Entries in The King's Speech (5)


Awards - The people have spoken.

TIFF People’s Choice Awards

The Calgary Herald

The winner of the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival is Tom Hooper’s lighthearted royal drama The King’s Speech.

It chronicles the efforts of King George VI (Colin Firth) to rid himself of a chronic stutter, aided by an unorthodox Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush).

The runner-up for the People’s Choice Award was Justin Chadwick’s The First Grader. Based on a true story, it follows an uneducated 84-year-old Kenyan man who learned his government was offering free primary education and showed up on the first day, ready to learn.


Runner-Up Award for First Grader

TIFF 2010

New York Magazine

The King’s Speech - the Colin Firth/Geoffrey Rush drama about a king’s attempts to overcome his stutter - has won the audience award at the Toronto Film Festival, confirming its status as an Oscar frontrunner. Runner-up for the audience prize was the Justin Chadwick-directed First Grader. The two most recent winners of the prize were Precious last year and Slumdog Millionaire in 2008.


TIFF Cadillac People's Choice Award

Toronto International Film Festival

TIFF Press Release

The Cadillac People’s Choice Award is voted on by Festival audiences. This year’s award goes to Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech” (United Kingdom/Australia). The King’s Speech tells the story of King George VI. After his brother abdicates, George ‘Bertie’ VI (Colin Firth) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded nervous stammer and considered unfit to be King, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and custom award, sponsored by Cadillac. Runner-up is Justin Chadwick’s The First Grader (United Kingdom).


The First Grader scores at Telluride

Telluride Film Festival

By John Horn - Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Telluride, Colo. - Truth can certainly be stranger than fiction. If you look toward the Telluride Film Festival, it might also be stronger.

While the rest of Hollywood turns to far-fetched fantasies of flying superheroes, impossible romances and talking toys, the filmmakers behind the standout movies at the Colorado festival are finding that some of the year’s most powerful stories can be found in real-life events.

While that’s obviously the case with Telluride’s esteemed documentaries, three of the most enthusiastically received dramatic features at the just-concluded festival - the world premieres “The King’s Speech,” “127 Hours” and “The First Grader” - are based on the extraordinary accomplishments of actual people. A number of the festival’s other prominent new features, including “The Way Back,” “Of Gods and Men,” “Carlos” and “Incendies,” also have historical events undergirding their foundation.

The narrative allure of such stories is easy. When moviegoers see the words “Based on a true story” just as a film commences, they might grant a movie prospective empathy - the audience is more willing to welcome, both intellectually and emotionally, what it is about to see. That connection was a powerful wave pushing last year’s “The Blind Side.”

Yet any director or writer who strays too far from the factual path can be condemned for fast-and-loose filmmaking. “A Beautiful Mind” was nearly derailed when its makers sanded off several rough patches in mathematician John Nash’s personal life, and “The Hurricane” was knocked out for its liberties with boxer Rubin Carter.

“I remember thinking after ‘3000 Degrees’ that I’ll never do another real-life story, the director and co-writer of “127 Hours,” says of a proposed movie about a Massachusetts firefighting tragedy that fell apart on the eve of production over life-rights issues. “It’s just too complicated. You don’t have control over the material.”

Yet when that true-life material is irresistible, filmmakers can find a way to make a film that is both creatively inventive and factually honest.

The people at the center of “The King’s Speech,” “127 Hours” and “The First Grader” could barely be more disparate. The first film, directed by Tom Hooper (“The Damned United”), focuses on King George VI, the monarch who struggled to overcome a crippling speech impediment. The new movie from Boyle, who premiered in Telluride two years ago, recounts the harrowing wilderness experience of Aron Ralston, who amputated his own hand and forearm when pinned by a falling boulder. And “The First Grader,” from director Justin Chadwick, profiles an illiterate 84-year-old Kenyan villager who, after the government promised free education for all, hobbled into an elementary school and wouldn’t leave until he could learn to read.

As unalike (and, outside of Ralston, as potentially unfamiliar) as their stories might be, the characters share an against-all-odds quest that ultimately unites the cheering spectator with the journey. In a way, these are all versions of inspirational tales as recognizable as “Rocky,” “The Karate Kid” or even “The Bad News Bears.” Yet precisely because they are in large part true, “The King’s Speech,” “127 Hours” and “The First Grader” are more affecting.

“The main thing was that it was uplifting,” Chadwick says of his interest in telling the story of “The First Grader’s” Nganga Maruge, a tale that came to filmmakers’ attention in a Los Angeles Times article. “You have to make something that is relevant these days, and it was a really good story.”

Chadwick shot his film, which stars the African actor Oliver Litondo as Maruge and Naomie Harris as his determined teacher, Jane Obinchu, in a remote Kenyan village with no electricity or running water and populated the cast with 200 local schoolchildren, most of whom had never seen a movie or TV show. While Chadwick and screenwriter Ann Peacock (“A Lesson Before Dying”) made several changes to the story (Obinchu in the movie is younger than in real life, there’s a radio announcer adding jokes and exposition), the movie endeavored to get geographic and historical details as accurate as possible.

The scars that Maruge bears on his back as a result of torture under Britain’s colonial rule are replicated in the film on Litondo’s body, and the songs the young students sing throughout the movie are their own creation. “The movie also celebrates the children, and the healing power of children, no matter what terrible things have happened in your life,” Chadwick says.

Boyle says that while it’s easy to look at Ralston’s story as an unimaginable demonstration of superhumanism, he believes that we are all capable of doing the same thing if the situation demanded it. So at many turns throughout “127 Hours,” he and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire”) excised scenes that created barriers between Ralston and the audience, meanwhile adding sequences that connected the trapped hiker to the rest of the world, crowd scenes and memories of an old girlfriend designed to be a magnet helping pull him free. “It may not be factual,” Boyle says of some of the added sequences, “but it’s truthful.”

The film preserves verbatim some of what Ralston says into his video camera during the ordeal, including a disorderly farewell to his parents, because it gives “127 Hours” a verisimilitude that polished scripting might lack. “It’s so slightly awkwardly written - a proper dramatist would never write the speech that way,” Boyle says. “But it felt very natural to leave it like that.”

Were Boyle making a purely fictional film, moviegoers, critics and studio executives would likely dismiss as preposterous some of the small bits in “127 Hours,” particularly a scene where Ralston, once freed and ready to try to be rescued, stops to take a photograph of his severed hand. “If it were in a script, they would say, ‘It’s just obscene. Throw it out.’ But because it really happened, it allows you to do it. And you can see the audience thinking, It must be true.”

As a young English child with a terrible stammer, David Seidler would listen to radio broadcasts of King George VI, who also had an almost incapacitating speech impediment. The King’s World War II addresses reminded Seidler that if the monarch could overcome stuttering, so could he: The king was his elocutionary inspiration.

Seidler grew up to become a screenwriter, writing “Tucker: The Man and his Dream” and numerous television programs, but he never forgot what he heard over the wireless so many decades earlier. He eventually adapted the story of the king and his relationship with his unconventional speech therapist, Lionel Logue, into a play, and the play has now become the movie “The King’s Speech.”

Even though the movie directed by Hooper is about the royal family and unfolds around Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, “The King’s Speech” follows common themes of friendship, perseverance and trust. Logue was a talented language pathologist (the film was shaped by a trove of his unpublished papers, records and diary entries), but his true gift was companionship. Like any good shrink or comrade, the therapist was able to reveal and manage some of the things - an oppressive childhood, chiefly - that twisted the king’s tongue in knots.

“What I felt the film was really about was that he was saved by friendship,” Hooper says. “Yes, it’s about a man with a stammer. But we all face blocks to becoming our better selves.”

The film is stuffed with period detail - “I’m obsessive about historical accuracy,” says Hooper, who also directed the miniseries John Adams.” One of the film’s most memorable lines comes not from biography, but from something Hooper’s father told the director. Educated in a heartless boarding school, the filmmaker’s dad suffered some of the same confidence-killing treatment as did King George VI.

So when Hooper told his father he was stuck on one scene, his father told him some of the best advice he ever heard was this: “You don’t need to be afraid of the things you were afraid of when you were 5.” It’s Logue’s line to the king now, and it’s part of what makes “The King’s Speech” feel so real.


Telluride Film Festival Announces Lineup

‘Never Let Me Go,’ ‘Biutiful,’ join Scorsese doc set at fest’

Dave McNary - Variety

Mixing prestige with offbeat titles, the 37th Telluride Film Festival will offer its usual low-key glimpse at an eclectic array of potential awards contenders over Labor Day weekend.

Lineup, unveiled Thursday, features several pics that will head to the Toronto Film Festival afterward, including Mike Leigh’s “Another Year,” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Biutiful,” Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech,” Xavier Beauvois’ “Of Gods and Men,” Charles Ferguson’s docu “Inside Job,” Errol Morris’ “Tabloid” and Stephen Frears’ “Tamara Drewe.”

In all, the Telluride program contains 24 feature films along with six programs by guest director, novelist Michael Ondaatje, 25 short films and 13 documentaries screening in the fest’s Backlot program.

Tributes are set for actress Claudia Cardinale; director Peter Weir as part of the world premiere screening of prison-escape drama “The Way Back”; and thesp Colin Firth, who will be feted along with the premiere of “The King’s Speech.”

Other high-profile titles include Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go” and Romanian drama “If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle,” which won the Silver Bear at Berlin. Besides “Inside Job” and “Tabloid,” notable documentary titles include Martin Scorsese’s “A Letter to Elia,” Werner Herzog’s “Happy People: A Year in the Taiga” and Ken Burns’ “The Tenth Inning,” a four-hour addition to his 1994 PBS series “Baseball.”

Programmers drew heavily on Cannes titles, including grand jury prize winner “Of Gods and Men,” along with “Another Year,” “Biutiful,” Olivier Assayas’ “Carlos,” docu “Inside Job,” Michelangelo Frammartino’s “Le quattro volte,” Justin Chadwick’s “The First Grader,” South Korean drama “Poetry,” Sylvain Chomet’s animated “The Illusionist,” Bertrand Tavernier’s period drama “The Princess of Montpensier” and Frears’ “Tamara Drewe.”

“We felt that the Cannes films were particularly strong this year,” said co-director Gary Meyer. “There were about a dozen knockouts.”

Telluride’s drawn an impressive list of awards contenders in recent years, serving as the launching pad for “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Juno,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Capote” and “The Last King of Scotland.”

Unlike the Venice and Toronto fests, however, Telluride continues to opt for a straightforward presentation over the Friday-Monday period - without red carpets or awards competitions. Org, which relies on about 700 local residents to run the fest, refuses to tout any title as a “premiere.”

“We are always just looking for the most interesting films out there,” Meyer told Daily Variety. He estimated that Telluride has an acceptance rate of about 95% for the films it invites.The initial Telluride lineup did not include a pair of Fox Searchlight titles - Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours” and Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” - though it was rumored that the two pics would be last-minute additions. Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air” was added to the program last year after the first official announcement.

Meyer warned against such speculation. “We always have a big laugh over the films that are going to come here that don’t,” he said.

First up on Friday will be “Carlos,” the six-hour biopic about the legendary terrorist. “We fell in love with ‘Carlos’ when we saw it in January,” Meyer recalled. “If it had been in competition at Cannes, it would have won.”

Meyer was particularly enthused over “If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle,” which he saw with Telluride co-directors Julie Huntsinger and Tom Luddy at Berlin. “We saw a lot of Romanian films but this one was head and shoulders above the rest,” he added.

Meyer’s also a champion for two relatively unknown titles - Lavinia Currier’s African rain - forest tale “Oka! Amerikee” and Spanish animated entry “Chico and Rita.” “We checked with people at the other festivals, and they didn’t even know about these two,” he added.

Meyer noted that on “The Way Back,” the organizers needed to contact 23 different producers. “We saw it in June, and it seemed just right to us to bring here, because no one’s ever really done a tribute to Peter Weir,” he added. Festival has issued 2,400 passes, and there will probably be about 6,000 visitors in town.

The 2010 Telluride lineup :


  • “A Letter to Elia” (Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones, U.S., 2010)
  • “Another Year” (Mike Leigh, U.K., 2010)
  • “Biutiful” (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mexico, 2010)
  • “Carlos”(Olivier Assayas, France, 2010)
  • “Chico and Rita” (Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal Spain-Cuba, 2010)
  • “The First Grader” (Justin Chadwick, U.K., 2010)
  • “The First Movie” (Mark Cousins, U.K., 2009)
  • “Happy People: A Year in The Taiga” (Dmitry Vasyukov with Werner Herzog, Germany, 2010)
  • “If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle” (Florin Serban, Romania, 2010)
  • “The Illusionist” (Sylvain Chomet, U.K., France, 2010)
  • “Incendies” (Denis Villeneuve, Canada, 2010)
  • “Inside Job” (Charles Ferguson, U.S., 2010)
  • “The Kings Speech” (Tom Hooper, U.K., 2010)
  • “Le Quattro Volte” (Michelangelo Frammartino, Italy, 2010)
  • “Never Let Me Go” (Mark Romanek, U.K./U.S., 2010)
  • “Of Gods and Men” (Xavier Beauvois, France, 2010)
  • “Oka! Amerikee” (Lavinia Currier, U.S.-Central African Republic, 2010)
  • “Poetry” (Lee Chang-Dong, Korea, 2010)
  • “Precious Life” (Shlomi Eldar, Israel, 2010)
  • “The Princess Of Montpensier” (Bertrand Tavernier, France, 2010)
  • “Tabloid” (Errol Morris, U.S., 2010)
  • “Tamara Drewe” (Stephen Frears, U.K., 2010)
  • “The Tenth Inning” (Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, U.S., 2010)
  • “The Way Back” (Peter Weir, U.K., 2010)


  • Claudia Cardinale - Italian film star Claudia Cardinale (8 ½, THE LEOPARD, THE PINK PANTHER) will receive the Silver Medallion followed by an onstage interview conducted by Hilton Als (Saturday) and Davia Nelson (Sunday). The program will include a screening of Valerio Zurlini’s “Girl with A Suitcase” (Italy, 1961).
  • Colin Firth – Telluride audiences will be the first to see British actor Colin Firth’s performance in “The Kings Speech.” The film will be preceded by a survey of Firth’s career (“Pride and Prejudice,” “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” “A Single Man”), the presentation of the Silver Medallion and an onstage interview with Davia Nelson (Sunday) and Todd Mccarthy (Monday). 
  • Peter Weir – Filmmaker Peter Weir (Witness, The Truman Show, Master and Commander) will be presented with the Silver Medallion followed by an onstage interview with Leonard Maltin (Friday) and Scott Foundas (Saturday). A screening of Weir’s lost classic “The Plumber” (Australia, 1976) and his latest film, “The Way Back,” will screen during the Festival.


  • “The Ascent” (Larisa Shepitko, U.S.S.R., 1977, Archive Print) 
  • “Confidence” (István Szabó, Hungary, 1980, Archive Print)
  • “Fat City” (John Huston, U.S., 1972, Archive Print) Followed By An Interview with Author Leonard Gardner
  • “Here’s Your Life” (Jan Troell, Sweden, 1966, Restoration Print from the Swedish Institute)
  • “The Hustler” (Robert Rossen, U.S., 1961, Archive Print)
  • “Mother Dao, The Turtlelike” (Vincent Monnikendam, Netherlands, 1995, Archive Print)


  • “Rotaie” (Mario Camerini, Italy, 1930) – Pordenone Presents with Live Music Performance By Judith Rosenberg.
  • “Moana: A Story of the South Seas” (Robert Flaherty, U.S., 1926) - with The 1970S Soundtrack Flaherty’S Daughter Monica Created to Honor Her Father’S Original Intentions and A Restored Print By His Great-Grandson Sami Van Ingen. with Special Guest Documentarian Richard Leacock Who Worked with Flaherty.


  • “Bergman: Featuring Two Films By Stig Björkman …But Film Is My Mistress” (Sweden, 2010) and Images from the Playground (Sweden, 2009)
  • “Cameraman: The Life and Work Of Jack Cardiff” (Craig Mccall, U.K., 2010)
  • “Chekhov For Children” (Sasha Waters Freyer, U.S., 2010)
  • “Daniel Schmid: Le Chat Qui Pense” (Pascal Hoffmann, Benny Jaberg, Germany, 2010)
  • “Documentarist” (Harutyun Khachatryan, Armenia, 2003)
  • “Hurricane Kalatozov” (Patrick Cazals, France, 2010)
  • “The Magnificent Tati” (Michael House, U.K.-U.S.-France, 2009)
  • “Moguls and Movie Stars” (D.Jon Wilkman, U.S., 2010, Two Episodes, Tcm Television Documentary Series)
  • “Music Makers of the Blue Ridge” (David Hoffman, U.S., 1965)
  • “On “Being There” with Richard Leacock” (Jane Weiner, U.S., 2010)
  • “Pygmies in Paris” (Mark Kidel, U.K., 1992)
  • “The World According to Ion B.” (Alexander Nanau, Romania, 2010)