Oscar-nominated French Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award at the 2021 TIFF Tribute Awards, which will take place during the 46th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
“The TIFF Ebert Director Award recognizes filmmakers who have exemplified greatness in their career,” stated Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head of TIFF. “Denis Villeneuve’s many films, including 'Blade Runner 2049,' 'Arrival,' 'Sicario,' 'Enemy,' 'Prisoners' and 'Incendies,' to name a few, and his upcoming epic adaptation of the seminal novel Dune, which he directed, co-wrote, and produced, are a testament to Denis’ boundless ability for authentic, passionate storytelling. There is no question Denis is an accomplished and outstanding filmmaker. He has a wonderful body of work and operates at an incredible level of excellence on the world stage. Over the years, Denis has brought many of his films to TIFF, so we feel a special closeness to him. It is wonderful to be celebrating his career at this time.”
In his review of "Arrival," the film that earned Villeneuve his Best Director Oscar nomination, RogerEbert.com Managing Editor Brian Tallerico wrote, "It’s a film that forces viewers to reconsider that which makes us truly human, and the impact of grief on that timeline of existence." Tallerico also hailed Villeneuve's "Blade Runner 2049" as "one of the most deeply philosophical and challenging sci-fi films of all time, a movie that never holds your hand as it spirals the viewer through its gorgeous funhouse of the human soul." Villeneuve's 2010 breakthrough feature, "Incendies," received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film and was praised by Roger Ebert, who wrote that the film "wants to be much more than a thriller and succeeds in demonstrating how senseless and futile it is to hate others because of their religion. Most people do not choose their religions but have them forced upon themselves by birth, and the lesson of 'Incendies' is that an accident of birth is not a reason for hatred."
We have previously awarded the Ebert Director Award to Chloé Zhao (who became the first Asian woman to win the Best Director Oscar for "Nomadland"), Taika Waititi, Claire Denis, Wim Wenders, Agnes Varda, Ava DuVernay and Martin Scorsese. Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, also announced that award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer, singer, and activist Alanis Obomsawin will be honored with the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media at the 2021 TIFF Tribute Awards, which serve as the festival’s largest annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s year-round programs and core mission to transform the way people see the world through film. This year’s event will raise funds for TIFF’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative and champion a safe, community-focused and inspiring return to cinemas.
The 2021 TIFF Tribute Awards will be co-produced by Bell Media Studios and, for the second straight year, will be broadcast nationally by CTV and streamed internationally by Variety.