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TIFF List: 8 Facts About the TIFF Bell Lightbox

The Toronto International Film Festival is ramping up for its 35th excellent year, with more than 300 movies showing between September 9 and 19. Follow this space in the days leading up to TIFF 2010 for features on much-anticipated premieres, the Bell Lightbox—the festival’s exciting new headquarters—and scads of sites at which to spot visiting celebrities. During the festival itself, we’ll bring you details on each day’s film offerings plus what to do before or after your screening.

Ten years in the making, the TIFF Bell Lightbox finally opens on September 12 as the permanent headquarters of North America’s most influential film festival. More importantly, thanks to theatres, galleries, restaurants and a learning centre, the five-storey site gives cinephiles a year-round gathering place. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the KPMB-designed building’s numerous amenities.

1 A wide arcade leads visitors to the Lightbox’s main entrance along King Street West and doubles as a red carpet area for VIP screenings. Inside, the three-storey atrium houses a box office, boutique, and a floating orange “Master Control” booth that manages the building’s movie screens.

2 Just off the main entrance lie the O&B Canteen—a 3,500-square-foot bistro serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily—and a gallery space meant to accommodate a variety of exhibitions, including this month’s Essential Cinema showcase, and a display of film-related artwork by Tim Burton opening in late November.

3 The building houses five multi-purpose public theatres. Its two main cinemas (the largest seats 550 viewers, is 3D-capable, and has an orchestra pit, enabling live accompaniment for silent films) will screen festival films and more on the second floor.

4 Oliver & Bonacini’s second restaurant space is an upscale resto-lounge dubbed Luma, featuring dishes created by acclaimed executive chef Jason Bangerter. The 50-seat terrace overlooking King and John streets is certain to become one of the Entertainment District’s most sought-after perches.

5 TIFF’s promotion of the cinematic arts goes far beyond the film festival itself. The Lightbox’s third floor features a learning centre where students, scholars and filmmakers can come together to pursue their passion. Screenings for TIFF Cinematheque, a year-round series of important international films, also take place here.

6 Our national cinema gets its due on the fourth floor, which houses the Canadian Film Gallery and an extensive soon-to-open reference library.

7 Star-studded soirees have long been a part of film-festival culture; they’re sure to be the norm at Malaparte, an event space—complete with a large rooftop terrace and outdoor amphitheatre—named for the Italian villa featured in Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris.

8 Sprouting from the TIFF Bell Lightbox is a sleek 46-storey residential condo known as Festival Tower. Several Canadian film stars, including director/producer Ivan Reitman, are rumoured to have purchased units.

Tomorrow: 6 VIP-Friendly Lounges

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