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Toronto International Film Festival announces 2023 awards categories and film juries

2023 People’s Choice Awards, Changemaker Award, Amplify Voices Awards, and Short Cuts Awards, along with FIPRESCI and NETPAC film jury awards to be announced at the close of TIFF


The Toronto International Film Festival® is delighted to announce its Award categories, jury members, and prizes for 2023, along with the return of three distinguished international film juries to honour outstanding works in this year’s lineup. The juries, featuring renowned film critics and filmmakers, include five members for FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics; three jurors for NETPAC, the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema; and three jurors for Platform (previously announced). All awards will be announced on September 17 at the annual Awards Breakfast at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Details to follow in the coming weeks.

“A crucial component of the film industry’s ecosystem, the annual awards presented by TIFF are dedicated to honouring creativity, vision, and excellence,” said Anita Lee, Chief Programming Officer, TIFF. “Every year, we unite to applaud the diverse array of cinematic voices with the support of respected colleagues from the global industry, and this year will be no exception.”

TIFF continues to celebrate the unique craft and storytelling within Canadian cinema with the Best Canadian Feature Film Award. All 27 Canadian feature films in Official Selection — ranging from debut features to documentaries to films from well-established directors — will be considered for the award.

Canada Goose embraces diversity in all its forms and definitions, including the technique and passion that transports storytelling to the screen. This year, Canada Goose will again present the Amplify Voices Awards to under-represented filmmakers in Canada. Feature films in Official Selection by Canadian BIPOC filmmakers are eligible for the Best Feature and Best First Feature Award. The Amplify Voices Award will also celebrate a Canadian BIPOC trailblazer, recognizing a producer who has made significant contributions to the Canadian film landscape. The three winners will receive a cash prize of $10,000 each, made possible by Canada Goose. The jurors are:

V.T. Nayani is a multi-hyphenate storyteller working across the screen industries. She is an alumni of the Canadian Film Centre, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, The Gotham, and BIPOC TV & Film. Nayani’s feature directorial debut, This Place, premiered at TIFF in 2022.

Nisha Pahuja’s documentary credits include To Kill a Tiger, which won the Amplify Voices Award for Best Canadian Feature in 2022 and fifteen other awards. Other directorial credits include The World Before Her (2012), which received an Emmy nomination, and Diamond Road (2008).

Ricardo Acosta is a film editor, script consultant, and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Canadian Cinema Editors. His editing and story consulting credits include Once Upon a Time in Venezuela (2020), The Letter (2019), The Silence of Others (2018), Sembene! (2015), and Marmato (2014). His films have premiered at Sundance, Cannes, and IDFA, among other international film festivals.

Films in the Short Cuts programme are eligible for three jury-selected Short Cuts Awards: Best Short Film, Best Canadian Short Film, and the Share Her Journey Award for best short film by a woman filmmaker. These awards provide each of the three winners with a bursary of $10,000 CAD to help them continue achieving success in their careers. Short Cuts Awards Jurors are:

Aisha Jamal is an Afghan Canadian filmmaker and film programmer. Since 2016, she has been programming Canadian films for the Hot Docs Documentary Festival. Her feature debut A Kandahar Away premiered in 2019 and is now playing on Documentary Channel and screening on CBC Gem in Canada. Her previous short films have played at venues and festivals worldwide.

Araya Mengesha is an Ethiopian Eritrean award-winning filmmaker and actor. His co-written/directed short film DEFUND was a TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten 2021 selection after its World Premiere at TIFF ’21, collecting wins and nominations along the festival circuit, as well as becoming a Vimeo Staff Pick. As an actor, he is a Gemini Award (now called Canadian Screen Award) winner, CSA Best Lead Performer (Digital Series), and multi–ACTRA Award nominee. Currently in development is the feature film The Section based on the short work TEF, which Mengesha wrote and starred in during his residency at the Canadian Film Centre.

Shasha Nakhai is a Toronto-based storyteller with more than a decade of experience. Her work has aired on the BBC, CBC, ZDF, and Arte; screened at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); been nominated for 16 Canadian Screen Awards; named as part of TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten; and shortlisted for an Oscar.

The FIPRESCI Prize is presented by an international jury selected by the International Federation of Film Critics. Founded in 1930, the Federation awards the prize at international film festivals and film festivals of particular importance to promote film-art and to encourage new and young cinema. The FIPRESCI Jury will award the Prize of International Critics, dedicated to emerging filmmakers for the 30th year, to one feature film having its World Premiere in TIFF’s Discovery programme. Last year’s winner was A Gaza Weekend. The 2023 FIPRESCI jurors are:

Cem Altinsaray is a film critic with 28 years of experience in writing, editing, creating, and publishing movie magazines. He is now focused on enjoying and spreading his love of cinema at MUBI.

Elijah Baron is a Montreal-based film critic, translator, and editor, mostly known for his affiliation with 24 images, one of Quebec’s leading and oldest French-language film magazines.

Jindřiška Bláhová is a film critic and film industry analyst for the leading Czech weekly Respekt, an editor-in-chief of the film magazine Cinepur, and a film historian.

Diego Faraone is a Uruguayan film critic and journalist. He collaborated in publications such as Dossier, El Boulevard, Guía 50, and Argentinian websites Revista Caligari and Otros Cines, among others.

Jenni Zylka is a freelance writer focusing on film, media, and music. She is head of the Perspektive Deutsches Kino section of the Berlinale.

Presented by the Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema, the NETPAC Award recognizes films specifically from the Asian and Pacific region. The jury consists of three members of the international community selected by TIFF and NETPAC, who award the prize to the best film by an emerging Asian and/or Pacific Islander filmmaker in the Centrepiece and Discovery programmes. In 2022, the NETPAC Award went to Sweet As. The 2023 NETPAC Award jurors are:

Sung Moon, 2023 NETPAC Jury Chair, is a programmer at the Jeonju International Film Festival.

Haolun Shu is a Shanghai-based filmmaker and teaches film directing and screenwriting at Shanghai Film Academy.

Lalita Krishna is the Co-Chair of Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. She is a critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker.

The Changemaker Award is presented to a feature film in Official Selection that explores issues relevant to young people and is focused on themes of social change and youth empowerment. The award embraces the power in young people seeing their communities represented on screen and celebrates the next generation of storytellers and changemakers in cinema. The winning film is selected by TIFF’s Next Wave Committee, a group of young film lovers who recognize cinema’s power to transform the world. All Next Wave–selected films in Official Selection are eligible, and the winning director(s) receives $10,000 CAD. In 2022, the Changemaker Award went to Luis De Filippis’ Something You Said Last Night.

A longstanding tradition at TIFF, the People’s Choice Award is celebrating its 46th year, and TIFF audience members are encouraged to vote for their favourite films online at All feature films in TIFF’s Official Selection are eligible for this Award. TIFF has two other Awards also voted on by the audience: the People’s Choice Documentary Award and the People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award. The 2022 winners are The Fabelmans, Black Ice, and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.

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