TUFF Announces 2015 Festival Winners - Toronto’s Ananya Ohri Takes Top Honour with Castles on the Ground

Toronto ON, September, 20, 2015 – The 9th annual Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF), North America’s largest commuter film festival, announced its 2015 award recipients tonight at a special gala reception held at the Drake Hotel in Toronto. TUFF 2015 award winning films will screen every five minutes on Monday, September 21 and Tuesday, September 22 on PATTISON Onestop’s subway platform screens in stations across the city. 

To celebrated TUFF’s best one-minute silent films, guest judge, Patricia Rozema, (Into the Forest, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, Grey Gardens, Mansfield Park) presented the top honour and the $3,000 prize to Ananya Ohri, for her gravity defying re-imagined brave new world, Castles on the Ground.  Second prize and $1,500 was awarded to Aritz Moreno (San Sebastián, Spain) for Loop, and third prize with $750 to Sara Koppel (Copenhagen, Denmark) for Seriously Deadly Silence. Rozema also presented awards for Honourable Mentions to Ansh Mehta (Mumbai, India) for Switch and to Peter Dudar, (Toronto, Canada) for Nightfall with Starlings.

“It was such a pleasure to watch all the TUFF films. Sixty-seconds, silent and an audience in transit could be perceived as a major obstacle for a filmmaker, but many of this year’s roster of films are successful testimonies to the concept that limitation triggers creativity,” said guest judge, Patricia Rozema. “TUFF 2015 featured clever and insightful storytelling, and I'm happy to have chosen for first place, Ananya Ohri’s Castles on the Ground. Congratulations to everyone."

For the first time ever, TUFF presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Midi Onodera, whose one-minute silent films have enriched TUFF’s roster every year since it’s inceptions in 2007. Midi Onodera is an award-winning Canadian filmmaker who has been directing, producing and writing films for more than 20 years. She has over 25 independent short films to her credit as well as a theatrical feature film and hundreds of video shorts. Always experimenting, Midi Onodera’s short works feature a collage of formats and mediums ranging from 16mm film to Hi8 video to digital video, and “low end” digital toy formats. 

“For the past nine years we have offered Torontonians a uniquely urban public art experience that is like no other,” said Sharon Switzer, TUFF Executive Director. “Our filmmakers are at the centre of this amazing Festival. TUFF couldn’t exist without the incredibly talented artists who tell stories that resonate with the public. Congratulations to all of this year’s filmmakers for providing rich and satisfying cinematic experiences that live on beyond their minute of fame.” 

Awards were also handed out for the following categories by Switzer and TUFF programmer, Angie Driscoll (Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Aspen Shortsfest, Nordisk Panorama). 

Viewer’s Choice – Theory, 2015, Baturhan Bilgin, Bursa, Turkey

Best Narrative – Drawing Hope, 2015, Nikolai Jacobi, Barcelona, Spain 

Best Animation – Where Can I Go?, 2015, Derek Leung, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Best Portrait – A Family Memoir, 2015, David Djindjikhachvili, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Best Experimental Film – A Blind, 2015, Lauren Schaffer, Toronto, Canada

Best DIY Film – Darn It!, 2015, Kathryn Walter & Greg Woodbury, Toronto, Canada

Best Local Film – Black Angels, 2015, Sean Luke Van Wert, Toronto, Canada

Best Film by an Emerging Filmmaker – Child/Adult, 2015, Dani Plumb, Toronto, Canada

Most Ambitious Film by a Female Director – Twins, 2015, Even Wu, Toronto, Canada

Toronto Lens Award – What I Saw Somewhere, 2015, Maira Krastins, Toronto, Canada 

City Stories – Dreams in Solitude, 2015, Jorge Thielen Armand, Toronto, Canada

Canadian Urbanism Award – Matryoshka Living, 2015, Nathan Hughes-Berry & Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Toronto, Canada

Special Jury Prize – One Day in July, 2015, Hermes Mangialardo, Foligno, Italy 

Special Jury Prize and Honourable Mention – Fade to Black, 2015, Amer Albarzawi, Damascus, Syria


Prizes awarded for the 9th annual TUFF totaled $23,500 in cash and in-kind products and services. 


The Toronto Urban Film Festival thanks its funders, sponsors and supporters. 

Funders: PATTISON, NBCUniversal Canada, Ontario Arts Council, City of Toronto. Lead Sponsors: Drake Hotel, Red Giant Software, Sony, Toon Boom Animation, William F. White International Inc.  Industry Sponsors: Women in Film & Television Toronto (WIFT-T). Contributing Sponsors: Colourfast Printing, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Images Festival, imagineNative Film + Media Arts Festival, Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival, Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT), Spacing, Toronto International Film Festival Supported by: Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Toronto Public Library.

TUFF is produced by PATTISON Onestop, co-produced by Art for Commuters, supported by the Toronto Transit Commission and the Toronto Public Library, and is funded by NBCUniversal Canada, Ontario Arts Council and the City of Toronto.

TUFF films 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: torontourbanfilmfestival.com    

Facebook: torontourbanfilmfestival

Twitter: @tuffest

Instagram: torontourbanfilmfest


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About PATTISON Outdoor Advertising and PATTISON Onestop 

Since 1908, PATTISON has been providing innovative solutions for Out-of-Home advertising opportunities with products ranging from traditional billboards and posters to transit, digital, airports, mall, residential, office, and street furniture. PATTISON also offers Canada’s largest portfolio of Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising properties, through PATTISON Onestop, a world-leader in the design, operation, and advancement of digital advertising networks for the office, transportation, mall, sports retail, and residential environments. PATTISON Outdoor Advertising is the exclusive supplier for advertising on the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) transit system. www.pattisononestop.com   www.pattisonoutdoor.com


About Art for Commuters - www.art4commuters.com @art4commuters

Art for Commuters (A4C) was founded in 2007 by Sharon Switzer, and brings over 100 artworks per year to the Pattison Onestop TTC subway platform screens. Through these projects, Art for Commuters offers a wide range of contemporary artistic voices the opportunity to showcase their work in the public spaces frequented by urban travelers. 


For more information contact:

Marie Nazar, Publicist, Toronto Urban Film Festival | 416-762-7702 | marie.nazar@bell.net