by Eugene Hernandez
Almost lost in the shuffle as the Toronto International Film Festival came
to a close was the world premiere of NYU graduate Kevin Jordan‘s first
feature, “Goat on Fire and Smiling Fish.” The film, which debuted in
Toronto on Thursday, was received very well by screening attendees and was
awarded the Festival’s Discovery Award during a ceremony yesterday. The
prize, chosen by the international accredited media, was selected from the
31 films screening in the festival’s Discovery section. Justin Kerrigan‘s
“Human Traffic” took the second prize in the category, while Tom Gilroy‘s
“Spring Forward” was third.
“Goat” came to the festival with the seal of approval of Martin Scorsese,
who Jordan assisted during the making of “Kundun.” Film rep Jeff Dowd came
on board before the event and promoted the $40,000 movie all week prior
to its premiere. Reporting on the screening in an article for the National
Post, Roger Ebert commented on the rousing showing, singling out the
standing ovation for supporting actor Bill Henderson and acknowledging the
audience reaction. “Thursday night I attended the world premiere of the
goat and fish movie,” Ebert wrote, “And bathed once again in the kind of
joy mixed with relief that an audience feels when it senses it has
Not surprisingly, the People’s Choice Award went to Sam Mendes‘ “American
Beauty,” which was a big hit with audiences after screening during the
first weekend. The DreamWorks release opened in theaters this weekend.
Khyentse Norbu‘s “The Cup” came in second in audience balloting, while
Carlos Siguion-Reyna‘s “Yesterday Children” was third.
In other prizes, Jeremy Podeswa‘s “The Five Senses” won the Toronto-City
Award for Best Canadian Feature film, Catherine Annau‘s “Just Watch Me:
Trudeau and the 70’s Generation” won the Best Canadian First Feature Film
Award, Patrick Demers‘ “Decharge” won the Best Canadian Short Film Award
and Zhang Yang‘s “Shower” won the FIPRESCI award for an emerging filmmaker
having a world premiere at the festival.