Toronto Urban Film Festival Announces 2012 Award Winners

The Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF), North America’s largest commuter film festival, announced its 2012 award recipients and celebrated the best in ultra-short animation, film and video at the 6th annual TUFF Awards Gala held tonight at The Drake Hotel in Toronto.

The top three TUFF films were selected by guest judge Jennifer Baichwal (Manufacturing Landscapes, Payback) and presented before a packed house of filmmakers, fans and friends of the festival. Claiming first prize was Nicholas Loess (Guelph, Canada) for 24 Progressive. Second prize went to Marina Manushenko (Toronto, Canada) for Amid Nature and third prize to Ben Fox (London, UK) for That Healing Feeling.

Baichwal also selected the winner of the Naish McHugh Award for Emerging Toronto Filmmakers. This year’s $2,500 cash award went to co-directors/producers/editors Ramya Jegatheesan and Althea Manasan for Footprints, which also won the Viewers’ Choice Award with 1,097 votes.

“I watched this impressive collection of films looking out over the ocean in BC and the incongruity was wonderful. The ones I loved most gave a sense of the urban or underground environment in an unexpected way. Twixt was elegant and fluid movement but filmed as a shadow on hard concrete-- a nice contrast. Without Title felt like the passing of time as marked by a series of Metro ID passes. That Healing Feeling had a mysterious, burrowing, underground quality, reminiscent of the Quay brothers, and the interstitial urban/green spaces shown in Amid Nature seemed so fragile, because they were filmed as reflections. Footprints conveyed, in a deceptively simple way, the rich complexity of Toronto. And 24Progressive, the first prize winner, united form and content both uniquely and beautifully, and recreated perfectly the rhythm of a subway ride. It was a great pleasure to judge these films, and an honour to be part of TUFF this year,” said 2012 guest judge Jennifer Baichwal.

Wrapping up the festival in traditional TUFF style, the award-winning films will screen on Pattison Onestop’s platform screens in subway stations across the city on Monday, September 17, 2012. The top 10 films as voted by online viewers were aired today.

“Congratulations to all the filmmakers. Every year I am inspired by the outstanding caliber of the work submitted,” said TUFF Executive Director, Sharon Switzer. “I am very proud to celebrate the art of ultra-short filmmaking, and to bring this new and exciting film genre to the commuting public.”

Honorable Mentions went to choreographer, Anna Kraulis and director, Majid Bagheri (Vancouver, Canada) for the dance inspired Twixt and to director, Yuri A (Zurich, Switzerland) for the video Without Title.

Winners in the following categories were chosen by TUFF Executive Director, Sharon Switzer, and programmer, Angie Driscoll (CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival; Hot Docs).

Best International Film – Touch, Angelo van de Weil (Zoetenmeer, Netherlands)
Best Animation – Cosmos, Octavian Fedorovici (Arad, Romania)
Canadian Urbanism Award – Pinwheel, Stephanie Kervin (Toronto, Canada)
WIFT Award for Most Ambitious Film by a Female Director – Yeti, Eva Zhou (Toronto, Canada)
The Drake Award for Best Local Film – Magic Colouring Friend Zone: Let’s Draw, Jake Chirico (Toronto, Canada)
Jury Prize for Documentary – Choose Not To Fall, Matthew Marsh (London, UK)
Jury Prize for Experimental Film – It Takes Courage, Greg Gilpatrick (Brooklyn, USA)
Special Jury Prize – Concrete Reverie, Luke Sargent (Toronto, Canada)
Toronto Lens Award – Bboy Brothers, Haley Ma, Wei Ming and Yuan Wei Dong (Toronto, Canada)

Prizes awarded for the 6th annual TUFF included over $20,000 in cash and in-kind products and services.
The Toronto Urban Film Festival thanks its funders, sponsors and supporters, including: Ontario Arts Council, NBCUniversal Canada, City of Toronto, Sony, Toon Boom Animation, Red Giant, Drake Hotel, Kogeto, Women in Film & Television Toronto (WIFT-T), Rattail Films, Witz Education, ImagineNative Film and Media Arts Festival, Plant in Focus Film Festival, Spacing Magazine, The Incredible Printing, the one minutes, Worldwide Short Film Festival, Trinity Square Video, Lomography, Pattison Onestop, Art for Commuters and the Toronto Transit Commission.

TUFF is co-produced by Art for Commuters and Pattison Onestop, and is funded by the Ontario Arts Council and NBCUniversal Canada.

TUFF films and curated programs are available year-round and featured on TUFF’s website. In addition to voting during the festival, viewers are encouraged to rate and comment on the films throughout the year.

Where to find TUFF:
Website -- http://www.torontourbanfilmfestival.com
Facebook -- http://www.facebook.com/torontourbanfilmfestival
Twitter -- http://www.twitter.com/tuffest

About Pattison Onestop - www.onestopmedia.com
Pattison Outdoor Advertising is Canada's largest Out-of-Home advertising company, serving over 100 markets coast-to-coast. Pattison Onestop, a division of Pattison Outdoor, is a world leader in the development and operation of Digital Out-of-Home Media (DOOH) for mass transit, mall, retail, hospitality, residential, office, and outdoor environments.

About Art for Commuters - www.art4commuters.com
Art for Commuters is a non-profit curatorial collective that initiates unique, thought-provoking projects in the public realm. As Pattison Onestop's arts programming partner, they bring urban art festivals and exhibitions to over one million people daily on the network of TTC subway platform screens. Art for Commuters was founded in 2007 by Sharon Switzer.

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For more information, contact:
Marie Nazar, Arts Publicist, Pattison Onestop
Tel: 416-762-7702 | E-mail: mnazar@idirect.ca