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Toronto Film Festival Winners: Rwandan Genocide Drama Is Top Choice

Toronto winner Hotel Rwanda Don CheadleHotel Rwanda with Don Cheadle: Toronto Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award winner is set during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
  • Toronto Film Festival award winners: This year’s People’s Choice Award – often a good predictor of awards season esteem – has gone to Terry George’s real-life-inspired Rwandan genocide drama Hotel Rwanda, starring U.S. actor Don Cheadle as Hutu hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina and British actress Sophie Okonedo as his Tutsi wife.

Toronto Film Festival: Rwandan genocide drama wins People’s Choice Award

In a perhaps unusually political edition of the Toronto Film Festival, movies with a political topic – even if in passing – dominated this year’s awards.

Based on the real-life story of a Kigali hotel manager credited with the saving of hundreds of lives during the 1994 Rwandan genocide that left hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis and “moderate” Hutus dead, Terry George’s Anglo-Italian-South African drama Hotel Rwanda was given the People’s Choice Award. U.S. actor Don Cheadle stars as Hutu hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina; British actress Sophie Okonedo plays his Tutsi wife.

As a consequence of its Toronto win – and its now well-publicized similarities to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Best Picture Academy Award winner Schindler’s ListHotel Rwanda is now a potential favorite this upcoming awards season. Also in the cast: U.S. actors Nick Nolte and Joaquin Phoenix.

Brad McGann’s In My Father’s Den, a New Zealand production about a war journalist (Matthew Macfadyen) returning to his isolated hometown, was awarded the International Film Critics’ FIPRESCI prize. Also in the cast: Emily Barclay, Jimmy Keen, Colin Moy, and Miranda Otto.

Pete Travis’ Omagh, a made-for-television drama about the relatives of victims of the bloodiest terrorist attack in Northern Ireland’s 30-year sociopolitical/religious conflict, won the Discovery Award. Paul Greengrass and Guy Hibbert cowrote the screenplay. In the cast: Gerard McSorley, Michele Forbes, Stuart Graham, and Oscar winner Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot, 1989).

Lastly, Michael Dowse’s mockumentary It’s All Gone Pete Tong, featuring Paul Kaye as a DJ who loses his hearing, and Daniel Roby’s horror thriller White Skin / La Peau blanche (a.k.a. Cannibal), featuring Marianne Farley as a sultry human-flesh eater, won, respectively, Best Canadian Film and Best Canadian First Film.

“Toronto Film Festival Winners” endnotes

Toronto Film Festival official website.

Don Cheadle Hotel Rwanda movie image: United Artists.

“Toronto Film Festival Winners: Rwandan Genocide Drama Is Top Choice” last updated in November 2022.

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