Issue: September 2015 - The TIFF Issue

Theatrical evolution: a history of TIFF ‘s relationship to Yonge and Bloor

Toronto is changing. Nowhere is it clearer than in the downtown core. Large parts of the city’s centre are being torn down and rebuilt, notably Regent Park. Industrial lands are being transformed into condos, such as CitySpace, Liberty Village and the Distillery, and thanks to the recent PanAm Games, our waterfront is finally getting attention. Perhaps the biggest change is the Yonge Street strip, particularly between Dundas and Bloor. Nestled between what was once hippie Yorkville to the north and Toronto’s seedy underbelly to the south, this part of Yonge contained old, decrepit buildings, seedy massage parlours, and dive...

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Who is the Canadian Tom Hardy? A City to City match game

This year, the Toronto International Film Festival is focusing its City to City programme on one of the world’s most renowned cultural centres: London. The pairing makes sense, since London and Toronto have much in common: both are world-class hubs for film culture and media; both have recently hosted large athletic competitions; and both have amazing subway systems. (Okay, maybe London has the edge with city transit.) Regardless, as filmmaking hubs just out of Hollywood’s grasp, England and Canada have a wealth of talented actors and directors. As Toronto prepares to welcome London’s finest new filmmakers, TFS wanted to...

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For the love of short film: why filmmakers choose short film to tell a story

Short filmmaking is an art form worthy of celebration. It’s not only a place for artists to get their work noticed, but for some, it is a way to have fun and challenge the artistic medium. These films often tackle themes and narratives of a socio-cultural and political context, which shape and influence how we experience ourselves, and the world around, us via film. Frequently, short filmmaking also has a community aspect among artists and filmmakers. In developing this identity, new ways are established to get filmmakers recognized for the positive aspects of their craft. Creating a short film...

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Rolling out the red carpet: veteran TIFF volunteer Judith MacLean

Volunteers are the backbone of most major cultural organizations like the Toronto International Film Festival; it simply cannot function without them. TIFF has one of the largest volunteer databases in the world for an annual event, numbering around 3,500 strong. Many of these volunteers have been involved with the festival for years, often having more experience than many of the staff. Judith MacLean is one such volunteer, who after 22 years, continues to be an enthusiastic TIFF volunteer. Judith became involved with TIFF in the early ’90s, volunteering to assist a friend at the late Uptown Theatre. She only...

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How to festival politely: a TIFF etiquette guide

So, you want to attend a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. If you’ve never been to TIFF, you may erroneously believe it’s just another day at the movies, but you’d be wrong. Screenings at TIFF are an inimitable experience: there’s a great deal of activity behind the scenes, the crowds are staggering and the high concentration of celebrities electrifies the city for two full weeks. In the midst of all this excitement, there are plenty of opportunities for etiquette faux pas, awkward encounters and other poor behaviour. You’re likely a pretty cool person, but even the most...

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The thrill of discovery: elements of a great festival film

In the film world, most people have a general sense of what a festival movie is, even if it’s usually an ephemeral idea instead of a concrete one. It’s kind of like pornography: you know it is when you see it. Moreover, while it’s generally easy to identity a festival film, it’s often hard to pin down what constitutes a great one. What exactly is the difference between an excellent festival film and a bad one? What elements are present in great festival films that make them so? And are these the same sorts of elements found in successful...

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TIFF 2015 introduces a Platform for the best in film

One of the unique traits of the Toronto International Film Festival has always been that the audience, not a jury of filmmakers, critics, and academics, determines its top prize. After every festival screening, viewers can vote for the film they like best to determine the winner of the People’s Choice Award, which is theoretically a coveted indicator of future Oscar glory. However, in its 40th incarnation, TIFF is changing this manner of determining the best film at the festival — sort of. It just depends upon your definition of “best.” TIFF has introduced Platform, a new programme that seeks...

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