• eat
  • shop
  • see
  • go
  • stay
  • daytrip
  • map
  • calendar
  • transport
  • weather
  • currency
  • tofrom


Stargazing at the Toronto International Film Festival



Hailee Steinfeld stars in The Edge of Seventeen directed and written by Kelly Fremon Craig. Photo courtesy of TIFF.

It wouldn’t be TIFF without the glitzy galas and big names walking the red carpet. Amy Adams is anticipated at the world premiere of Québécois director Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, a sci-fi flick about the panic-filled reaction to alien spacecraft landing on earth. Catch even more drama—and perhaps a glimpse of Marky-Mark—at the gala presentation for Deepwater Horizon, a disaster story about the sinking of an oil rig by the same name. In Snowden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is transformed into ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden who leaked thousands of classified documents to the press. Written and directed by Oliver Stone, the ensemble cast includes Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, and Nicholas Cage. Queen of Katwe featuring Oscar–winner Lupita Nyong’o is the uplifting story of a young Ugandan girl who follows her dreams of becoming an international chess champion. And finally, the coming-of-age story The Edge of Seventeen closes the festivities on September 18, starring Hailee Steinfeld as a high school student who becomes despondent when her older brother starts dating her best friend; Kyra Sedgwick co-stars as her clueless mom while Woody Harrelson dons the mentor role.

A Map to the Stars

This time of year, Toronto lives up to its name as Hollywood North what with the numerous opportunities for celebrity spotting. Get those cameras ready; you just never know who you’ll see when walking down the street.

The city’s luxe neighbourhood Bloor-Yorkville is a good starting point. Many stars make hotels in this area their home away from home during the festival. Do some window shopping at the likes of Tiffany & Co., Cartier, and Holt Renfrew, where famous faces have been known to spend some down time engaging in retail therapy. Or grab a table at Yorkville favourites like La Société, Kasa Moto, Café Boulud, and Dbar for a star stakeout.

Hang out around the members-only Soho House (192 Adelaide St.) for a celebrity encounter, which is known to host private parties. The Lobby Lounge at the Shangri-La Hotel (188 University Ave.) has a decadent tea service, perfect for a languid afternoon watching for actors and actresses who are staying at the establishment. Located within walking distance to the TIFF Bell Lightbox and Roy Thomson Hall, the Ritz-Carlton (181 Wellington St. W.) has hosted the likes of George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. Its Spa My Blends by Clarins and Deq Terrace & Lounge are both sure to attract A-listers looking to get themselves camera-ready before a premiere or unwind after a screening. Likewise at The Thompson Hotel (550 Wellington St. W.), which has previously been the residence of choice for Bradley Cooper and James Franco. The ultra hip Rooftop Lounge with a stunning view of the Toronto skyline is a popular party place.  —Karen Stevens


A Celebration of Cinema: TIFF 2016


Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in La La Land. Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in La La Land. Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Each September, film buffs and hopeful celebrity-spotters alike flock to the city for the Toronto International Film Festival, the annual star-studded event that runs from September 8 to 18. This year’s line up has 49 special presentations and 19 gala screenings, offering a variety of films from Canada and around the world.

Opening up the festival is the world premiere of the The Magnificent Seven, with an all-star cast including Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Byung-hun Lee, Peter Sarsgaard, Vince D’Onofrio, and Jody Mullins. Director Antoine Fuqua’s modern remake sees outlaws, hired guns, bounty hunters and other ne’er-do-wells banding together to protect a small town against a greedy villain.

Celebrated Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan brings his Cannes Grand Prix-winning film It’s Only the End of the World to the festival. The story about the reunion of a dysfunctional family stars French actors like Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux and Nathalie Baye. Canadian author Carol Shields’ best-selling novel, Unless, makes its way to the silver screen starring Oscar–nominated Catherine Keener as the mother of a runaway daughter who becomes a panhandler on the streets of Toronto.

In another literary adaptation, Philip Roth’s 1997 crime drama American Pastoral is brought to life through the directorial debut of Ewan McGregor, who also stars alongside Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning. Similarly, television host and rapper Nick Cannon can be found both behind the camera and in front of it in King of the Dancehall, a musical set in Jamaica.

Other special presentations include Lion, starring Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and Dev Patel, which is based on the true story of a man who used Google Earth to locate his birth parents 25 years later. Fans of The Rolling Stones can get satisfaction by getting a backstage glimpse of the legendary English rockers in a new documentary Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America. Or, get your fill of the current POTUS before he leaves with office with Barry, a biopic about Barack Obama’s college days. Crazy, Stupid, Love co-stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are paired together once again in Damien Chazelle’s musical, La La Land about a jazz pianist and aspiring actress who fall in love.

How to get Into the Festival

Single tickets run from $25 to $49, with rush tickets from $20 to $40. A number of packages can also be purchased starting at $85; see tiff.net, call 1-888-599-8433 or visit the Steve & Rashmi Gupta Box Office at 350 King St. W. for complete options.  —Karen Stevens

Jerusalem: The IMAX 3D Experience

JER Film Stills 007_Damascus_Farah.091784

Experience one of the most historically significant and culturally diverse cities in the world without getting on a plane — the striking imagery and immersive effects of IMAX 3D will bring you into the heart of the city in the  film Jerusalem.

Daniel Ferguson — who directed, wrote, and produced the film — studied religious theology in university. “I had never really found anyone to have an intelligent conversation about religion with,” he said. But after taking some religious studies courses with some “very cool professors”, Ferguson realized how fascinated he was by the study of religion. He’s now worked on several film projects and when approached to work on this one, was delighted by the opportunity to tell a story of Jerusalem that took an approach beyond the usual references to political conflict.

The film was not an easy one to make; it took over three years, 12 trips, and plenty of negotiation with religious and political authorities in the city to make. Ferguson says it was difficult to get access to some of the sites they wanted to film, but timing — and being able to make several trips to Jerusalem, a diverse, collaborative crew and the persuasive power of the IMAX brand all contributed to their ability to get the shots they needed to tell the story.

While the film certainly depicts the traditions of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religions, it doesn’t advocate for any religion and it does a good job of taking an apolitical approach. It’s more of a human interest story, showcasing some of the customs, rituals, traditions, and lifestyles that take place daily, and during special religious occasions, throughout the city. Travel buffs will love the stunning footage and sweeping aerial views of the city — a rare sight, since planes are not allowed to fly in the airspace over Jerusalem.

Fans of the popular show Sherlock will recognize the British-accented voice of the narrator: Benedict Cumberbatch guides viewers through the film with explanations and insights of the footage. When Cumberbatch isn’t narrating, three teen girls from Jerusalem lead us through the important practices and rituals that are a part of their daily and annual routines. The result is an honest, informal perspective that presents Jerusalem as it is to these young women, rather than how it is perceived to be by any outside party.

JER Post Prod J7A1915

Ferguson and Cumberbatch in post-production.

Jerusalem 3D is the first film to be shown in the newly renovated digital IMAX theatre at the Telus World of Science — Edmonton. Visit www.telusworldofscienceedmonton.com for a list of daily showtimes. IMAX films cost $8.50 – $12.95, and are discounted when General Admission to the rest of the exhibits is purchased.

6 Films To See at CIFF This Weekend

Catch the Black Carpet Gala premiere of Antiviral. Photo: Courtesy CIFF.

It’s the final weekend of the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF), and there are still so many great films to see! Here are some that you cannot miss:

Friday, September 28 Horror and mystery fans will want to catch the Black Carpet Gala premiere of Antiviral. Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, (that’s right, son of Canadian auteur David Cronenberg), Antiviral follows a young man working for a mysterious corporation that sells the viruses of celebrities to their fans. When he becomes infected with a starlet’s disease, he must solve the mystery of what killed her in order to save his own life. The film screens at 7:15 pm at the Globe Cinema.

Also at the Globe, French actress and director Julie Delpy’s new comedy, 2 Days in New York (co-starring Chris Rock) plays at 6:45 pm. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Thursday Sep 20 – Sunday Sep 23

Dean and Britta at performing until Saturday. Photo: Courtesy Theatre Junction GRAND.

Thursday, September 20 Be sure to check out the Calgary Home + Design Show at the BMO Centre, running until Sunday, September 23. The weekend event will feature inspirational design solutions and helpful home advice. The show will host over 350 exhibitors and a variety of industry experts including Sarah Daniels and Philip DuMoulin, hosts of HGTV’s Urban Suburban; Bruce Hopkins (more…)

Spotlight East: The Atlantic Film Festival Brings Hollywood Insiders to Halifax

Highlights of the AFF include Disappeared

Highlights of the AFF include The Disappeared
Photo: Michael Tompkins

For over 30 years Halifax’s thriving filmmaking industry has exploded every September. As home to the Atlantic Film Festival, the city has welcomed filmmakers, actors and fans from all over the world into its theatres. “We’re probably the biggest film festival in the region,” says festival director Lia Rinaldo, boasting about the local talent. “The heart and soul of our programs is all of the Atlantic films…we have a huge community here.”

This year’s Festival has been a work in progress since its credits rolled last September, and has seen the biggest influx of film submissions in its history. With more than 1,700 entries, Rinaldo and her team kept busy selecting the 158 for this year’s lineup. Of the chosen, about one-third are local creations, one-third national, and the remaining spanning from across the globe. “We try to pull from all areas…to keep it balanced,” says Rinaldo.

Alongside the regional variety, the genres included are also quite diverse. “Pretty much everything and anything you can imagine,” Rinaldo says. Combine this eclecticism with classic Maritime hospitality and the result is a truly unique and animate Festival experience.

One big change that can be expected by Festival goers this year is sheer accessibility; all of the main activities are centralized within just a few city blocks in Halifax’s core, a concentration that Rinaldo is sure will give the Festival a distinctively different feel from other years. “It’s good for making last minute decisions,” she says, citing that between the Oxford and Park Lane locations of Empire Theatres, at any given time there will be about five screenings on the go, followed by nightly celebratory parties around town.

The Festival, supported by a large staff and a volunteer troop of over 300, is calling the Lord Nelson Hotel its home-base, where there will be a Festival Lounge open to the public and delegates from September 14 to September 20. Film-goers can stop in before or after a show or party to enjoy a variety of programs, discussion, food and beverages. “It’s sort of an all-access, behind-the-scenes [look], in a central location,” says Rinaldo.

Aside from the opening and closing galas, fans can look forward to a variety of special events. The Atlantic Gala on September 14, features The Disappeared by Shandi Mitchell, followed by the Telefilm Canada Gala on September 15, which features Midnight’s Children by Deepa Mehta. The CBC Atlantic Shorts Gala set for September 18 will present eleven short films, including Better People by Mark O’Brien and A Dog is Ignoring You From the Passenger Sear of a Parked Car by Anne-Renee Dumont.

The Festival also has eight Rogers Special Presentations, which Rinaldo considers to be “premium” screenings. “They are some of the top films from around the world and the current film festival circuit,” she says. The feature line-up includes Holy Motors by Léos Carax, Love is All You Need by Susanne Bier, Amour by Michael Haneke, and Rust & Bone by Jacques Audiard.

Spectacular opening and closing galas will feature The Angel’s Share by Ken Loach on September 13 and A Royal Affair by Nicolaj Arcel on September 20. The closing gala will also include an international jury appointed awards ceremony. This culmination, taking place on September 20, will wrap up an exciting week for fans, the world’s burgeoning artists, and their palette Halifax.


Tickets for shows and parties are available exclusively at www.atlanticfilm.com

Pick Your Flicks at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival!

Click this image to see a full-resolution version of our TIFF 2012 “Films to Follow” chart

By Craig Moy and Ana Taveira

From September 6 to 16, this city becomes an enormous set for a cast of directors, producers, actors, executives, critics and cinephiles, all of whom have assembled for the hotly anticipated Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF’s main attraction, of course, is screenings galore, but it’s always a challenge to choose which of the 300-plus films to target. After all, the festival is only 10 days long. Fortunately, we’ve devised a handy flowchart with more than 30 of the most hotly anticipated dramas, thrillers, comedies and documentaries on the TIFF marquee. Once you’ve made your selections, you can check out the full film below! (more…)

Win a Trip for Two to Toronto for the Hunger Games Premiere

The Hunger Games may be the most highly anticipated, approaching-cult-status book-turned-movie since Twilight. The movie opens on March 23 in Canada, but clothing company Joe Fresh is offering an all-travel-expenses-paid trip to the March 19 Canadian premiere in Toronto.

The prize includes airfare, a one-night hotel stay and two tickets to the premiere and a $500 Joe Fresh gift card. (more…)

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

TIFF List: One Essential Film Exhibition

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.

Charlie Chaplin's City Lights, number 29 on TIFF's "Essential 100" list of films (image courtesy of the Film Reference Library)

Inaugurating the TIFF Bell Lightbox as a centre for film appreciation is Essential Cinema, a large-scale exhibition celebrating some of the greatest movies ever made. Inspired by the TIFF-curated “Essential 100” list of history’s most important films, the display—opening September 12—features props, costumes, sound clips and other curiousities from such iconic works as Breathless, Taxi Driver and City Lights, as well as four newly commissioned projects by filmmakers including Atom Egoyan and Guy Maddin. Starting September 23 through to the end of 2010, TIFF also hosts screenings of each of these classic movies. Call 416-968-3456 or visit the festival’s website for more information.

Tomorrow: 8 Facts About the TIFF Bell Lightbox

TIFF List: 11 Must-See Premieres

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.

Red carpet premieres are the bread and butter of any top film festival, and this year TIFF has them in spades. These much-anticipated galas and special presentations exemplify the cinema’s unique ability to mix impressive artistry and popular entertainment. (more…)

Hot Date: What’s Up, Doc?

OPENS APRIL 29 North America’s largest documentary film festival, Hot Docs, returns for an 11-day showcase of more than 170 noteworthy Canadian and international productions examining a broad range of historical and contemporary issues. This year’s festival pays tribute to Québécois filmmaker Tahani Rached and screens a retrospective of works by director Kim Longinotto (renowned for her Peabody Award–winning film, Sisters in Law), who will also receive the Outstanding Achievement Award. Various venues, $12 per screening; call 416-637-5150 or navigate here for a complete lineup, schedules and to purchase tickets.