TORONTO – "Monsieur Lazhar", Philippe Falardeau’s intimate tale of an insightful teacher who helps a classroom of Quebec children through a devastating loss, has won the Toronto Film Critics Association’s Rogers Best Canadian Film Award.
The award was presented to Falardeau by Andrea Martin at a gala dinner held January 10 at the historic Carlu in downtown Toronto. Also nominated for the award were "Café de Flore", directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, and "A Dangerous Method", directed by David Cronenberg.
The cash value of the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award is $15,000. "Monsieur Lazhar" is the official Canadian entry for the 2011 Academy Awards.
“There’s a luminous warmth to this film that rings utterly true,” said TFCA President Brian D. Johnson, film critic for Maclean’s magazine. “Philippe Falardeau explores dire issues with an understated touch and huge heart. I don’t know what they’re putting in the water in Montreal, but after Denis Villeneuve won this award last year for Incendies, once again a Quebec filmmaker has knocked us out with an immigrant drama adapted from a stage play.”
“We are pleased to once again support this fantastic event,” added Phil Lind, Vice Chairman, Rogers Communications Inc. “Toronto is a city of cinephiles, and our critics are second to none. Sponsoring the Best Canadian Film award is an important component of Rogers’ support for Canadian expression. 'Monsieur Lazhar' is an engaging and emotional story, and we’re thrilled to recognize the film and filmmaker as this year’s award recipients.”
The directors of the runner-up films, David Cronenberg and Jean-Marc Vallée, each received a new iPhone 4S from Rogers.
Don McKellar presented the 2011 Deluxe Student Film Award to York University student Janice Lee for her short film "faraway". The award carries a value of $5,000 in post-production services from Deluxe Toronto.
Bruce McDonald presented the TFCA’s Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist to Toronto filmmaker Ingrid Veninger ("i am a good person/i am a bad person"). The prize is accompanied by a $5,000 cash award.
“Jay Scott was a critic who loved to discover adventurous talents inventing themselves on the outskirts of the industry,” said Johnson. “Ingrid Veninger is a true independent, a maker of intimate films that seem born of the moment. Her work is infused with a spirit of generosity that extends to her presence in the film community as Toronto’s queen of low-budget cinema.”
The TFCA is especially grateful to founding sponsor, Rogers Communications Inc, and welcomes MasterCard as our new cocktail sponsor. The TFCA also thanks RBC for its ongoing support and is grateful to its additional sponsors: Maclean’s magazine, The Globe and Mail, Moet & Chandon, Four Seasons Hotel, Deluxe, Ontario Media Development Corporation, Cineplex Entertainment, Maclaren McGill, Fabbrica, The Carlu and Citytv.