Incendies best Canadian film: Toronto critics

Toronto's movie critics have picked Denis Villeneuve's Incendies as best Canadian film of 2010.

Toronto's movie critics have picked Quebec director Denis Villeneuve's Incendies as best Canadian feature film of 2010.

Villeneuve was presented with the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award by the Toronto Film Critics Association on Wednesday in Toronto. Actor Jay Baruchel, star of How to Train Your Dragon, presented the award.

Incendies was competing for the $15,000 award with Vincenzo Natli's Splice and Bruce McDonald's Trigger.

Incendies is a French-language adaptation of Wajdi Mouawad's play about Quebec siblings who uncover their immigrant mother's tortured history after her death.

"I was aware that I was working with very strong material. The play's a masterpiece," Villeneuve told CBC News after the awards ceremony.

"With Incendies, [Villeneuve] has bridged Montreal and the Middle East to create a deeply resonant tragedy about family and the uncontainable nature of war," Brian D. Johnson, president of the TFCA and film critic for Maclean's magazine, said in a release.

The film is Canada's submission to the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for consideration for best foreign-language film at the Oscars. Johnson said he believes Villeneuve is "at the top of his game" and deserves recognition from the academy.

Incendies  was named best Canadian feature film at the Toronto and Vancouver film festivals last year. It opens in English Canada on Jan. 21.

Villeneuve won the Canadian Best Film Award in 2009 for Polytechnique and becomes the first filmmaker to win twice in a row.

The $5,000 Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist went to Toronto filmmaker Daniel Cockburn for his feature film You Are Here.

Bruce McDonald was presented with a special citation from the TFCA by CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi for a year of exceptional creativity. McDonald released four films in 2010: This Movie Is Broken, Trigger, Hard Core Logo 2 and the documentary Music from the Big House.

Established in 1997, the Toronto Film Critics Association includes Toronto-based journalists and broadcasters who specialize in film criticism and commentary.