“From his first appearance at TIFF with American Beauty, director Sam Mendes brought his exacting and lyrical vision of cinema to Toronto,” said Toronto International Film Festival CEO Cameron Bailey. “We are delighted to honour his unique voice and body of work with this year’s TIFF Ebert Director Award.”
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The TIFF Ebert Director Award recognizes filmmakers who have exemplified greatness in their careers, named after film critic Roger Ebert. The Award marks an evolution of the Festival’s Roger Ebert Golden Thumb Award, which in past has gone to celebrated filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Claire Denis, Ava
DuVernay, Wim Wenders, and the late Agnès Varda. Past recipients who received the Award since the TIFF Tribute Awards were introduced include Denis Villeneuve (2021), Chloé Zhao (2020), and Taika Waititi (2019).
Mendes joins previously announced TIFF Tribute Award honorees, the ensemble cast of My Policeman, who will receive the TIFF Tribute Award for Performance presented by Polestar.
The TIFF Tribute Awards, presented by BVLGARI, will return for an in-person ceremony fundraiser on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
Mendes had the world premiere of his 1999 movie American Beauty at TIFF, which took home the fest’s People’s Choice Award, and continued on to win five Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director.
Mendes wrote, directed and produced Empire of Light. Set in an English seaside town in the early 1980s, the pic is a story about human connection and the magic of cinema. Starring Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Tom Brooke, Tanya Moodie, Hannah Onslow, Crystal Clarke, with Toby Jones and Colin Firth, Mendes also worked with award-winning DP Roger Deakins, who was also a TIFF Tribute Award recipient in 2019.
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