Monday, September 13, 2010

Toronto International Film Festival.....A Premier Act

David Szusuki at the Toronto International Film Festival

Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Hosted by Toronto International Film Festival Group
Number of films 300 - 400
Language International

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a publicly-attended non-competitive film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The festival begins the Thursday night after Labour Day (the first Monday in September in Canada) and generally lasts for ten days (although the 2010 festival is eleven days). Between 300-400 films are screened at approximately 37 screens in downtown Toronto venues. Total attendance at TIFF has exceeded 250,000 in the last few years, with figures from the most recent 2009 edition at 287,000 for public and industry admissions and a further 239,000 from the free programming scheduled at Yonge-Dundas Square.[1]

Founded in 1976, the TIFF is now one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. In 1998, Variety magazine acknowledged that "the Festival is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity." Quoted by the National Post in 1999, Roger Ebert claimed "...although Cannes is still larger, Toronto is just as great...." In 2007, Time noted that the festival had "grown from its place as the most influential fall film festival to the most influential film festival, period."[2] It is the premiere film festival in North America from which the Oscar race begins.

The festival was once centred around the Yorkville neighbourhood, but the Toronto Entertainment District has now overtaken Yorkville in its importance to TIFF.[3] The festival is known for the celebrity buzz it brings to the Yorkville area with international media setting up near its restaurants and stores for photos and interviews with the stars. With the Fall 2010 opening of the Bell Lightbox,[4] the festival's permanent home in the Entertainment District, it seems likely that the festival will increasingly spread out from its traditional centre to embrace other locations in the city.[5] Content-wise, though the festival has begun to give more attention to mainstream Hollywood films, it still maintains its focus on independent cinema. It features retrospectives of national cinemas and individual directors, highlights of Canadian cinema, as well as a variety of African, South American, and Asian films.

The festival is considered the launching pad for many studios to begin "Oscar-buzz" for their films due to the festival's easy-going non-competitive nature, relatively inexpensive costs (when compared to say European festivals), eager film-fluent audiences and convenient timing.[6][7][8] In recent years, films such as American Beauty, Taylor Hackford's Ray premiered at the festival and garnered much attention for Jamie Foxx's portrayal of Ray Charles (for which he ultimately won the Academy Award for Best Actor); and Slumdog Millionaire, that went on to win 8 Oscars at the 2009 Academy Awards. Precious, which won the 2009 People's Choice Award at the festival, went on to win 2 Oscars at the 2010 Academy Awards.

The Director and CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival has been Piers Handling since 1994. In 2004, Noah Cowan became Co-Director of the Festival. In late 2007, Cowan was promoted to Artistic Director of Bell Lightbox, the Toronto International Film Festival Group's (TIFFG) future home, while long-time programmer Cameron Bailey succeeded as Co-Director.

Extract from Wikipedia. Please click here.

Please click here to be taken to the TIFF, webpage.

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