On September 15, TIFF will be honouring Andy Lau, the multi-hyphenate Hong Kong artist with a Special Tribute Award at the World Premiere Gala presentation of Ning Hao’s The Movie Emperor, in which he stars. This marks Lau’s first visit since he last attended the Festival in 2001. He will also be participating in the In Conversation With… (ICW) series on September 16. Lau is one of Hong Kong’s most popular entertainers, with a career spanning more than four decades and over 160 films in his filmography. He has received recognition from critics for his work in both television and film, with memorable roles in Ann Hui’s Boat People (1982), Wong Kar Wai’s As Tears Go By (1988), Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs trilogy, and reteaming with Hui in the hit drama A Simple Life (2011). Previous recipients of the Special Tribute Award include David Foster (2019) and Dionne Warwick (2021).
“We are thrilled to honour the remarkable talents and contributions of Andy Lau, Carolina Markowicz, and Łukasz Żal,” said Cameron Bailey, CEO, TIFF. “An industry icon and multi-faceted artist with an impressive filmography, Lau has paved the way for a generation of performers. Emerging Talent honoree Markowicz has an exciting future ahead as one of the most fearless directors of her generation, and Żal’s cinematography continues to evoke emotion in The Zone of Interest.”
Confirming herself as one of Brazil’s clearest voices in current cinema, writer-director Carolina Markowicz returns to the Festival with the World Premiere of her second feature, Toll, on September 9. Following the acclaim of her 2022 dark and twisted comedy Charcoal, Toll is a film about a Brazilian mother who falls in with a gang of thieves in an attempt to keep her family afloat. Previous recipients of the TIFF Emerging Talent Award presented by MGM Studios include Sally El Hosaini in 2022; Danis Goulet in 2021; Tracey Deer in 2020; and Mati Diop in 2019.
Żal, best known for his stunning cinematography in Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War and Ida, returns to the Festival with the Jonathan Glazer–directed The Zone of Interest. The film, adapted from a 2014 novel of the same title by Martin Amis, was awarded the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Entirely shot in Poland, Żal’s lens has a chilling effect — detached from the horrors of the prison camp, the camera captures the banality of the Höss family living their everyday life outside the walls of Auschwitz, contrasted by unforgettable reminders of resistance at night, and shot in monochrome by thermal-imaging cameras. Previous recipients of the TIFF Variety Artisan Award include Hildur Guðnadóttir in 2022; Ari Wegner in 2021; Terence Blanchard in 2020; and Roger Deakins in 2019.
“Variety is honoured to be giving Łukasz Żal our annual Artisan Award at the Toronto International Film Festival,” said Jazz Tangcay, Senior Artisans Editor at Variety. “We have been fans of his work from Ida and Cold War and with his most recent film, The Zone of Interest, Łukasz continues to raise the bar for inventive and avant-garde cinematography.”
The Tribute Awards gala is TIFF’s largest annual fundraiser, having raised $1.3 million in 2022, and is presented by Bulgari, sharing their commitment to arts and culture along with TIFF. This year, the Tribute Awards gala will support the Viola Desmond Cinema campaign, which was launched through the Every Story Fund in 2022. For more information, visit tiff.net/tribute.
Andy Lau bio
The star of Ning Hao’s The Movie Emperor, Andy Lau has been a leading figure in Asian cinema for the past four decades. Like many of his contemporaries, Lau started out in the early 1980s as an actor for Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB), Hong Kong’s premier television network. He landed his first feature film role in Ann Hui’s Boat People (1982), a central work of the Hong Kong New Wave. In the late 1980s, Lau fully transitioned to working in film and enthralled audiences and critics alike in Wong Kar Wai’s As Tears Go By (1988) and Days of Being Wild (1990). Lau launched his own production company in the early 1990s and has starred in over 160 feature films, including Johnnie To’s relentless police thriller Running Out of Time (1999), Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s twisty and unpredictable Infernal Affairs (2002) and Infernal Affairs III (2003), Zhang Yimou’s martial arts extravaganza House of Flying Daggers (2004), Tsui Hark’s delirious fantasy whodunit Detective Dee: The Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010), Hui’s grounded drama A Simple Life (2011), and Frant Gwo’s mega-action blockbuster The Wandering Earth 2 (2023). A natural entertainer and multi-faceted artist, Lau has won three Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Actor, received the Asian Filmmaker of the Year Award at the 2006 Busan International Film Festival, and holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Awards Won by a Cantopop Male Artist.” He joins us for an in-depth conversation about his storied career as an actor, producer, and celebrated Cantopop singer-songwriter, as well as his new film The Movie Emperor, which is a Gala Presentation at this year’s Festival.
Carolina Markowicz bio
Carolina Markowicz has written and directed six award-winning short films that have been selected for more than 300 festivals. Her 2018 short film, The Orphan, premiered in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and won the Queer Palm. Since 2021, Carolina has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her debut feature, Charcoal, premiered at TIFF in 2022. Toll, her second feature, will premiere at TIFF 2023.
Łukasz Żal bio
Łukasz Żal is a cinematographer based out of Poland. He most recently shot Charlie Kaufman’s critically acclaimed I’m Thinking of Ending Things, as well as Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 2019. Previously, he was nominated for an Academy Award in 2016 for Pawlikowski’s Ida and was one of two cinematographers of the 2017 Oscar-nominated animated feature Loving Vincent (dir. DK Welchman, Hugo Welchman). In addition, he received the Golden Frog Award at Camerimage twice for his work on Ida and Paparazzi (dir. Piotr Bernas), as well as the Silver Frog Award for Cold War. Żal also shot Dovlatov (dir. Aleksiej German Jr.), which premiered at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival, and The Here After (dir. Magnus von Horn), an official selection of the Directors’ Fortnight at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. He is a Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, European Film Academy, and Polish Society of Cinematographers.