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TIFF 2015: Abrahamson’s “Room” Steals “Spotlight” with People’s Choice Award

While TIFF festival programmers naturally like to boast, and some in the biz certainly consider the fest’s People’s Choice Award as a good luck charm for Best Picture Oscar winner gold, the top ticket stub collecting nod certainly augments the prospects of a given film title and the A24 folks must be feeling pretty good about the title they invested in on early. With terrific buzz coming out from Telluride, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room appears to be covered in magic fairy dust. The Brie Larson starring imprisonment family drama would have not been crowned with the top TIFF Award if it weren’t for a last minute screening addition to replace the canceled public screening of Mathew Cullen’s London Fields. That Friday night showing cemented the win over Pan Nalin’s Indian film Angry Indian Goddesses (First Runner Up) and Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight (Second Runner Up).

In other TIFF award news, Alan Zweig’s Hurt (the only docu in the programme) won the inaugural Platform Prize award from the jury consisting of Jia Zhang-ke, Claire Denis and Agnieszka Holland, the People’s Choice Award For Documentary went to Evgeny Afineevsky’s Telluride and Venice
 preeming docu Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom while the buzziest and biggest pick-up title at the fest in Ilya Naishuller’s Hardcore walked away with the Midnight Madness aud award. Here are all the winners:

People’s Choice Award: “Room,” directed by Lenny Abrahamson
People’s Choice Award For Documentary:
 “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” directed by Evgeny Afineevsky
People’s Choice Award For Midnight Madness: “Hardcore,” directed by Ilya Naishuller
Best Canadian Feature Film:
 “Closet Monster,” directed by Stephen Dunn
Special Citation, Canadian Feature Film: “My Internship in Canada,” directed by Phillippe Falardeau
Best Canadian First Feature Film: “Sleeping Giant,” directed Andrew Cividino
Prizes of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Special Presentations Section:
 “Desierto,” directed by Jonas Cuaron
Prizes of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Discovery Section:
 “Eva Nova,” directed by Marko Skop
Discovery Programme Filmmakers Award: “Black,” directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah
NETPAC Award For Best Asian Film: “The Whispering Star,” directed by Sion Sono
Best International Short Film: “Maman(s),” directed by Maimouna Doucoure
Best Canadian Short Film: “Overpass,” directed by Patrice Laliberte
Platform Prize: “Hurt,” directed by Alan Zweig

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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