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Danny Boyle's Mumbai-set Slumdog Millionaire won the Cadillac People's Choice Award as the Toronto International Film Festival wrapped its 33rd edition on Saturday. The award comes with a cash prize of $14,000 (C$15,000).
Accepting the award on behalf of Boyle, actress Freida Pinto saluted Mumbai, saying 'It was one of the most important players in the film.' Slumdog Millionaire will receive a free screening for the public tonight in Toronto.
Steve McQueen's Camera d'Or winner Hunger continued its winning ways, taking the Diesel Discovery Award as voted by the 1,000-member press corps, while the FIPRESCI prize for films screening in the Discovery section went to Derick Martini's Lymelife, starring Rory Culkin and Alec Baldwin. The film is executive produced by Martin Scorsese.
The FIPRESCI jury also gave a prize for Special Presentations to Steve Jacob's Disgrace, starring John Malkovich. (At the press announcement, jury president Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader conceded the jury had a vague mandate, in that the films eligible among the Special Presentations had to be world premieres without major distribution attached).
The City of Toronto-Citytv Award for Best Canadian Feature Film went to Rodrigue Jean's Lost Song, which the jury described as 'constantly surprising' and 'profound, masterful and devastatingly sad.' The prize is worth $28,000.
Atom Egoyan's Cannes competitor Adoration was presented with a special citation. As in previous years, it is generally acknowledged that the jury will recognize an outstanding newcomer and spare the likes of Egoyan or Cronenberg yet another trot to the podium.
The Citytv Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film went to Marie-Helène Cousineau and Madeline Piujuq Ivalu's Before Tomorrow. Executive produced by Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, the film is described as the third in a trilogy composed of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner and The Journals Of Knud Rasmussen. The award carries $14,000 prize. The jury offered a special citation to Lyne Charlebois' Borderline.
The members of the Canadian feature film jury were filmmaker and actor Sarah Polley, filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming, producer Michael Burns and Locarno Film Festival programmer Vincenzo Bugno.
The award for Best Canadian Short Film went to Chris Chong Chan Fui's Block B, while a special citation went to Denis Villeneuve's Cannes grand prizewinner Next Floor.
The award ceremony's finest moment came when TIFF co-director Piers Handling recognized the co-director Cameron Bailey's first edition in his new role. On taking the podium, Bailey commented, 'The cherry is officially popped.'