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Gavin Hood's 'Tsotsi' wins People's Choice at Toronto

Gavin Hood's film "Tsotsi" nabbed the People's Choice Award at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, topping a list of 335 films despite little media coverage.

"I like the fact that we're running so many good films from around the world and the size of it gives us the opportunity to do that, to run both the big-budget films as well as the young, first-time filmmakers, the discovery films," said Piers Handling, the festival's director and chief executive officer.

"Tsotsi" won on Saturday.

In the eyes of film critic Roger Ebert, the Toronto festival is the most significant in North America because it's held in the fall and represents the formal kickoff to Oscar season. He called this year's event the best Toronto festival he could remember.

The stars did shine at the 10-day festival, including Charlize Theron, Johnny Depp, Cameron Diaz, Heath Ledger, Pierce Brosnan, Reese Witherspoon, Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson and Madonna.

"The city's been wonderful," said first-time festival visitor, rapper LL Cool J, who has a dramatic role in the new crime drama "Edison," also starring Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman and Justin Timberlake.

Some of the 40 to 50 films that were sold include "Thank You for Smoking," "Fetching Cody," "Harsh Times," "C.R.A.Z.Y.," "Look Both Ways," "Sunflower, A.K.A. Tommy Chong," "Iberia" and "Headbanger's Journey."