The sweet drama, based on Branagh’s childhood in Northern Ireland, wowed Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson’s “Scarborough”, a tale of three low-income children who finished second, and Jane Campion’s revisionist western “The power of the dog ”, who finished third.
In his review of the TIFF film, TheWrap wrote: “Visually stunning, emotionally heartbreaking and gloriously human, ‘Belfast’ takes a short span of Branagh’s life and finds in it a coming-of-age story, a portrait of a city shattered in an instant and a deeply moving lament for what has been lost during decades of conflict in its homeland of Northern Ireland.
Other films competing for the award included “Dear Evan Hansen”, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and “The Guilty”.
In the 13 years since winning “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008, the TIFF winner has been nominated 12 times for the Best Picture Oscar and won this award five times, including “Nomadland” last year. But in the 30 years leading up to 2008, TIFF winners included just two Oscar winners and five other nominees.
This year the festival included both in-person and online screenings, but to be eligible for the Audience Award, a film had to have both types of screenings. Some of the festival’s hottest titles – including Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune”, Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho” and Pablo Larrain’s “Spencer”, as well as the Cannes hits “A Hero” and “Memoria” – chose not to have virtual screenings and were not eligible for the People’s Choice Award.
All votes for the prize were taken online.
In the documentary category, the winner of the People’s Choice was “The Rescue”, the film by E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin on the 2018 Thai cave rescue of a youth football team, with “Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over” and “Flee” taking finalist spots. In the Midnight Madness section, the winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or “Titane” beat “You Are Not My Mother” and “DASHCAM” for the first prize.
The winner was announced at the TIFF Tribute Awards on Saturday night. Also during this largely pre-recorded ceremony, actor Riz Ahmed, president of the Platform Prize jury, announced that the Indonesian film “Yuni” by Kamila Andini had won the prize for best film in this section of eight films. The Platform jury chose from a group of films that also included “Arthur Rambo” by Laurent Cantet, “Huda’s Salon” by Hany Abu-Assad and “Montana Story” by Scott McGehee and David Siegel.
Additional prizes were announced earlier on Saturday by the independent NETPAC and FIPRESCI juries. NETPAC, the Network for the Promotion of Cinema in Asia-Pacific, selected “Costa Brava, Lebanon” by Mounia Akl for its first prize, while FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics, chose “Anatolian Leopard By Emre Kayis.
The rewards :
Public Prize: « Belfast », Kenneth Branagh
First runner-up: « Scarborough », Shasha Nakhai et Rich Williamson
Second runner-up: “The power of the dog”, Jane Campion
Audience Documentary Award: “The rescue”, E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin
First runner-up: « Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over », Dave Wooley et David Heilbroner
Second runner-up: “Flee”, Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Prix du public Midnight Madness: “Titanium,” Julia Ducournau
First runner-up: “You are not my mother”, Kate Dolan
Second runner-up: « DASHCAM », Rob Savage
Platform Jury Prize: « Yuni », Kamila Andini
Honorable mention: “Mlungu Wam” (“Good Madame”), Janna Cato Bass
Shawn Mendes Foundation Changemaker Prize: « Scarborough »
Amplify Voices Award for Best Canadian Feature Film: « St. Anne », Rhayne Vermette
Special mention: « Scarborough »
Amplify Voices Award: “The Gravedigger’s Wife”, Khadar Ayderus Ahmed
Amplify Voices Award: “A night without knowing anything”, Payal Kapadia
IMDbPro Short Cuts Award for Best Film: “Moved,: Samir Karahoda
Mention honorable: “Trumpets in the sky”, Rakan Mayasi
IMDbPro Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Film: “Angakusajaujuq – L’apprenti du chaman”, Zacharias Kunuk
Mention honorable: “Pest bear”, Jack Weisman, Gabriela Osio Vanden
IMDbPro Short Cuts Share Her Journey Award: «ASTEL», Ramata-Toulaye Sy
Mention honorable: “Love, daddy”, Diana Cam Van Nguyen
NETPAC price: “Costa Brava, Liban”
FIPRESCI Prize: “Leopard of Anatolia”