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TIFF Bell Lightbox

Stargazing at the Toronto International Film Festival

CATCH A GLIMPSE OF THE STARS AT A SWISH MOVIE GALA OR AT ONE OF THE CITY’S TRENDY DINING AND SHOPPING DESTINATIONS

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN

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

EXPERIENCE ACCLAIMED MOVIES AND BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR FAMOUS FACES AT THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL.

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

Get Set for Summer: Culture Vultures

THERE’S A LOT TO DO IN THE CITY THIS SUMMER. BELOW ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR THE CULTURALLY-MINDED VISITOR

ThongSandals-2016-OilOnCanvas-48x60inches

Thong Sandals. Oil on canvas by Marco Sassone.

The Second City  returns with The Best of Second City, a rousing combination of some of the funniest sketches from the company’s past 50 years. Families can enjoy Superdude and Doctor Rude, a superhero story with a twist based on audience participation. Matilda the Musical is another family-friendly production, which opens July 5, while Shakespeare in High Park presents Hamlet and All’s Well That Ends Well on alternating nights in scenic High Park.

For centuries, plants—particularly flowers—have been the inspiration behind the creation of beautiful textile designs. Bliss: Gardens Real and Imagined, on now at the Textile Museum of Canada, highlights the pervasive use of floral motifs across cultures, from intricate Persian carpets to handmade quilts. The Bata Shoe Museum commemorates Italian heritage month with a selection of oil paintings by American-Italian painter Marco Sassone. His Boots and Other Works illustrate the artist’s love of fashion and footwear, from worn out boots to party shoes.

Film buffs won’t want to miss the Hitchcock/Truffaut: Magnificent Obsessions double retrospective at TIFF Bell Lightbox, which starts July 7. Featuring more than a dozen films by each director, the series highlights their similarities and includes Alfred Hitchcock classics like The Birds, and Vertigo, alongside François Truffaut films like Jules et Jim and The 400 Blows.

EAT Experience the flavours of the Middle East, North and South Asia with Mark McEwan’s flavourful menu at Diwan, while taking in the gorgeous grounds of the Aga Khan Museum. After working up appetite at the Frank Gehry-designed Art Gallery of Ontario, visit Frank for a bistro-inspired menu amidst installations by Frank Stella. Moviegoers can dine at Luma, located at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. —Karen Stevens

 

16 Things to Do for March Break 2016

A WEEK OFF FROM SCHOOL IS EVERY CHILD’S DREAM, BUT PERHAPS LESS THRILLING FOR PARENTS WHO NEED TO KEEP LITTLE ONES ENTERTAINED AND FROM CRYING OUT “THERE’S NOTHING TO DO” FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME. HERE ARE 16 KID-APPROVED IDEAS FOR HAVING FUN THIS MARCH BREAK IN TORONTO.

The TIFF Bell Lightbox hosts digiPlaySpace for the fifth year, which engages children through interactive play involving animation, robotics and more. (photo: courtesy of TIFF)

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At the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Even More Andy Warhol

CONCURRENT WITH AN ONGOING GALLERY SHOW IN YORKVILLE, ANDY WARHOL: STARS OF THE SILVER SCREEN, ADDS A CINEMATIC SPIN TO THE ARTIST’S OUTPUT AT THE TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX

Andy Warhol TIFF Bell Lightbox Marilyn Monroe

Gene Korman’s photograph of Marilyn Monroe became a source for Andy Warhol’s famous 1950s screen prints of the blonde bombshell (photo © the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., courtesy of the Andy Warhol Museum)

OCTOBER 30 TO JANUARY 24  In 2015 it’s very easy to indulge our fascination with celebrities. The beautiful people themselves dole out details via social media, while magazines, TV shows and bloggers feed our appetite for even juicier gossip. But long before the likes of Perez Hilton and Lainey Lui, there was Andy Warhol. Arguably the ultimate fan, the pop-art pioneer was known for documenting his interest in public figures like Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and Marlon Brando through his paintings, prints, films and more. Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen, a new exhibit at the TIFF Bell Lightbox pays homage to the man who became as famous as the stars he depicted. Organized by the Andy Warhol Museum, the collection contains Warhol’s early artworks, films, videos, photographs, prints and Hollywood memorabilia, including his childhood scrapbook of screen sirens like Greta Garbo and Kim Novak.  —Linda Luong

• TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-599-8433; tiff.net/warhol
Map and reviews

Q&A: TIFF CEO Piers Handling on the Film Organization’s First 40 Years

YOU’VE HEARD OF TIFF SUPER-FANS, THE CINEPHILES THAT WATCH DOZENS OF MOVIES DURING THE FESTIVAL? THEY CAN’T HOLD A CANDLE TO PIERS HANDLING. TIFF’S DIRECTOR AND CEO HAS WORKED WITH THE ORGANIZATION SINCE 1982, AND HAS ATTENDED EVERY EDITION OF TIFF SINCE IT START 40 YEARS AGO.

TIFF Piers Handling

TIFF Director and CEO Piers Handling (photo: George Pimentel / WireImage Getty for TIFF)

What have been some of the most memorable moments of your career with TIFF?

Coming to the first festival was obviously very impactful for me. I was pulled by a section of new German cinema that they’d programmed. New German cinema in the ‘70s was perhaps the most important emerging national cinema in the world. So that’s what pulled me here. And the audience: I really felt like there was an audience here of people like myself, who were crazy about film, and really crazy about quality, international, foreign-language film, which was what was driving me at that point in time in my career.

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The Toronto International Film Festival Marks 40 Years of Movies

A MAJOR ANNIVERSARY AFFORDS THE OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK BACK AT THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL’S BEGINNINGS

TIFF Toronto International Film Festival TIFF 2015

(photo: courtesy of TIFF)

Four decades is a long time in the life of any art form or industry—especially one as fickle as filmmaking. It’s rather exceptional when a single person or institution can not only enter but also remain in the cultural conversation across multiple generations. Yet it’s a feat that the Toronto International Film Festival has managed to pull off.

Marking its ruby anniversary this year, TIFF (which runs from September 10 to 20) continues to be one of the global movie business’s most significant annual events, an affair at which hundreds of the world’s most exciting motion pictures are introduced not only to industry insiders, but to everyday film fans seeking cinematic stories from new voices and auteurs alike.

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The TIFF Kids Film Fest is Back

MOVIES HELP SHAPE YOUNG MINDS (AND VICE-VERSA) AT THIS YEAR’S TIFF KIDS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

TIFF Kids International Film Festival Toronto

APRIL 7 TO 19 Budding movie makers, critics and all-around enthusiasts are in the director’s chair at the TIFF Kids International Film Festival, featuring more than 100 screenings for children aged three to 13. The event, which includes 120-plus shorts and feature-length films from 37 nations, demonstrates the medium’s ability to both entertain and educate, and to act as a means of exploring different concepts and themes. Through to the end of the fest, attendees can also visit TIFF’s digiPlaySpace, an award-winning interactive exhibit that enables kids to unleash their imagination through play with robotics, mobile apps, video games, 3D printing and virtual-reality experiences. TIFF Bell Lightbox, adults $13, children $9, digiPlaySpace access $10, film and digiPlaySpace adults $20, children $15.  —Linda Luong

• TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-599-8433; tiff.net
• Map and reviews

TIFF Kids Brings to Toronto the World’s Best Family Films

TIFF Kids Film Festival Toronto

Young film fans can see how a green screen works—among many other things—at the TIFF Kids Film Festival

APRIL 9 TO 21  Wrestle with Evin a she finds her purpose in Know My Name, race to the finish line with Ella and Friends, or follow a family of birds from Russia to Africa in Igor and the Cranes’ Journey. More than just a day at the cinema, the TIFF Kids International Film Festival presents wonderful international movies and cool exhibits that are certain to spark the imaginations of children and parents alike. Feature-length and short films are the main draw, but when the lights come up, be sure to visit the innovative digiPlaySpace, where kids can engage with emerging creative media technologies. TIFF Bell Lightbox, adults $12 and kids $8.50 for film only, with digiPlaySpace admission add $8 for adults and $5 for kids; call 416-599-8433 or visit tiff.net/kids for more information.  —Macrina Smart

Know Your Secret Agent: TIFF Debuts Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style

When you’ve been saving the world for five decades, you’re bound to get noticed. Just so with Bond, James Bond. The character created by Ian Fleming and portrayed by the likes of Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Daniel Craig has become much more than a simple action hero. He’s also a cultural icon, having influenced everything from fashion to cars to cocktails, while continuing to have a major impact on the way blockbuster movies are made.

Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style delves deep into some of the most notable aspects of the British spy’s cinematic legacy. Opening October 26 (and on display through January 20) at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the sprawling exhibition assembles a vast quantity of artifacts, imagery and ephemera from the 22 existing Bond films in six themed sections: the display opens in MI6 Headquarters, where 007 receives his marching orders from M, his boss and father/mother figure, while a later section on Foreign Territories depicts the far-off lands where the secret agent inevitably ends up; a gold-obsessed vignette pays homage to Goldfinger, arguably the most popular Bond film, as well as The Man with the Golden Gun; technophiles will get a thrill walking through gadget-laden Q Branch; haute couture is the focus in the exhibit’s casino-oriented room; and the series’ most famous evildoers, henchmen and femmes fatale step into the spotlight in the rogues gallery of Villains and Enigmas.

Check out our photo gallery, below, for a glimpse of what to expect from the “shaken not stirred” show.

Of course, you wouldn’t expect a celebration of the 20th century’s most successful super-spy without a retrospective of his on-screen exploits. During Designing 007’s nearly three-month stint in Toronto, TIFF also presents the full slate of Bond films, beginning with 1962’s Dr. No and running up to 2008’s Quantum of Solace (the 23rd Bond movie, Skyfall, opens in major theatres on November 9). Cinephiles can also look forward to an appearance by John Glen, director of all five Bond films from the 1980s. He sits down with TIFF’s head of film programmes, Jesse Wente, on December 10.

Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style runs from October 26 through January 20 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Timed-entry admission is $15.


All photos by Craig Moy except where noted.

Hot Art: The TIFF Bell Lightbox Celebrates 50 Stylish Years of James Bond

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale (photo © 2006 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.)

OCTOBER 26 TO JANUARY 20  Britain’s most famous secret agent, James Bond, has taken his license to kill all around the world—from Jamaica in Dr. No to Istanbul in Skyfall, the newest entry in the hugely popular film series. Now the Bond brand arrives in Toronto as the TIFF Bell Lightbox hosts Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style. This sprawling exhibition examines the ever-stylish spy’s ongoing cultural impact through costumes, sets, props like Oddjob’s steel-rimmed hat from Goldfinger, and even a December 10 appearance by John Glen, director of five Bond movies. To accompany the show, TIFF also offers screenings of every 007 film from the past half-century.  —Eva Voinigescu

Hot Date: Festival Focuses on Resourceful Flicks

A scene from Northwords

OCTOBER 10 TO 14  The annual Planet in Focus Film Festival continues to shine a spotlight on issues that impact the world’s health and humanity’s very existence. This year’s event celebrates the United Nations’ International Year of Sustainable Energy by highlighting movies that examine innovative ideas surrounding renewable power. Along with its marquee film premieres—such as Northwords, which follows Canadian writers on
a trip to Torngat Mountains National Park—the festival also includes two days of panel discussions, workshops and more. TIFF Bell Lightbox, $12 per screening; call 416-599-8433 or click here to purchase tickets.