|Location||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Founded||1976; 44 years ago|
|No. of films||Fewest, 50 (2020); most, 460 (1984)|
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF, often stylized as tiff) is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world, attracting over 480,000 people annually. Since its founding in 1976, TIFF has grown to become a permanent destination for film culture operating out of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, located in downtown Toronto. TIFF's mission is "to transform the way people see the world through film".
Year-round, the TIFF Bell Lightbox offers screenings, lectures, discussions, festivals, workshops, industry support, and the chance to meet filmmakers from Canada and around the world. TIFF Bell Lightbox is located on the north west corner of King Street and John Street in downtown Toronto.
In 2016, 397 films from 83 countries were screened at 28 screens in downtown Toronto venues, welcoming an estimated 480,000 attendees, over 5,000 of whom were industry professionals.TIFF starts the Thursday night after Labour Day (the first Monday in September in Canada) and lasts for eleven days.
Founded in 1976, TIFF is now one of the largest and most prestigious events of its kind in the world.In 1998, Variety magazine acknowledged that TIFF "is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars, and market activity". In 2007, Time noted that TIFF had "grown from its place as the most influential fall film festival to the most influential film festival, period". This is partially the result of the festival's ability and reputation for generating "Oscar buzz".
The festival's People's Choice Award—which is based on audience balloting—has emerged as an indicator of success during awards season, especially at the Academy Awards. Past recipients of this award include Oscar-winning films, such as Life Is Beautiful (1998), American Beauty (1999), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), The King's Speech (2010), 12 Years a Slave (2013), La La Land (2016), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), Green Book (2018), and Jojo Rabbit (2019).
The festival's current executive director and co-head is Joana Vicente.The festival's artistic director and co-head is Cameron Bailey.
The 2020 Toronto International Film Festival took place from 10th to 21st September 2020.
The Toronto International Film Festival was first launched as the Toronto Festival of Festivals, collecting the best films from other film festivals around the world and showing them to eager audiences in Toronto. Founded by Bill Marshall, Dusty Cohl, and Henk Van der Kolk,the inaugural event took place from October 18 through 24, 1976. That first year, 35,000 filmgoers watched 127 films from 30 countries presented in ten programmes. Piers Handling has been the festival's director and CEO since 1994, while Noah Cowan became co-director of TIFF in 2004. In late 2007, Cowan became the artistic director of TIFF Bell Lightbox, while longtime programmer Cameron Bailey succeeded as co-director. As of 2013, Bailey is now the artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as TIFF Bell Lightbox's year round programming.
TIFF was once centred on the Yorkville neighbourhood, but the Toronto Entertainment District later gained a greater level of prominence.TIFF is known for the celebrity buzz it brings to the area with international media setting up near its restaurants and stores for photos and interviews with the stars. In 2010, TIFF opened its permanent headquarters, TIFF Bell Lightbox, a year-round home for the appreciation of film in the heart of downtown Toronto, although TIFF films are still screened at a wider variety of venues, including the Scotiabank Theatre Toronto, rather than exclusively at the Lightbox.
TIFF has grown, steadily adding initiatives throughout the years. TIFF Cinematheque (formerly Cinematheque Ontario) and the Film Reference Library (FRL) opened in 1990. The TIFF Kids International Film Festival (formerly Sprockets) launched in 1998. Film Circuit began exhibiting independent and Canadian films in under-serviced cities across Canada in 1994.
The festival was founded in 1976 at the Windsor Arms Hotel by Bill Marshall, Henk Van der Kolk and Dusty Cohl.Beginning as a collection of the best-regarded films from film festivals around the world, it had an inaugural attendance of 35,000. Ironically, however, Hollywood studios withdrew their submissions from TIFF due to concerns that Toronto audiences would be too parochial for their products.
In 1978, the decision was made to replace the name "Festival of Festivals" with "Toronto International Film Festival" as well as a move to a new location for the festival, moving from the Harbour Castle Hotel to the Plaza II, and also a new director, with Wayne Clark replacing Marshall. The number of galas increased from one to two per night and the Canadian Film Awards were incorporated into the festival.From 1994 to 2009, the umbrella organization running TIFF was named "Toronto International Film Festival Group" (TIFFG). In 2009, the umbrella organization TIFFG was renamed to TIFF.
In 2001, Perspective Canada, the programme that had focused on Canadian films since 1984, was replaced by two programmes:
Otherwise, Canadian films are now simply included alongside international films in the other film programs rather than being grouped as a dedicated Canadian film stream.
In 2004, TIFF was featured as the site of murder mystery in the film Jiminy Glick in Lalawood , a comedy film starring Martin Short.
In 2007, it was announced that the organization generates an estimated annual impact of $67 million CAD.By 2011, that benefit had grown to $170 million CAD.
In 2008, Rose McGowan caused controversy at a TIFF press conference for her film Fifty Dead Men Walking , when she noted that "I imagine, had I grown up in Belfast, I would 100% have been in the IRA".
In 2009, TIFF's decision to spotlight films from Tel Aviv created a controversy with protesters, saying it was part of an attempt to re-brand Israelin a positive light after the January 2009 Gaza War.
In 2017, TIFF reduced the number of films screened compared to the 2016 festivalwith 255 feature-length films in 2017 vs about 400 films in 2016, and also eliminated two venues that had been used in prior years.
In 2019, it was reported that due to a request from its owner, Cineplex Entertainment, no TIFF films distributed by subscription video-on-demand services (specifically Amazon Video and Netflix) are being screened at Scotiabank Theatre—which has been considered the "primary" venue of the festival.
The 2020 version announced that it would be both in-person and virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that film screening would be "masks optional". It was criticized for creating a potential superspreader event as the social nature of the festival could increase the risk for COVID-19 transmission.The festival reversed the decision within 24 hours citing a surge of new cases in Ontario.
Films such as American Beauty , Ray , Mr. Nobody , 127 Hours , Black Swan , The Five Obstructions , Singapore Sling , and I Am Love have premiered at TIFF. Jamie Foxx's portrayal of Ray Charles ultimately won him the Academy Award for Best Actor while Slumdog Millionaire went on to win eight Oscars at the 2009 Academy Awards. Precious , which won the 2009 TIFF People's Choice Award, went on to win two Oscars at the 82nd Academy Awards. The King's Speech , the winner of the 2010 TIFF People's Choice Award, won four Oscars at the 83rd Academy Awards, while Silver Linings Playbook , the winner of the 2012 TIFF People's Choice Award, went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence. In 2019, the festival opened with Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band , the first time the festival ever opened with a Canadian documentary film.
Many Hollywood studios premiere their films in Toronto due to TIFF's easy-going non-competitive nature, relatively inexpensive costs (when compared to European festivals), eager film-fluent audiences and convenient timing.
In 2007, the Festival Group began construction on TIFF Bell Lightbox, a new facility at the corner of King and John Streets in downtown Toronto, on land donated by Ivan Reitman and family. The $181 million facility is named for founding sponsor Bell Canada, with additional support from the Government of Ontario and Government of Canada.
In 2010, the organization opened its new headquarters at TIFF Bell Lightbox. The facility, designed by local firm KPMB Architects, provides extensive year-round galleries, cinemas, archives and activities for cinephiles.The five-storey facility contains five cinemas, two gallery spaces, film archives and an extensive reference library, study spaces, film lab facility, and a research centre. There is also a gift shop, two restaurants, a lounge, a cafe, and a three-storey atrium. Cooperatively with Daniels Corporation, there is a 46-storey condominium atop, called the Festival Tower.
The first film screening was Bruce McDonald's Trigger . The first exhibition was a retrospective on Tim Burton, organized by the Museum of Modern Art (New York City). Subsequent exhibitions include Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions, Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess, Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style, and Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, all of which were organized by TIFF, as well as one called Essential Cinema, featuring posters, images and props from TIFF's The Essential 100 list of films.
The Film Reference Library (FRL) is a large Canadian film research collection. The library is a free resource for film lovers, filmmakers, students, scholars, and journalists, and is located on the fourth floor of the TIFF Bell Lightbox. An affiliate member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), the FRL promotes Canadian and global film scholarship by collecting, preserving, and providing access to a comprehensive collection of film prints, and film-related reference resources (including books, periodicals, scripts, research files, movies, press kits, and about 80 special collections.
In 2016, the festival received a donation of 1,400 film prints, and launched a campaign to raise money for the preservation and storage of the films.
Each year, TIFF releases a Canada's Top Ten list of the films selected by a poll of festival programmers across Canada as the ten best Canadian feature and short films of the year, regardless of whether or not they were screened at TIFF.The films selected are announced in December each year.
Previously, the winning films were screened at a smaller follow-up "Canada's Top Ten" festival at the Lightbox the following January, with a People's Choice Award then presented for that minifestival.In 2018, TIFF announced a change, under which instead of a dedicated festival, each Top Ten film will receive its own standalone theatrical run at the Lightbox throughout the year.
Since 1984, every decade TIFF has also produced a Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time list. This list is produced from a wider poll of film industry professionals and academics throughout Canada, separately from the annual top-ten list.
The festival's major prize, the People's Choice Award, is given to a feature-length film. It is not a juried prize, but is given to the film with the highest ratings as voted by the TIFF-going populace.It is presently referred to as the "Grolsch People's Choice Award"; past sponsors of the award have included Cadillac. The winners of this award have often later earned Academy Award nominations. People's Choice Awards are also presented for Documentary and Midnight Madness films. Each of the People's Choice Awards names first and second runners-up in addition to the winners.
However, TIFF does present juried awards in some other categories. The festival presents three major awards for Canadian films: Best Canadian Film, Best Canadian First Feature Film, and Best Canadian Short Film, as well as awards for Best International Short Film, two FIPRESCI-sponsored International Critics' Prizes for the Special Presentation and Discovery programs, and a NETPAC Prize for the best film from Asia having its world premiere at the festival.
In 2015, the festival introduced Platform, a juried programme that champions director's cinema from around the world; one film from the stream is selected as the winner of the Platform Prize.
For all of the juried awards, honorable mentions may also be given, although the juries are expected to select one overall winner.
For 2019, TIFF announced two new awards, the TIFF Impact Award to honour production companies for work that has had an impact on the film industry, and the Mary Pickford Award to honour an emerging female filmmaker.In the same year the festival introduced the TIFF Tribute Awards, a gala ceremony at which distinguished actors and filmmakers are honoured for their lifetime career achievements; unlike most award categories, the Tribute Award honorees are named in advance of the festival.
The hundreds of films screened at the annual festival are divided into sections (referred to by TIFF as "Programmes") based on genre (e.g. documentary, children's films), format (e.g. short films, television episodes), the status of filmmaker (e.g. "masters", first-time directors), and so forth. Up until the early 2010s there were sections reserved for Canadian films, but beginning in 2015 all Canadian films are integrated in sections with films from outside Canada.
Currently the festival's 14 sections are as follows:
In previous years, sections at TIFF have included Perspectives Canada, Canada First!, City to City (2009 to 2016), Future Projections, Vanguard (up to 2016), and Visions (up to 2011).
In 2016, TIFF hosted 1,800 members of the press and print media outlets such as the Toronto Star , The Globe and Mail , The New York Times , The Times of India , Los Angeles Times , The Philadelphia Inquirer , Miami Herald , and the Toronto Sun have published a significant amount of festival coverage.Also, the major industry trade magazines Variety , The Hollywood Reporter and Screen International all produce daily editions during TIFF. TIFF reports also appear in weekly news magazines; American, Canadian and international entertainment shows; news services; and a wide range of film and celebrity blogs.
Bruce McDonald is a Canadian film and television director, writer and producer. He is known for his award-winning cult films Roadkill (1989) and Hard Core Logo (1996).
Ingrid Veninger is a Canadian actress, writer, director, producer, and film professor at York University. Veninger began her career in show business as a child actor in commercials and on television; as a teen, she was featured in the CBC series Airwaves (1986–1987) and the CBS series Friday the 13th: The Series (1987–1990). In the 1990s, she branched out into producing, and, in 2003, she founded her own production company, pUNK Films, through which she began to work on her own projects as a writer and director.
Katie Boland is a Canadian actress, writer, director, and producer. She began her career as a child actress in film and television and has since branched out into adult roles, in addition to writing, directing, and producing her own projects.
Dusty Mancinelli is a Canadian independent filmmaker from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Mancinelli is primarily a director of short films. Several of his films have been shown at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and other notable film festivals worldwide, winning numerous awards. Since 2017, he has collaborated with Madeleine Sims-Fewer. Their debut feature film Violation is to be shown at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival.
TIFF Bell Lightbox is a cultural centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located in the first five floors of the Bell Lightbox and Festival Tower on the north west corner of King Street and John Street.
The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is the world's largest Indigenous film and media arts festival, held annually in Toronto in the month of October. The festival focuses on the film, video, radio, and new media work of Indigenous, Aboriginal and First Peoples from around the world. The festival includes screenings, parties, panel discussions, and cultural events.
Connor William Jessup is a Canadian actor, writer, and director. He is known for his roles as Ben Mason on the TNT science fiction television series Falling Skies (2011–2015), Taylor Blaine and Coy Henson in the ABC anthology series American Crime (2016–2017), and Tyler Locke in the Netflix series Locke & Key (2020). He has also starred in feature films, most notably in the award-winning Blackbird (2012) and Closet Monster (2015).
The Italian Contemporary Film Festival (ICFF) is a publicly attended film festival that takes place in Toronto, Ontario during the month of June in celebration of Ontario’s Italian Heritage Month. The festival programs both films from Italy, and Canadian films about Italian-Canadian culture.
Noah Cowan was the executive director of SFFILM from March 2014 to May 2019. He oversaw the organization's exhibition, education and filmmaker services. Before joining SFFILM, Cowan was the artistic director of TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Andrew Cividino is a Canadian film director and screenwriter. He is best known for his feature film directorial debut Sleeping Giant, which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and for his frequent work as a director on the Emmy winning comedy Schitt's Creek, for which he won a Primetime Emmy at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards.
The Toronto International Film Festival Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film is an annual film award, presented by the Toronto International Film Festival to a film judged to be the best Canadian feature film made by a first-time director.
The Toronto International Film Festival Award for Best Canadian Film is an annual juried film award, presented by the Toronto International Film Festival to a film judged to be the best Canadian feature film. As of 2017, the award is sponsored by the Canada Goose clothing company, and known as the "Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film".
Buffer Festival is an international digital video festival, held annually in Toronto, Ontario. The festival, founded in 2013 by Corey Vidal, Corrado Coia, and Samantha Fall of the ApprenticeA YouTube channel, showcases the talent of online video creators who have debuted their work on YouTube. Buffer Festival has been called "The Digital version of the Toronto International Film Festival" and "The World's first festival dedicated to YouTube content".
Larry Weinstein is a Canadian film director of theatrical and television documentaries, performance films, and dramas. The majority of his films centre on musical subjects and the depiction of the creative process, while his other subjects range from the horrors of war to the pleasures of football.
Johnny Ma is a Chinese-Canadian film director and screenwriter. He is best known for his debut feature film Old Stone, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2016. The film won the awards for Best Canadian First Feature Film at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, and Best First Feature at the 5th Canadian Screen Awards in 2017. His second feature To Live To Sing premiered at the Director's Fortnight Section of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
The Toronto International Film Festival Award for Best Canadian Short Film is an annual film award, presented by the Toronto International Film Festival to a film judged to be the best Canadian short film of the festival. As of 2017, the award is sponsored by International Watch Company and known as the "IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Short Film".
Canada's Top Ten is an annual honour, compiled by the Toronto International Film Festival and announced in December each year to identify and promote the year's best Canadian films. The list was first introduced in 2001 as an initiative to help publicize Canadian films.
Molly McGlynn is a Canadian film and television director and screenwriter. She is most noted for her feature film debut Mary Goes Round, for which she won the Jay Scott Prize from the Toronto Film Critics Association.
nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up is a Canadian documentary film, directed by Tasha Hubbard and released in 2019. The film centres on the 2016 death of Colten Boushie, and depicts his family's struggle to attain justice after the controversial acquittal of Boushie's killer. Narrated by Hubbard, the film also includes a number of animated segments which contextualize the broader history of indigenous peoples of Canada.
The 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, the 45th event in the Toronto International Film Festival series, was held from September 10 to 21, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, the festival took place primarily on an online streaming platform, although limited in-person screenings still took place within the constraints of social distancing restrictions.
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