Docs

TIFF ’13: Zweig, Noujaim win top awards

When Jews Were Funny picked up the prize for Best Canadian Feature, while The Square (pictured) won the People's Choice Documentary Award at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
September 15, 2013

When Jews Were Funny picked up the prize for Best Canadian Feature, while The Square (pictured) won the People’s Choice Documentary Award at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

When Jews Were Funny, a documentary about Jewish humor from Canadian director Alan Zweig, was the surprise winner of the Best Canadian Feature award, beating out all eligible Canadian narrative works.

In taking to the stage to accept the CAD$30,000 (US$29,130) prize at TIFF’s awards brunch yesterday (September 15), Zweig joked: “I’ve been on juries, I know how these compromise wins happen. You guys are going to have a lot of explaining to do.”

He went on to add: “Basically, for the last couple months I’ve been walking around thinking that I’m making my worst film ever. And when it got into TIFF I was like, ‘Oh, this is horrible. My worst film ever at TIFF.’ I just made my best film, it was at Hot Docs, how come you couldn’t reverse things?”

Meanwhile, TIFF audiences chose to laud three female directors with the People’s Choice Documentary Award. Jehane Noujaim’s The Square took the prize, with Alanis Obomsawin’s Hi-Ho Mistahey! named first runner-up and Leanne Pooley’s Beyond the Edge named second runner-up.

For The Square, which follows protesters in Egypt, the victory marks a remarkable double – an earlier version of the film picked up the audience award for world cinema documentary at Sundance in January. In addition, the doc also received the Tim Hetherington Award at this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Taking to the stage to accept the audience award, Noujaim dedicated The Square‘s win to “people who are fighting relentlessly for their rights, even when there is no hope or light at the end of the tunnel” in Egypt. She also dedicated the prize to John Greyson and Tarek Loubani, who remain imprisoned in Egypt.

Finally, Neil Rathbone’s animated documentary The Chaperone 3D received an honorable mention in the Best Canadian Short Film Category.

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

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