Young Cinephiles Have Chosen Their Fave Films At The Tiff Kids International Film Festival

TIFF Kids Young People’s Feature Film Jury, ages 8-10, Courtesy of Connie Tsang.

On Wheels, Red Dog: True Blue, and When Grey Is A Colour are the top-winning films this year

The awards for the 20th annual TIFF Kids International Film Festival™ were announced yesterday at a ceremony held at TIFF Bell Lightbox. The milestone festival came to a close honouring the best and brightest in children’s cinema with Toronto’s youngest cinephiles awarding the TIFF Kids International People’s Choice Awards to On Wheels as their favourite feature film and Halim as their top short film. Prizes also included the TIFF Kids International Film Festival Young People’s Jury Awards, selected by three juries comprised of kids ages 8 to 13; two short film awards selected by the TIFF Kids Festival Adult Jury and the Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase winners, both determined by juries of industry professionals.

“TIFF Kids provides audiences with a snapshot into the lives and stories of young people from around the world and connects young film goers to new genres of film and different cultures through the transformative power of cinema,” said Elizabeth Muskala, Director of TIFF Kids and Youth Learning. “It’s so rewarding to see our smart, young juries connect with such a diverse selection of films and award the best in their respective categories.”

Full list of TIFF Kids Award winners below.

The TIFF Kids Festival People’s Choice Awards, were voted by festival-goers during the three TIFF Kids Festival public weekends (April 7-9, April 14-17 and April 22-23).

TIFF Kids Festival People’s Choice Award – Favourite Feature Film
On Wheels (Sobre Rodas), dir. Mauro D’Addio, Brazil, Portuguese
North American Premiere
Confined to a wheelchair after a car accident, 13-year-old Lucas makes a new friend in his classmate Lais, and joins her on an epic journey to find the father she has never known.

TIFF Kids Festival People’s Choice Award – Favourite Short Film
Halim, dir. Werner Fiedler, Austria, Arabic, German
World Premiere
One day, quiet Elias encounters performance artist Halim while walking through the park. When Elias begins visiting Halim each day, Elias’ mother becomes suspicious and decries that he cannot be friends with a “refugee.” Elias defies his mother and returns to the park, but discovers that Halim has vanished. With a message of hope and belonging, this story of intergenerational friendship is a testament to the lasting impact that shared stories can have on one another.

The digiPlaySpace People’s Choice Awards, were voted on by the public during the entire run of digiPlaySpace (February 18-April 23).

digiPlaySpace People’s Choice Award – Favourite Installation
Last One Standing
Artist: Douglas Gregory | Canada
Players take on the role of living dominoes and run around a table arena, leaving behind a trail of standing dominoes that can be toppled. Hit each opponent’s trails to knock them down, but beware of being toppled!

digiPlaySpace People’s Choice Award – Favourite App
Monument Valley
Artist: Ustwo Games Ltd | United Kingdom
Monument Valley is a surreal exploration through fantastical architecture and impossible geometry. Guide the silent Princess Ida through mysterious monuments, uncovering hidden paths, taking advantage of optical illusions and outsmarting the enigmatic Crow People.

Three juries of young film lovers aged 8 to 13 selected the winning film in their category. Desta Lazarus (10), Henry John Bearss (10), and Janine Burtnick (9) made up the Young People’s Feature Film Jury, ages 8-10. The Young People’s Feature Film Jury, ages 11-13 was comprised of Alice Sykes (13), Carson McCormick (13), and Maliha Mehreen (12). The Young People’s Short Film Jury, ages 9-13 was decided by Lucy Weltman (11), Shivon Dyson (13) and Noam Aufgang (12).

TIFF Kids Festival Young People’s Jury Award (ages 8-10) – Best Feature Film
Red Dog: True Blue, dir. Kriv Stenders, Australia, English
Canadian Premiere
Sent to live on a cattle farm in the Australian Outback following the death of his father, a lonely young boy encounters an abandoned red puppy, and the new friends embark on a series of adventures that will change their lives forever.

On choosing the film, the jury said, “This film was very emotional and the acting was amazing. It was very interesting and we really felt connected to the film. The storyline was good and we all really enjoyed it.”

TIFF Kids Festival Young People’s Jury Award (ages 11-13) – Best Feature Film
Fanny’s Journey (Le voyage de Fanny), dir. Lola Doillon, France/Belgium, French
Inspired by Fanny Ben-Ami’s autobiography, Fanny’s Journey tells the story of a young girl who is separated from her parents in Nazi-occupied France, and must lead a group of eight children to safety in Switzerland.

Explaining their selection, the jury stated, “What made our winner different from the rest was that although it was set in the past, it taught us important things that we can take with us, and remember in the future. While we were being informed about historical events and important themes, everyone was sitting at the edge of their seats waiting to see what was happening next. The characters left us in awe and we were upset to let them go when the movie ended, but we were definitely satisfied with where we left them.”

Honourable mention goes to Mountain Miracle – An Unexpected Friendship (Amelie rennt), dir. Tobias Wiemann, Germany/Italy and Swallows and Amazons, dir. Philippa Lowthorpe, United Kingdom.

TIFF Kids Festival Young People’s Jury Award (ages 9-13) – Best Short Film
When Grey Is a Colour (Grijs Is Ook Een Kleur), dir. Marit Weerheijm, Netherlands, Dutch North American Premiere
Despite Cato’s efforts to reconnect with her brother following his suicide attempt, he remains withdrawn. By chance, Cato meets an unexpected stranger who provides an escape from the tense emotions filling her house. Exploring this challenging subject from a young girl’s perspective, this beautifully constructed short film uses a muted colour palette to convey the emotion of Cato’s family.

The jury said of their winning choice, “When Grey Is A Colour is a touching film with a beautiful colour palette, great and believable acting, amazing cinematography and well-written story that brings the whole movie together.”

Honourable mention goes to Cast Off (Larguer les amarres), dir. Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers, Canada.

The TIFF Kids Adult Jury Awards were selected by a three-person jury consisting of industry professionals Iris Verhoeven, Director of the European Youth Film Festival (Het Jeugdfilmfestival) in Flanders, Belgium; Toronto-based filmmaker Martin Edralin (Hole; Building History: The Story of Benjamin Brown; Emma); and Lisa Haller, TIFF senior programming associate for Canadian and international short films for the Toronto International Film Festival.

TIFF Kids Festival Adult Jury Award – Best Live-Action Short Film
When Grey Is A Colour (Grijs Is Ook Een Kleur), dir. Marit Weerheijm, Netherlands, Dutch
North American Premiere

Explaining their selection, the jury stated, “This film impressed the jury with its thoughtfully realized narrative about a family’s struggle with a loved one’s depression. Complex, whimsical, and featuring an incredible performance by the lead, the TIFF Kids Adult Jury Award for Best Live Action film goes to the expertly directed When Grey Is A Colour by Marit Weerheijm.”

TIFF Kids Festival Adult Jury Award – Best Animated Short Film
Revolting Rhymes, dirs. Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer, United Kingdom, English
Canadian Premiere
The directors of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom pay tribute to the late Roald Dahl with these six beautifully animated stories based on the beloved children’s author’s twisted fairy tales.

The Adult Jury selected this film, “For it stunning animation and edgy story filled with twists and turns – and for being a total pleasure to watch – the TIFF Kids Adult Jury Award for Best Animation goes to the beautifully reimagined fairy tale based on a story by Roald Dahl, Revolting Rhymes, directed by Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer.”

Open to youth in two categories — grades 4 to 6 and grades 7 and 8 — the 16th annual Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase provided an opportunity for budding young filmmakers to flex their creative skills and see their work on the big screen. A jury comprised of film industry professionals selected the award-winning film in each category. This year’s jury includes Toronto-based filmmaker Joële Walinga (Cave Big, Cave Small); Audrey Dwyer, Artistic Director of the Children’s Theatre Company Cow Over Moon and DORA nominee; filmmaker and animator Nathan Jurevicius (Scarygirl; Junction, TIFF Kids 2016 Official Selection); and Toronto-based filmmaking instructor Brent Orr (Never Too Short Productions).

The Frederick Simpson Award for Best Film (Grades 4 to 6)
The Song Of The Street​, dirs. Yahnique Bent, Ekaterina Dimitrova, Ana Klasnja, Danielle Ionova
A few young girls find out that the Earth has music — you just need to listen with your heart.

Honourable mentions: The Giant’s First Day of School​, dirs. Enzo Tozzi Lira, Anna Choulova, Hubert Sulkowski; Duckling and Chick dirs. Ava Archer, Kristal Elgohary, Marcus Mosqueda; Panda Dreams​, dir. Anya Sekdorian; A.D.D.: A Student’s Perspective​, dirs. Eddie Wiseman, Zachary Allison, Keith Schoenfeld-Miller, Mackensi MacDonald, Elizabeth Bieganski, Bailey Hurst, Abigayle Austin, Hannah Longlade, William House, Mitchell Luckhurst, Felix Radvanszki, William Young, Aaliyah Crouse, Landon Nicholas, Maia Dempsey, Catherine Garus, Carson Horne, Jessica Wise, Dylan Morris, Ryan Copeland, St. Patrick’s Media Group; Code: Squirrels,​ dirs. Mariia Babenko, Liubov Babenko, Alsana Amrenova, Aileen Amrenova, Kseniya Miller-Gruntovskaya, Maria Moga, Maryam Khafizova, Timur Khafizov; The B(m)aking of Canada ​(La cuisson du Canada), dirs. Artash Nath, Arushi Nath; Three Busy Cats​, dirs. Mihaela Ngira-Batware, Shailyn Pinili, Stella Valiquet.

The Veronica Herman Award for Best Film (Grades 7 & 8)
The Pongers​, dirs. Callum Gaw, Jack Apreda, Richard Shao, Scott Raetsen, Travis Truong Toronto
Through hard work and training, an aspiring ping ponger reaches the tournament and faces the best pongers in the game! Pong life!

Honourable mentions: Jazz Quartet​, dirs. Maxim Besshaposhnikov, Anna Choulova, Maya Makhmud, Andrew Torgovtsev, Polina Valiakhmetova, Oleg Yurchenko, Viktoriya Yurchenko; Anxiety, dir. Leigh Hannah; and The Hawk & The Fish, dir. Olivia Rock.

The Frederick Simpson and Veronica Herman Awards are generously supported by Garrett Herman.

From April 7 to 23 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, the TIFF Kids International Film Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary as one of the leading children’s film festivals in the world with special programming and activities for children aged 3 to 13. This year, the festival showcased a lineup of 166 films, comprising of 32 features and 134 shorts — representing the best of Canadian and international films made for children, hands-on family activities and young filmmakers showcases. TIFF Kids also saw the return of the popular award-winning digiPlaySpace, an interactive playground which included installations, learning-centric video games, virtual reality, and circuits and robotics. The TIFF Kids Industry Forum offered two days of programming, and welcomed 45 guest speakers and 280 accredited professionals.

For information about joining the TIFF Kids 2018 Young People’s Juries or submitting a film to the 2018 Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase, please visit in October 2017.