DAILY NEWS Apr 23, 2024 7:25 AM - 0 comments

TIFF Kids Film Festival Awards Announced

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During a ceremony held at TIFF Bell Lightbox, the award winners for the 15th annual TIFF Kids International Film Festival were announced. In addition to Audience Choice Awards, three Young People’s Juries weighed in on the recipients of the coveted Golden Sprocket Awards. Winners of the Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase were also announced, as determined by a jury of film industry professionals. TIFF Kids is committed to involving children in the critical assessment of films, in support of the TIFF mission to transform the way people see the world through film. The Festival continues to provide a forum where young voices can be heard, a life-long love of cinema is formed, and media literacy skills are strengthened.


TIFF Kids Audience Choice Awards are voted on by Festival-goers who attended public screening weekends (April 14 to 15 and April 21 to 22).

TIFF Kids Audience Choice Award — Best Feature Film

Cool Kids Don’t Cry (Achtste Groepers Huilen Niet), director: Dennis Bots, The Netherlands

Grade eight student Akkie has only two concerns: going to high school with her best friends and winning the soccer championship. Tough-girl Akkie never backs down from a challenge or lets the class bully Joep target her friends. Her whole class is shocked when Akkie is diagnosed with leukemia, yet she faces the disease with unwavering courage. While on her class graduation trip she must rely on Joep, the one classmate who didn’t visit her in the hospital, to help her with a dilemma. Is this is the beginning of a new friendship? Akkie fears she won’t have time to find out. Based on the best-selling Benelux novel by Jacques Vriens, this film adaptation will leave viewers inspired by Akkie’s spirit and resolve in the face of adversity.

TIFF Kids Audience Choice Award — Best Short Film

Joanna Makes a Friend, director: Jeremy Lutter, Canada

Joanna likes to wear dark clothes and sketch spooky illustrations. As a result, the kids in Joanna’s class don’t like her, and she doesn’t much enjoy their company either. So, when her father tells her to "make a friend," Joanna takes it a little too literally.


Two film juries representing different age groups — ages 8 to 10 and ages 11 to 13 — each selected a winning feature film. Another jury comprised of children aged 9 to 13 determined a winning short film.

Golden Sprocket Award — Feature Film

Jury 1 (Ages 8 to 10)

Famous Five (Fünf Freunde), director: Mike Marzuk , Germany

Three siblings, their cousin and a canine companion become summertime sleuths in this adaptation of the famed Enid Blyton novels.

On choosing this film, the jury said, “Famous Five is a great mystery that keeps you guessing and makes you feel like part of the adventure.”

Golden Sprocket Award — Feature Film

Jury 2 (Ages 11 to 13)

Nicostrados, the Pelican (Nicostrados le Pélican), director: Olivier Horlait, France/Belgium/Greece

Fourteen-year-old Yannis enjoys a simple life with his widowed fisherman father on the Greek island of Zora. That is, until he trades his mother’s golden cross for Nicostratos, a neglected white pelican. This charismatic, mischievous and gigantic bird becomes Yannis’ best friend, but he also becomes a major tourist attraction.

The Young People’s Jury explained their decision, “We are in awe of how this movie took us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions in such a beautiful setting, which was exquisitely captured in the film’s photography.”

Honourable mentions go to Cool Kids Don’t Cry, The Netherlands and Havanastation, Cuba.

Golden Sprocket Award — Short Film

Jury (Ages 9 to 13)

The Little Team (L’équip petit), directors: Roger Gomez and Daniel Resines, Spain

In this sweet and charming documentary, the fourteen little kids that make up the Margatania FC go over an unsolved football mystery, and they end up teaching an unexpected life lesson to grown-ups.

Said the Young People’s Jury of their unanimous decision, “We admire that this movie conveys messages of perseverance and inspiration that we can all learn from. And it is told from a great point of view.”


Open to Ontario youth in two categories — Grades 3 to 6 and Grades 7 to 8 — the 11th annual Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase engaged budding cinéastes, providing a forum for artistic expression and the opportunity for emerging filmmakers to see their work on the big screen.

The Jump Cuts prizes were awarded by a jury comprised of film industry professionals. This year’s jury included: Marney Malabar, International Emmy and Gemini–Award winning producer of children’s television programming and TVOKids’ Executive in Charge of Production; Bruce William Harper, celebrated director, cinematographer and regular facilitator of TIFF’s Learning Programmes; and Magali Simard, Short Cuts Canada Programmer at TIFF.

The Frederick Simpson Award for Best Film Grades 3 to 6

A History of Residential Schools in Canada, directors: Dante Castagna, Spencer Julien, Noa Kamel, Eamonn Stewart, Tallulah Honey, Duncan Chaudhari, Anna Kis, Madalena Monteiro, Emily Hunter, Patrick Coughlan, Shredup Chopel, Hafsa Anwar, Dylan Moniz, Rui Li, Aidan Primrose, Stephen Ye, Queen Victoria Junior Public School, Toronto, ON

This hybrid documentary recounts the history of residential schools in Canada — from the passing of the Indian Act to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s historic apology to former residential school students — through personal stories.

The Veronica Herman Award for Best Film Grades 7 to 8

Virus, directors: Cole Weninger, Adam Balint, Liam Rice, Haley Chisholm, St. Patrick’s Media Group, Woodstock, ON

There’s something strange going on at Adam’s new school and it’s up to him to solve the mystery before it’s too late.  

Honourable mention goes to The Connolly Christmas, director: Austin Amaral, Oakville, ON.

The Frederick Simpson and Veronica Herman Awards are generously supported by Garrett Herman. Each Grand Prize–winning film also received a Jump Cuts Bursary, courtesy of RBC, to encourage the development of young voices in film.

TVOKids is also proud to support young filmmakers of Ontario. The TVOKids Choice Award in the Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase was presented to the short film in the Grades 3 to 6 category that best represents TVOKids’ values. From April 3 to April 20, kids were invited to watch the top three nominated short films at tvokids.com and vote for their favourite.

TVOKids Choice Award

Black Bird, directors: Isabel Davis, Azzedine Fong, Gabrielle Frogatt Alexander, Toronto, ON

An 11-year-old, colour-blind artist is reluctant to apply to a new arts school out of fear of rejection. But with the support of her best friend, she may just take a leap of faith.

From April 10–22 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, the TIFF Kids International Film Festival celebrated 15 years as one of the most important film festivals in North America with special programming and activities for children aged 3 to 13. In addition to a compelling selection of features and shorts showcasing the best of Canadian and international cinema, an exciting slate of special guests, hands-on family activities and showcases for young filmmakers, new for 2024 was the TIFF Kids digiPlaySpace, a family-friendly environment which included interactive installations, learning-centric games, apps, new digital creative tools and hands-on production activities.

For information about joining the TIFF Kids 2024 Young People’s Juries Contest or submitting a film to the 2024 Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase, please visit tiff.net, beginning November 2024.


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About TIFF

TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $170 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation, Major Sponsor and official bank RBC, and BlackBerry. For more information, visit tiff.net.

The TIFF Kids International Film Festival is supported by the Ontario Arts Council, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the City of Toronto.

Pizza Nova is the Presenting Sponsor of the Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase.

Media Partners of the TIFF Kids International Film Festival are TVOKids and the Toronto Star.

TIFF is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, L'Oréal Paris, and Visa, and Major Supporters the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto.

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