Veteran Winnipeg filmmaker Guy Maddin and his co-director Evan Johnson nabbed a $100,000 Toronto Film Critics Association prize at a gala Tuesday night that saluted the best in homegrown cinema.
The duo snagged the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award for their surreal outing The Forbidden Room, a series of tales-within-tales featuring international stars including Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, Mathieu Amalric and Roy Dupuis.
The Toronto Film Critics Association also handed $5,000 runners-up prizes to Philippe Falardeau's My Internship In Canada and Andrew Cividino's Sleeping Giant.
"I'm so happy and honoured," Maddin said as he took the stage to claim the big win with Johnson.
"$100,000 is enormously generous, thank you. With it, we hope to bring an NFL franchise to Winnipeg," he quipped to hoots and cheers from a rambunctious crowd including Falardeau, Cividino and fellow director Deepa Mehta.
Maddin and Johnson claimed the top award for their bizarre cinematic vision, a wild tribute to classic cinema packed with visual effects.
"I just want to take back every negative thing I've ever said about film critics and corporations. Thank you," Johnson said in his brief acceptance speech.
Last year's winner was Denis Villeneuve for Enemy.
The critics group announced all the other winners of its 2015 awards in December.
- Best picture: Carol
- Best director: Todd Haynes, Carol
- Best actress: Nina Hoss, Phoenix
- Best actor: Tom Hardy, Legend
- Best supporting actress: Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
- Best supporting actor: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
- Best foreign film: Phoenix
- Best screenplay: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short
- Best first feature: Alex Garland, Ex Machina
- Best animated feature: Shaun the Sheep Movie
- Allan King Documentary Award: Joshua Oppenheimer, The Look of Silence
- Clyde Gilmour Award: Deepa Mehta and Nisha Pahuja
- Jay Scott Prize for an Emerging Artist: Anne Émond, Les êtres chers
- Student film award: Vlado Paskaljevic, Absence Is Present