Toronto International Film Festival announces recipient of this year’s Screenwriter Award

Boris Rodriguez. Credit: Twitter handle of @TIFF_Industry

Toronto/CMEDIA: Boris Rodriguez has been announced by TIFF today as the recipient of this year’s TIFF–CBC Films Screenwriter Award for his project Zoila and Andy.

A sum of $15,000 would be granted to him as part of the award, along with support from a script consultant and access to the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival and TIFF Industry Conference.

Rodriguez will be celebrated in person this evening along with some of the previously announced 2022 Writers’ Studio cohort at the TIFF–CBC Films: Celebrating Screenwriters Cocktail event, 5:30 pm EST at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Rodriguez’s Zoila and Andy has been honored with the TIFF–CBC Films Screenwriter Award jury for its epic, historical tale that echoes as both a love story and a timely contemplation on activism, democracy, communism, and ideology in a deeply specific and universal way.

“Receiving the TIFF–CBC Films Screenwriter Award is both humbling and surprising given the caliber of talent that not only applies [to the award] but is considered,” says Rodriguez, in the news release. “It’s also the exact kind of support that will no doubt prove invaluable in bringing our story to the screen in Canada and to audiences around the world.”

An internationally acclaimed filmmaker, Rodriguez’s first film, Beso Nocturno (Night Kiss), premiered at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival in the Discovery section, and was later selected for a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His feature debut, Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal (2012) won the Méliès d’Argent award for best European fantasy feature at the Leeds International Film Festival, and the film was also selected for film festivals including Tribeca and Karlovy Vary. Following Eddie’s success, Rodriguez was selected to participate in NBCUniversal’s Emerging Directors Program, where he was coached to direct episodes for their scripted series on SyFy and USA. Rodriguez is currently developing several projects, including the features Covet, Blood Avocados and Butterflies, and Zoila and Andy.

The TIFF–CBC Films Screenwriter Award, now in its fifth consecutive year, was created to support Canada’s diverse screenwriting talent and to fund the development of high-quality productions reflecting, representing, and reframing diverse perspectives through character-driven stories at the core of the Canadian experience. The Award is open to experienced screenwriters who are women and/or who belong to an equity-seeking group, and/or who identify as having a disability.

This year’s winner was chosen by a jury of screen-industry professionals: Gosia Kamela, Head of CBC Films; Larisa Gutmanis, screenwriter and producer of the International Financing Forum for Ontario Creates; Jennifer Weiss, veteran Canadian producer; and Jane Kim, TIFF Industry Programming Producer.

Reading and rating of all screenplay applications were anonymous, without readers knowing the names of the screenwriters. Consideration of projects was based on the quality of the script; the originality of the idea, story structure, dialogue, and characters; and appeal to audience and achievability.

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