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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

September 19, 2011 at 9:44 AM

TIFF top award goes to “Where Do We Go Now?”

Some years, the TIFF People’s Choice Award goes to the movie that’s clearly already on an awards march: “The King’s Speech” last year; “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008. And sometimes, it highlights a movie that might not otherwise get the attention. This year, the winner is Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki’s “Where Do We Go Now?,” set in an isolated village in Lebanon surrounded by landmines, where the local women scheme to distract their men from starting a holy war. I didn’t see this film (to be honest I don’t think I even heard a whisper about it while I was there — maybe it screened after I left?), but obviously it resonates with audiences and it’ll be interesting to see if the award lands the film a U.S. distribution deal. Labaki’s previous film, “Caramel,” had a Seattle run in 2008 and was a gem; a bittersweet romantic comedy set at a Beirut hair salon.
And another film I enjoyed at TIFF emerged with a late-in-the-fest distribution deal. “Friends with Kids” – written by, directed by, and starring Jennifer Westfeldt — was picked up by Lionsgate for domestic release. Westfeldt learned of the deal while attending the Emmys ceremony last night, with her longtime boyfriend Jon Hamm (also in the movie — and shut out in the best actor category last night, which sounds like a travesty to me), and told Deadline.com that she thinks Lionsgate is planning a spring release. I think this film — certainly the year’s best rom-com so far, other than “Midnight in Paris” — could well be a hit; we’ll see next year.

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