Cord Jefferson’s American Fiction has won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The satire about race and personal agency was announced as the winner during a TIFF awards breakfast on Sunday morning, concluding 11 days of in-person film screenings and celebrations.
The film stars Jeffrey Wright as an African-American novelist grappling with an industry that is limiting his work to trauma and poverty narratives.
It’s an adaptation of Percival Everett’s book Erasure — poking fun at the publishing industry’s commodification of marginalized voices.
A frustrated writer struggling to attract publishers for his latest work pens a pseudonymous novel embodying every Black cliché and stereotype he can imagine. When it becomes a hit, he must reckon with a monster of his own making.
Known for his Emmy Award-winning television work, Jefferson’s directorial debut has been described by TIFF as “a wildly entertaining sendup of our hunger for authenticity,” and a timely reflection on the fictions we tell ourselves — about race, progress and community.
The People’s Choice Award, determined through online voting, is frequently considered a harbinger of success at the Academy Awards. Last year’s winner was Steven Spielberg’s coming-of-age ode to cinema, The Fabelmans.
Meanwhile, the People’s Choice documentary award went to Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe, about beloved children’s performer Ernie Coombs, directed by Robert McCallum.