Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell has won the Toronto Film Critics Association’s CAD$100,000 Best Canadian Film Award.
The award, which was recently upped from $15,000, was presented to Polley for her debut documentary, a personal investigation into her family history, by Don McKellar at a gala dinner this evening (January 8).
“This unprecedented prize throws an invaluable spotlight on Canadian film. In a world where most cash arts prizes are voted by small juries of peers, it puts faith in a diverse group of fiercely independent critics,” said TFCA president and Maclean’s film critic Brian D. Johnson in a statement.
Denis Côté’s Bestiaire and Michael Dowse’s Goon were also nominated for the award. Côté and Dowse each receive $5,000 from Rogers Communications as runners-up.
Polley previously received the best Canadian film honor from the TFCA in 2006, for her narrative debut feature Away From Her.
Stories We Tell also received the TFCA’s 2012 Allan King Documentary Award, presented by Rick Mercer.
In other prize-giving, veteran director Bruce McDonald presented Ryerson University student Andrew Moir with the Manulife Financial best student film award. Moir received the $5,000 cash prize for his short documentary Just As I Remember, which focuses on the experience of two men with ALS.
And writer-director Patricia Rozema presented the Jay Scott Prize to emerging Toronto filmmaker Nicolás Pereda, a $5,000 cash award and the equivalent in post-production services.
Pereda, whose experimental films have screened at festivals worldwide, with six completed features at the age of 32 has already received a full retrospective at TIFF Bell Lightbox.