Surprise Winner At Toronto Film Festival
Stunning the filmmaker and critics alike, the Toronto Film Festival on Saturday gave first-time director Alejandro Gomez Monteverde its prestigious People's Choice award for his romantic film Bella. Accepting the award, Monteverde, a 29-year-old Mexican-born director who came to the U.S. as a teenager, said: "I really hope that this is not a dream and that I don't wake up at film school. This festival is my first festival, it's my first film, it's my first everything." The film has yet to be picked up by a distributor. The controversial -- and most-talked-about -- film of the festival, Death of a President, which imagines the assassination of George W. Bush in October 2007, won the Prize of the International Critics. Earlier in the week, the film was bought by Newmarket Films, which distributed Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Receiving the award, British director Gabriel Range said, "I'm thrilled that the film is going to be shown in theaters. ... That's proof that people can see beyond the premise and see that it's a film about this post-9/11 world that we live in."