Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto International Film Festival
people milling around King Street in front of TIFF Bell Lightbox, with rails and ropes set up around  carpets in front of the building
The festival is headquartered at TIFF Bell Lightbox, which opened in 2010
Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Founded 1976
No. of films fewest, 85 (1978); most, 460 (1984) [1]
Language International
Website www.tiff.net

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF, 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 year-round destination for film culture operating out of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, a dynamic centre for film culture that offers visitors a presentation that includes new releases, live film events and an interactive gallery.

Year-round, 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 [2] 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, [3] TIFF is now one of the 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". [4] This is partially the result of TIFF's ability and reputation for generating " Oscar buzz". [5]

The festival's People's Choice Award—which is based on audience balloting—has emerged as an indicator of awards-season success. Past recipients of this audience accolade include Room, The Imitation Game, 12 Years a Slave, The King's Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, Silver Linings Playbook, and La La Land.

Background

The Toronto International Film Festival began 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, [6] 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. [7]

TIFF was once centred on the Yorkville neighbourhood, but the Toronto Entertainment District later gained a greater level of prominence. [8] [9] 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.

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.

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