The Toronto International Film Festival announced the winner of the 2019 Toronto Platform Prize at a reception at the Bisha Hotel, hosted by Joana Vicente, TIFF’s Executive Director and Co-Head. Pietro Marcello’s Martin Eden was chosen as the winner of the $20,000 CAD prize by the jury, which is comprised of award-winning filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari, Berlinale Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian, and international film critic Jessica Kiang.
"Our main prize goes to a thrilling and eloquent work of art that we agreed on unanimously and instantaneously," said the jury. "A politically and philosophically provocative story told with extraordinary cinematic invention and grace, this film reaffirms a faith that is easy to lose in 2019: that the cinema we know is an iceberg with nine-tenths still remaining to be discovered. This is a classic story told in a novel manner that dips below the surface to find highly unconventional, often archival modes of expression that are irreverent and anachronistic and yet that honour and participate in the history of cinema."
"I want to say thanks to Cameron Bailey and Andrea Picard for inviting the film at Platform" - stated Pietro Marcello - "To the jury, for choosing this movie, and it’s a pleasure accepting this award. I want to say thanks to my partners Rai Cinema, IBC movie, Shellac Sud, The Match Factory and all the people who worked with me on this film. I want to thank Istituto Luce Cinecittà - Filmitalia for supporting the film around the world. I want to say thanks to Luca Marinelli, for his talent. Maurizio Braucci for his courage. Tiziana Poli for being close to me during the making of all my movies, always. My editors Aline Hervé and Fabrizio Federico. The Avventurosa team, who never stops believing in making a different kind of cinema. Once again, I was the producer of my film, I have made some mistakes, but also I have learned so much. I have learned that there are many different ways to produce a film. We made this film in a state of grace and since the beginning we thought of a modern Martin Eden, a man of our times. Martin Eden is a character created by Jack London in the last century, but his voice still matters today because it’s the voice of freedom and courage which screams against those who want to build new prisons and new fears for humanity. We hope this movie will be seen by the young generations. Viva Martin Eden. Grazie a tutti."
Additionally, the jury awarded two honourable mentions. One of the recipients is Kazik Radwanski’s Anne at 13,000 ft, which the jury highlighted as “a film that creates a horror-movie level of buzzing tension out of a mercilessly close-up, yet deeply compassionate portrait of an unstable young woman, brought unforgettably to life in Deragh Campbell’s riveting central performance.”
The other honourable mention was awarded to Alice Winocour’s Proxima, which the jury considered “a beautifully down-to-earth, procedural approach to a story about the lure of space vying with the bonds of home, that is for once told from the point of view of a woman who does not apologize for finding as much joy in her vocation as in her family.”
Named after Jia Zhang-ke’s trailblazing second feature, Platform is the Toronto International Film Festival’s competitive programme championing bold directorial visions. The programme includes up to 12 films and aims to spotlight these outstanding works within the Festival.
Now in its fifth year, Platform is curated by TIFF Artistic Director and Co-Head Cameron Bailey and Co-Curator Andréa Picard, who is also Lead Curator for the Wavelengths programme. Platfor’s Selection Committee is composed of TIFF Cinematheque Director Brad Deane; Ming-Jenn Lim, Senior Manager of Theatrical Programming at TIFF Bell Lightbox; and Lydia Ogwang, TIFF Cinematheque Coordinator and Associate Programmer.