Toronto Top 10 draws criticism


TORONTO -- The Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday stirred up controversy by releasing a Top 10 list of Canadian movies for 2006 that left out this year's top two domestic boxoffice earners.

The 2006 list, voted on by selected Canadian filmmakers, producers and critics, includes Mike Clattenburg's "Trailer Park Boys: The Movie," a popcorn comedy executive produced by Ivan Reitman about ex-convicts in a Halifax trailer park complex.

The 2006 list also includes Sarah Polley's "Away From Her," Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn's "The Journals of Knud Rasmussen," which opened the 2006 Toronto festival, and Jennifer Baichwal's "Manufactured Landscapes," a feature-length documentary.

But this year's kudos ignored Erik Canuel's "Bon Cop, Bad Cop," a bilingual buddy movie that earlier this year became the highest-ever Canadian boxoffice earner. Also passed over was the year's second-highest grosser, Christophe Gans' video game-inspired horror pic "Silent Hill," a Canada/France co-production shot in Ontario and produced by Don Carmody and Samuel Hadida.

Toronto-based Carmody said leaving his own film and "Bon Cop, Bad Cop" off the 2006 Top 10 showed that the 10-member jury was out of step with the tastes of ordinary Canadian cinemagoers.

"It only proves once again that what the critics think and what the public thinks is completely different," Carmody said.

Cam Haynes, director of Film Circuit, a division of the Toronto International Film Festival Group, said the festival's Top 10 list of Canadian movies has no commercial or artistic criteria, and was chosen by an independent panel of industry professionals with complete control over its make-up.

"We're proud of what 'Bon Cop, Bad Cop' did in terms of (boxoffice) numbers, and we support the film and are currently showing it around the world. But it's not for us to indicate what the Top 10 list should be," Haynes said.

To qualify for the annual TIFF list, a homegrown movie must either have bowed at a major Canadian film festival or gone into commercial release in 2006.

The Toronto festival originally conceived the Canada's Top 10 list in 2001 to help promote awareness of Canadian cinema.

Rounding out the Top 10 Canadian films of 2006 are Philippe Falardeau's "Congorama," which closed the Cannes Directors' Fortnight section; Reg Harkema's "Monkey Warfare"; and "Radiant City," from filmmakers Gary Burns and Jim Brown.

Also singled out this year is Rob Stewart's "Sharkwater," Quebec entry "Sur La Trace D'Igor Rizzi" from Noel Mitrani and another French-language offering, Robert Favreau's "Un Dimanche A' Kigali."