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Tamhane’s ‘The Disciple’ Wins Once more, This Time At TIFF

New Delhi: Indian director Chaitanya Tamhane’s “The Disciple” won the Amplify Voices Award at the 45th Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, sharing the prize with Ivorian director Phillipe Lacote’s “Night of the Kings”. American-Chinese director Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland”, the Venice Golden Lion winner, took home TIFF’s coveted People’s Choice Award, which is regarded as a prognosticator for the Oscar Awards. The first runner-up for the People’s Choice Award was Oscar-winning actor Regina King’s directorial debut, “One Night in Miami”, also one of the best-regarded films in the festival programme, while the second runner-up prize went to the Canadian title “Beans”, directed by Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer.

With Zhao, King and Deer winning, history was made. This was the first time that all the three People’s Choice Awards went to films directed by women. The Amplify Voices Awards jury described “The Disciple”, which recently bagged the Best Screenplay award besides the FIPRESCI Prize at the Venice Film Festival, as “visually sumptuous and insightful”. The citation read: “Masterful in its restraint, this film about a struggling classical Indian musician explores the tension between traditional discipline and the contemporary impulse to be instantly validated.” The jury statement for “Night of the Kings”, set in a prison on the outskirts of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where a young pickpocket is locked up with hardened criminals, said the film was “a beguiling trance of a movie (with) a bold distinctive voice that pushes the boundaries of traditional storytelling, weaving together myth and reality.” The Amplify Voices jury was composed of Canadian actors Sarah Gadon and Damon D’Oliveira and filmmaker Danis Goulet.

Earlier, the festival’s FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Prize and the NETPAC (Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema) Award were announced. The FIPRESCI Prize was won by a film from Georgia, Dea Kulumbegashvili’s “Beginning”. The jury released the following statement: “The prize goes to a brave and fresh quiet storm of a film that depicts the condition of being a woman in Georgia, masterfully portrayed in a universal manner.” The NETPAC Award, given by jury made up of Sharofat Arabova (Tajikistan), Latika Padgaonkar (India) and chairperson George Chun Han Wang (Hawaii), was given to Palestinian filmmaking twins Tarzan and Arab Nasser’s “Gaza mon amour”, starring legendary actor Hiam Abbass.

The jury decided to award the film “for a heartwarming, thought-provoking and poetic tale of unspoken emotions portraying daily life in Gaza”. TIFF 2020 wrapped up on Saturday with the Closing Night Presentation of Mira Nair’s BBC Studios series “A Suitable Boy”, the first time in the festival’s history that a made for-television show brought the curtain down on North America’s premier cinema showcase.

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