Filipino film Leonor Will Never Die has won a special Amplify Voices Award at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
The film, which won the Innovative Spirit Sundance Special Jury Prize at the vaunted film festival earlier this year, was recognised on the last day of TIFF on September 18 in a special ceremony. “Wow, this is too surreal. When we were making this film a few years ago, we never expected to even get this far. All we wanted was to screen our tiny film in a cinema and we got more than that. Thank you, TIFF. Thank you to the entire team for taking care of us,” director Martika Ramirez Escobar said in her acceptance speech, dedicating the win to her team.
“We had our first screening last night and it was truly special because we felt that cinema is very much alive with how people were in the cinema. This really means a lot.”
BREAKING BALITA : We just won a special award at TIFF!!! 🥺🥺🥺💗💗💗Thank you TIFF for giving us the AMPLIFIED VOICES…
The other recipients of the Sundance Special Jury Prize were Indian director Vinay Shukla’s While We Watched and Canadian filmmaker Nisha Pahuja’s To Kill A Tiger.
The surrealist drama Leonor Will Never Die tells the story of retired screenwriter Leonor Reyes (Sheila Francisco), who is hit in the head by an accidentally tossed television that renders her comatose. In her coma, she experiences the world of one of her unfinished films, confronting the complex motivations of the heroes and villains she created.
The film was conceived with the idea of having an “action star grandma,” Escobar to Rappler earlier this year, adding, “I love older people because they possess the wisdom that I often think we need in life to see its beauty. Of course, I’m just talking about my real-life grandma here.”
Describing the end product as “a self-reflexive film about a writer writing her own life,” Escobar is set to screen her film at the University of the Philippines’ Cine Adarna on September 22 and at the Greenbelt shopping centre in Ayala, Metro Manila on September 24.