Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans wins Toronto festival top prize

Updated on Sep 19, 2022 02:10 PM IST

An Indo-Canadian director and a counterpart from India won in categories promoting diversity in cinema at the TIFF

US filmmaker Steven Spielberg arrives for the premiere of The Fabelmans during the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (AFP)
US filmmaker Steven Spielberg arrives for the premiere of The Fabelmans during the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (AFP)

US director Steven Spielberg on Sunday won the most coveted award at the 2022 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), while an Indo-Canadian director and a counterpart from India won in categories promoting diversity in cinema.

Spielberg made his debut appearance at TIFF with the world premiere of his latest project The Fabelmans. It ended up capturing the People’s Choice Award, when the list was announced at a ceremony at TIFF’s headquarters in Toronto on Sunday.

The filmmaker behind Jaws, Indiana Jones, ET, and Schindler’s List among many other celebrated productions brought his “most personal film yet,” according to a description from TIFF.

“The Fabelmans finds the director reflecting on the experiences that made him the filmmaker we know and love, in a story based on his childhood in Arizona,” programmer Jane Schoettle noted.

This particular award is considered a tastemaker in the industry for the next Academy Awards.

Meanwhile, Indo-Canadian director Nisha Pahuja, won Amplify Voices Award for Best Canadian Feature Film with her documentary To Kill A Tiger. Born in New Delhi and raised in Toronto, Pahuja’s film tracks the harrowing journey of a family in Jharkhand to bring to justice the culprits in a sexual assault on a teenaged girl. A jury statement on the selection said, “It’s not easy to film love. In Nisha Pahuja’s To Kill A Tiger, a father defends his daughter, and together they change a village, a country and, maybe, the world.”

While We Watched, a documentary from Indian director Vinay Shukla won an Amplify Voices Award. The jury, in selecting the film, said it “is a compelling, urgent film that collapses our differences. It is a wake-up call to how perilous and fragile the relationship between a free press and democracy is everywhere.”

While National Award-winning director Rima Das’ latest film Tora’s Husband was the first Indian production to be chosen to compete in the prestigious Platform section of the festival, it did not win the award. That went to director Anthony Shim’s Riceboy Sleeps.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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