Director Steve McQueen's film 12 Years a Slave won him the highest honor at the Toronto International Film Festival, the BlackBerry People’s Choice Award. McQueen's film is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from Saratoga Springs, New York who was captured and sold into slavery in 1841. As the name suggests, the winner of the award is determined by audience voting, not a committee, so it's kind of a big deal.

Prior to this award, you may have encountered McQueen's work via Kanye West. The director's Lynching Tree photograph was the backdrop for Yeezy's "Blood on the Leaves" performance at this year's MTV Video Music Awards. McQueen is not brand new at directing, but we hope these recent accomplishments put him on more people's radar.

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[via NYTimes]