The curtain is rising on the 46th season of the Toronto International Film Festival and this year promises to take patrons on a journey around the world.
In keeping with efforts to provide patrons with a safe viewing experience, TIFF is once again offering a combination of in-person and virtual events. Beginning September 9, screenings will begin at venues across the city including TIFF Bell Lightbox, Roy Thomson Hall, the Visa Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Scotiabank Theatre, and Ontario Place’s Festival Village.
“We can’t wait for it to start,” says TIFF Executive Director Cameron Bailey, who says this year’s show required the organization to once again take on the challenge of COVID-19 when planning the event.
He says every effort has been made to ensure patrons experience a safe and comfortable event, while still feeling the same excitement and grandeur of TIFF. Drive-in and open-air cinema screenings are one of this year’s unique offerings. Paired with virtual offerings, this year will once again draw huge crowds from around the world.
“The TIFF audience is the world’s largest public film festival with half a million attendees,” says Bailey adding that Toronto is one of the first places many films are screened before hitting the international market such as NOMAD which won the People’s Choice Award when it was featured at the festival.
This year promises to be equally unique in its film offerings with new categories being added to reflect the growing diversity in media platforms such as film series. Among these is Colin in Black and White, a limited series that chronicles what inspired activist and athlete Colin Kaepernick to risk his livelihood in support of civil rights.
Many celebrity special guests will also be walking the red carpet during the event providing insight into their films and inspiration. The event will also feature several ‘In Conversation’ programs throughout the festival featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kenneth Branagh, Kristen Stewart, and Steven Yeun.
The festival is also expanding its accessibility offerings so that patrons can enjoy closed captioning for films screened digitally. He says COVID and other social factors have continued to drive the event to improve its audience reach so that more people can enjoy the event.
“We have been through a hard year and a half, but it has inspired us to take the event in new and different directions,” he says, adding the festival has worked to ensure that anyone who can’t make the event in person can still enjoy it no matter where in the world they are located. “We found from last year that we can respond to whatever world events are thrown at us. Once this is behind us we want to keep what we have learned and continue to have access to audiences who can’t make it.”
Bailey believes audiences are ready to get out and enjoy the festival again after nearly two years of hybrid and limited programming. He notes this is one of Canada’s most anticipated events and that his team has once again risen to the challenge of creating an exciting and engaging event for audiences.
To learn more about this year’s event or purchase tickets, visit www.tiff.net