A Lebanese War comedy won the Cadillac People's Choice award at the Toronto Film Festival this year.
The film "Where Do We Go Now?” takes strides in promoting religious tolerance. It intertwines religions and faiths – in this case Muslims and Christians – making it a popular choice.
The winner of the award, voted by festival attendees, is given a $15,000 cash prize. Canadian-Lebanese actress and director Nadine Labaki, who stars in the film, was in Europe when the award was announced, so festival programmer Rasha Salti accepted the award for her.
Labaki wrote in a statement, "I'm thrilled, I'm happy, I'm ecstatic, I'm excited – my day that had just started on the wrong foot because of a flight cancellation has just been turned upside down," she said.
People raved about the film at the Cannes festival in May. Labaki’s film "Caramel," won best Foreign Language film at the 2007 Cannes festival. “Where Do We Go Now?” illustrates how women try to stop men from starting religious wars. Mothers and wives in the film speak out against the religious violence that has killed their sons and husbands. The setting is in an isolated village in Lebanon where a Church and Mosque meet. The cast was made up of all non-professional actors and music and dance were added as a strong cultural element to the film.
American filmmaker and director Jon Shenk's “The Island President” was also among the winners in Toronto. His film, which was voted the best documentary, shares the story of the president of the Maldives and his mission to save an island from the effects of global warming.
Last year’s winner, "The King's Speech," also won four Oscars, including best picture, and "Slumdog Millionaire," another Cannes award-winner, also earned an Oscar for best picture and took seven other Oscars, a good indication that Labaki’s film may be next in the Oscar line up.