Guillermo del Toro and his FIAF Award with TIFF's CEO Cameron Bailey and his colleagues Natania Sherman, Anita Lee, and Keith Bennie at TIFF’s bar-café Varda in Toronto on 8 September. Photo: Nick Wons.

Guillermo del Toro Receives the 2023 FIAF Award at TIFF

FIAF and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF, a FIAF Member) presented the 2023 FIAF Award to Mexican-born filmmaker Guillermo del Toro on Friday 8 September 2023 during a special ceremony at TIFF’s new bar-café Varda in Toronto.

A recipient of three Academy Awards, three BAFTA Awards, and an Emmy Award among others, Guillermo del Toro has directed and produced numerous films in both the United States and Mexico. His rich and acclaimed body of work, which draws on an eclectic mix of horror, science fiction and fantasy, has shifted between Spanish-language films—from Cronos (1993) to Pan's Labyrinth (2006)—and English-language films, including Mimic (1997), Hellboy (2004) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), Pacific Rim (2013), Crimson Peak (2015), The Shape of Water (2017), Nightmare Alley (2021), and Pinocchio (2022). Alongside his friends Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Guillermo del Toro belongs to a new wave of Mexican filmmakers who have made an indelible mark on cinema since the 1990s.

Earlier this year, FIAF’s Executive Committee unanimously decided to support Guillermo del Toro’s nomination for the 2023 FIAF Award, which was put forward by fellow Mexican Hugo Villa Smythe, Director of the Filmoteca de la UNAM in Mexico City. The main reasons for this nomination were Toro’s well-known long-time passion for, and knowledge of, Mexican cinema and film history more generally, as well as his personal dedication to the rescue, preservation and restoration of Mexican film classics such as El Suavecito (F. Méndez, 1951), and his appreciation of the work done by film archives and cinematheques, which includes the Filmoteca de la UNAM and the Toronto International Film Festival, to achieve these essential missions.

Ahead of the 2023 FIAF Award presentation ceremony, FIAF President Peter Bagrov said: “One of the most charismatic and versatile filmmakers of our time, Guillermo del Toro is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards, and there are certainly more to come. But I hope that the FIAF Award will not get lost behind the Oscars and the Golden Lions. Mr. del Toro is one of the few film personalities of his standing who acknowledge the importance of film preservation. A filmmaker of great visual culture (sadly, it is a rare quality nowadays), he recognizes the richness and diversity of cinematic tradition and truly appreciates the work film archives are doing to preserve the world film heritage and the many obstacles and challenges they have to deal with. He has been involved in restoration projects – particularly of classical Mexican films. This award is not only an acknowledgement of his outstanding achievements in this field but also an encouragement to continue this work. The archival community is proud and lucky to have Guillermo del Toro fighting on our side.”

“Throughout his remarkable career, Guillermo del Toro has consistently pushed the boundaries of imagination and storytelling,” said TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey, who presented the FIAF Award to the Mexican filmmaker on behalf of TIFF and FIAF on 8 September. “He has created immersive and enchanting worlds that resonate with audiences of all ages. All the while, he has been a passionate advocate for the role of film archives and cinematheques in preserving our cinema heritage. This FIAF Award recognizes his invaluable contributions to cinema, and acknowledges his profound impact as a champion for moving image preservation.”

Guillermo del Toro said: “I am deeply honored that FIAF has seen fit to present me with this award. There is no more important cause in our art form than the preservation of the film medium for future audiences and generations of creators. I am pleased to contribute to that effort.”