The Toronto International Film Festival announced today that award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer, singer, and activist Alanis Obomsawin and Academy Award–nominated French Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve are the first recipients of 2021 TIFF Tribute Awards. Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, made the announcement. Obomsawin will be honoured with the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media Award and Villeneuve will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award. The 2021 TIFF Tribute Awards will take place during the 46th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs September 9–18, 2021.
“This year more than ever, TIFF is delighted to come together and celebrate leading industry talent with the 2021 TIFF Tribute Awards,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head, TIFF. “An exciting highlight of the Festival is a career retrospective of one of the most acclaimed Indigenous directors in the world, Alanis Obomsawin, entitled Celebrating Alanis. The Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media recognizes leadership in creating a union between social impact and cinema. As a gifted documentary filmmaker and impassioned storyteller, Alanis brings awareness to vital Indigenous issues and is widely recognized as a national treasure because of her extraordinary body of work. What is truly beautiful is that this year, we are celebrating two incredible filmmakers, both of whom have deep personal ties to this country and have contributed to our cinematic landscape in very unique ways.”
“The TIFF Ebert Director Award recognizes filmmakers who have exemplified greatness in their career,” stated Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head, TIFF. “Denis Villeneuve’s many films, including Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, Sicario, Enemy, Prisoners, and Incendies, to name a few, and his upcoming epic adaptation of the seminal novel Dune, which he directed, co-wrote, and produced, are a testament to Denis’ boundless ability for authentic, passionate storytelling. There is no question Denis is an accomplished and outstanding filmmaker. He has a wonderful body of work and operates at an incredible level of excellence on the world stage. Over the years, Denis has brought many of his films to TIFF, so we feel a special closeness to him. It is wonderful to be celebrating his career at this time.”
The TIFF Tribute Awards honour the film industry’s outstanding contributors and their achievements, recognizing leading industry members, acting talent, directorial expertise, new talent, and a below-the-line artist and creator. The Awards also serve as TIFF’s largest annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s year-round programmes and core mission to transform the way people see the world through film. This year’s event will raise funds for TIFF’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative and champion a safe, community-focused and inspiring return to cinemas. The 2021 TIFF Tribute Awards will be co-produced by Bell Media Studios and, for the second straight year, will be broadcast nationally by CTV and streamed internationally by Variety.
The Federal government announced Monday that the Canadian border will open to fully-vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents as of August 9, 2021, and to the rest of the world as of September 7, 2021, thus allowing TIFF to welcome a portion of its traditional volume of international press, industry and talent back to the Festival as permitted by the Canadian government. As a result of the opening of the border and cinemas in Ontario, TIFF has added the Scotiabank Theatre Toronto for the first five days of the festival to its list of in-person venues to accommodate a select number of additional public and Press & Industry screenings. Press & Industry screenings will also remain available online on TIFF Digital Cinema Pro for press and industry unable to travel. The Industry conference will continue to be a digital event only. More information on in-person screening capacities for Press & Industry, and how access will operate, to follow in the coming two weeks.
Alanis Obomsawin photo credit: Scott Stevens; Denis Villeneuve photo credit: Ulysse Del Drago