spears’ acquisition of the literary adaptation rights shortly after publication. The film follows Fern (McDormand), a woman who, after the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The film features real nomads Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.
Searchlight Pictures release NOMADLAND this Fall.
(Photo credit: Searchlight Pictures)