The Toronto International Film Festival ("TIFF") starts tomorrow, Thursday, September 8th, 2022, and runs until Sunday, September 18th. On Sunday, September 11th, RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert will be presenting the TIFF Ebert Director Award to Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes during the in-person TIFF Tribute Awards gala at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Named after legendary film critic Roger Ebert, the accolade recognizes filmmakers who have exemplified greatness in their careers. Mendes will join the company of celebrated visionaries who previously received the TIFF Ebert Director Award at the Toronto International Film Festival: Martin Scorsese, Claire Denis, Ava DuVernay, Wim Wenders, Agnès Varda, Denis Villeneuve, Chloé Zhao, and Taika Waititi.
"I am so happy to present Sam Mendes the TIFF Ebert Director's Award," said Mrs. Ebert. "My husband admired all of the director's films, and awarded four stars to not only 'American Beauty' but 'Revolutionary Road' and 'Skyfall.' He is unquestionably a worthy recipient of this annual honor. Roger was also a great friend of TIFF, and I know he would be proud that an award in his name is associated with this world renowned festival."
Cameron Bailey, CEO of TIFF, said, “From his first appearance at TIFF with 'American Beauty,' director Sam Mendes brought his exacting and lyrical vision of cinema to Toronto. We are delighted to honor his unique voice and body of work with this year’s TIFF Ebert Director Award.” Mendes made his feature film debut at the Festival in 1999 with the World Premiere of "American Beauty," a TIFF People’s Choice Award winner, for which he was honored with an Oscar in the Best Director category.
The TIFF Tribute Awards honor the film industry’s outstanding contributors and their achievements, recognizing leading industry members, acting talent, directorial expertise, new talent, and a below-the-line artist and creator. The Awards event also serves as TIFF’s largest annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s Every Story fund, which promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in film and TIFF’s core mission to transform the way people see the world through film.
Bailey also announced that TIFF will be presenting the Canadian premiere of Mendes’ most recent work, "Empire of Light," which he wrote, directed, and produced. Set in an English seaside town in the early 1980s, Searchlight Pictures’ "Empire of Light" is a film about human connection and the power of cinema. Starring Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Tom Brooke, Tanya Moodie, Hannah Onslow, Crystal Clarke, with Toby Jones and Colin Firth, Mendes also teams up with award-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins, who was a TIFF Tribute Award recipient in 2019.
Other award recipients at the 2022 TIFF Tribute Awards gala will include Michelle Yeoh, star of Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert's "Everything Everywhere All At Once," who will receive the inaugural TIFF Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award; Brendan Fraser, star of Darren Aronofsky's "The Whale," and the ensemble of Michael Grandage's "My Policeman," who will each receive the TIFF Tribute Award for Performance; Oscar-winning composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, who scored Sarah Polley's "Women Talking" and will receive the TIFF Variety Artisan Award; and award-winning Welsh Egyptian filmmaker Sally El Hosaini, whose latest film is "The Swimmers" and will receive the TIFF Emerging Talent Award.