The Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA) held a special gala Thursday to formally award its previously announced winners. The association also revealed the recipient of the 2019 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, which was given to Kathleen Hepburn and Elle-Maija Tailfeathers for their Indigenous feature film, “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open.” The award comes with a prize of $100,000. The film is currently streaming on Netflix.
In the film, one woman’s decision to comfort a stranger she finds crying in the street leads to a revealing and powerful conversation between two Indigenous women from very different circumstances.
“It means so much that Canadians care about this story… Thank you for supporting our film and getting audiences to support this story because it’s very real.” – Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
“We hope that this film reminds you that as a country we are not yet healed from the fractured past.” – Kathleen Hepburn
The film is named after an essay by Indigenous poet Billy-Ray Belcourt and based on an experience in Tailfeathers’ life. The feature poignantly “reveals the necessity for Indigenous people to look out for each other in a society that’s too often indifferent to their existence.”
“The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open” also won the award for Best Canadian Film recently from Vancouver Film Critics Circle.
The runners-up for the Best Canadian Film Award were “Antigone” by Sophie Deraspe and “Firecrackers” by Jasmin Mozaffari. Both directors also received $5,000 from Rogers Communications.
Hepburn and Tailfeathers’ film was acquired by Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing last year. The distributor also secured the Sundance-premiering doc “Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen,” and in September, Phillip Youman’s Tribeca award-winning dramatic feature, “Burning Cane.” ARRAY also acquired Numa Perrier’s cam girl coming-of-age feature, “Jezebel,” set to premiere on Netflix streaming Jan. 16.
Announced in December, the TFCA awarded Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” as its Best Picture winner. It also won for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director.