TIFF ’15: “Winter on Fire,” “Hurt” win awards

The 40th edition of TIFF came to a close with Evgeny Afineevsky's Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom and Alan Zweig's Hurt (pictured) picking up the People's Choice Doc Award and Toronto Platform prize, respectively.
September 21, 2015

The 40th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) came to a close on Sunday (September 20) with Evgeny Afineevsky‘s Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom winning the People’s Choice Documentary Award.

The film chronicles the Ukrainian uprising in Kiev’s Independent Square that saw the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych. The doc examines the formation of a new civil rights movement that took place over 93 days of revolt through street protests and battles.

Avi Lewis‘s environmental doc This Changes Everything was named first runner-up, while Al Purdy Was Here, Brian D. Johnson’s portrait on the late Canadian poet Al Purdy, was named second runner-up.

Meanwhile, Alan Zweig‘s Hurt (pictured) was honored with the festival’s inaugural Toronto Platform Prize, which went to a film demonstrating a strong directorial vision in the global-facing competition.

Hurt was the single Canadian film and only documentary to screen in the new program and chronicles the trajectory of Montreal-born Steve Fonyo from national hero – after successfully completing a cross-Canada cancer run in  1985 – to an outcast mired in years of legal troubles and drug addiction.

The competition’s jury was comprised of filmmakers Jia Zhang-ke, Claire Denis and Agnieszka Holland. The award offers a cash prize of CAD$25,000 (US$18,862).

Honorable mentions were given to Gabriel Mascaro’s Neon Bull, He Ping’s The Promised Land, and Pablo Trapero’s The Clan.

As told exclusively to realscreen, Zweig has already begun shooting a sequel documentary set to follow Fonyo on the recovery and rehabilitation process following a home invasion that resulted in his near-fatal stabbing. The sequel has been commissioned by Super Channel though further details remain under wraps.

“While we were making Hurt, I had the feeling that everything was unfolding as it was supposed to, and that was a good feeling. But this prize, particularly from this jury, is something I never let myself imagine,” said Zweig in a statement. “I would say that this prize is too much, but I fear they’d take it away.”

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.