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Winners & Special Mentions: Toronto Lift-Off Film Festival 2023

Thank you to all the filmmakers who participated in the 2023 Toronto Lift-Off Film Festival. It has been a fantastic experience witnessing so many filmmakers taking part and the tremendous global support for authentic independent cinema.

After meticulous scrutiny, the judges' evaluations have been combined with the audience's feedback. We extend our warmest congratulations to the filmmakers who graced our screens! In particular, we commend the following films for their exceptional contribution...


Festival Winners

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the Toronto Lift-Off Film Festival in their respective categories! Huge congratulations to all the winners!

Her Ordinary World

Dir. Samuel Dayomi
Synopsis:A window into the world of a young mother of two.

Short Listed for Best Doc Film

The Sky is Falling

Dir. Stephan Stelman
Synopsis: On the eve of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement in Judaism, fifteen-year-old Uri ignites a billboard while drunk with his friends. When the tragic outcome of his act is discovered, Uri and his friends are brought into police custody. When his father arrives to the rescue, Uri is confronted with questions regarding responsibility and status. He needs to decide whether to pin the blame on his underprivileged friend, Mark, whom everybody seems already to suspect is the culprit, or accept the consequences of his actions.

Short Listed for Best Screenwriting & Best First-Time Filmmaker

Philosopher of the Sea

Dir. Andreas Oscar Eidhagen
Synopsis: At the ripe age of 83, Swedish sailor Sven Yrvind has become a renowned figure around the world for his solo voyages across the oceans. For the last five years, we have had the privilege to observe closely as Yrvind puts together his boat and readies himself for the difficulty of being alone on the open sea - a journey spanning almost 15,000 miles from Ireland to New Zealand, estimated to take 300 days. Although many view Yrvind's project as a reckless venture, he himself believes that he is one of the few sane people in the world. However, the real exploration behind this journey is of a much deeper nature; an exploration into how we choose to live our lives.

Short Listed for Best Feature Documentary

Short Listed Films

The Lift-Off Season Awards is an annual event that celebrates the very best of indie film. Following each Lift-Off film festival, films that have excelled in their respective category are short listed for a Season Awards Nomination.  At the end of the year, once all the 12 city-based festival have taken place, the shortlisted nominated films are reviewed again by the jury and Official Nominations are designated.  Click here for more information about the Lift-Off Season Awards.


Dir. Ghada Youssef
Synopsis:We are resisting, but we can no longer keep grip of our Lebanon.

Short Listed for Best Cinematography


Dir. Imre van Opstal
Synopsis: Whether it's running a marathon, climbing a mountain, or simply making it through a difficult day, endurance is what enables people to persist and succeed. Without it, people would give up at the first sign of difficulty.

Short Listed for Best Acting Ensemble

Audience Choice

The Audience Choice award is given to the filmmakers whose film received the most votes during the festival. The filmmakers will be invited to join us on the Lift-Off YouTube channel for a directors commentary roundtable. Join in the conversation as we delve deeper into each film.

FEMALE - Why not just filmmaker?

Dir. Isabella Presnal
Synopsis: FEMALE is a documentary that investigates where women are today if they’re not in Hollywood, and why women are more likely to be relegated to their gender than any aspect of their actual work. It’s not only about the inequality in Hollywood, but it focuses more on independent filmmakers and digital creators. The film shares the experiences of a multitude of women in various positions, at different points in their careers, and across changing platforms.


Dir. Zoë Nelson
Synopsis: Poppy is a greatly misunderstood fashion design student who is pushed to the limit by her professor and competitive classmates as she designs her ambitious fashion show costume.

Ginny's Enterprise

Dir. Suzanne Marie Moreau
Synopsis: An imaginative 10-year-old “Trekkie” struggles to gain fairness and love from her blindly patriarchal mother and equal status with her bullying brother in the 1960's white man's world.

We Are All In This Together

Dir. Mitch Verigin
Synopsis: At its core, our film is a family drama with a twist. As an alien invasion threatens humanity's very existence, an estranged family must put aside their differences and work together to survive. But as tensions rise and secrets are revealed, will they be able to unite and overcome their personal struggles to fend off the extraterrestrial threat?

Wayne's Misery (Eymdin hans Wayne)

Dir.Gudmundur Bjarni G (Michael G)
Synopsis: When two people from New Jersey meet by coincidence in a small town in Iceland, their stories intertwine and turn them to crime. Wayne, a ten-year-old boy, is forced to face his own demons when his psychopathic friend, Simon, pushes him to commit worse-and-worse crimes as he slowly begins to lose his sanity. Wayne's father, Erlendur---a police officer, begins to investigate the crimes, leading him to his first crime scene where he met a boy, who---even a decade later, still warms his cold soul.