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Toronto International Film Festival

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


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


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.


The Toronto International Film Festival Marks 40 Years of Movies


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.


Weekend Roundup: September 7 to 9

Friday: Ben Affleck’s Argo is one of many premieres at TIFF (photo by Claire Folger)

Friday, September 7
Each September the city comes to life with celebrities, Hollywood buzz, and most importantly a wide selection of fantastic cinema to experience. The opening weekend of the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival showcases world premieres of major Hollywood films and foreign features, complex documentaries, short and experimental films, and so much more.

Don’t miss out on a shopping bonanza as Toronto celebrates Fashion’s Night Out with The Bazaar. Curated by Rac Boutique, the event brings together a wide variety of independent Toronto retailers including Gotstyle, the Drake Hotel General Store, Philistine and many others.

The Second City‘s new mainstage revue, We’ve Totally (Probably) Got This, is guaranteed to tickle that funny bone. Spend your Friday night with friends and this company of hilarious performers who have mastered the art of satirical sketches, songs and improvisations. (more…)

Best Stargazing Spots at TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival


There are better ways to spot celebs at TIFF than by waiting behind the red-carpet ropes (Photo: Christopher Harte)

Toronto is truly at its finest when it plays host to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) each September. The streets buzz with pride as locals share their favourite haunts with an influx of visitors. And while stars are masters at surreptitiously sneaking through the streets unnoticed, frequenting some key spots just might increase the odds of finding yourself accidentally-on-purpose across the room from your most admired luminary. (more…)

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…)

TIFF 2011 Supplemental Screenings

You’ve seen our primer on the big-name stars and flicks coming to the Toronto International Film Festival. Here are five more films that didn’t make our final cut, but which ought to be on your TIFF radar.

Disaster-film director Roland Emmerich tackles Shakespeare in Anonymous

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS Count Anonymous as one of this year’s more curious festival selections. Director Roland Emmerich—best known for blowing things up good (Independence Day) and terribly (Godzilla, 2012)—brings intrigue to the theatre, literature and the Elizabethan era in a film that questions the authorship of the works of William Shakespeare.

TRUE TO LIFE Prolific director Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Encounters at the End of the World) returns to TIFF to premiere his latest, sure-to-be-compelling documentary, Into the Abyss, which probes the darkness of America’s “Death Row” in search of something resembling redemption.

Carey Mulligan stars alongside Michael Fassbender in Shame

SUPERIOR PAIR Vanguard U.K. filmmaker Steve McQueen reunites with Michael Fassbender (so electric as IRA member Bobby Sands in McQueen’s 2008 prison drama Hunger) for his sophomore feature, entitled Shame. This exploration of the nature of need and the experiences that shape us also stars Carey Mulligan.

JOYOUS PANTOMINE A major success from this year’s Cannes festival, The Artist is a love letter to the golden age of silent films in Hollywood. Silent itself, the French picture has been lauded for its emotional appeal and a sublime lead performance by Jean Dujardin as a swaggering Douglas Fairbanks-like star.

Sarah Polley helmed a bevy of hipster actors in the dramedy Take This Waltz

A LITTLE SENTIMENT Indie cred oozes from the credits of Take This Waltz. The poignant, filmed-in-Toronto love-triangle tale was written and helmed by Canadian sweetheart Sarah Polley, and stars Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman, among others. Expect a plethora of on-the-nose music cues, too—the movie is even named for a Leonard Cohen tune.

The Silver Screen’s Biggest Stars—They’re All at TIFF 2011

For 10 glamorous days, from September 8 to 18, this city becomes a beacon for the global entertainment industry—the Toronto International Film Festival attracts cinephiles and celebrities alike with its superior slate of more than 300 movies from Hollywood and around the world.

Here, Where Toronto takes a peek at some of the most anticipated flicks of the fest, and the megastars in town to promote them.

Festival Fare: 10 Days of TIFF—Day 10

Red carpets, nightly parties, fans’ faces obscured by continually clicking cameras—looks like the Toronto International Film Festival is back in town. Each day of the TIFF we’re not only listing our daily flick pick, but we’re mapping the hottest attractions, restaurants, and shops and services that are just steps from the screening spot.

The films: Saint Louis Blues, an unlikely musical that follows a road trip through Senegal, and 25 Carat, in which a car thief and big-time crook and struggle to escape the life of crime.

The venue: Cineplex Odeon Varsity at Manulife Centre, movie theatre where patrons aged 19 and over can receive full in-seat service during Varsity VIP film screenings.

What to do while you wait for doors to open?

View Festival Fare: 10 Days of TIFF–Day 10 map in larger size

Weekend Roundup, September 18th to 20th

Explore the city on foot with a walking tour a day.

Friday: check out downtown with Muddy York Walking Tours (photo by amish.patel).

Friday: check out downtown with Muddy York Walking Tours (photo by amish.patel).

Friday, September 18th
Discover the history behind the names of some of the city’s major avenues on the Toronto Street Names: Downtown tour by Muddy York Walking Tours.

Check out the art show, food, music, dancing and demonstrations at the Toronto Ukranian Festival, the continent’s largest street celebration of Ukranian culture.

Saturday, September 19th
To commemorate its 10th year as a Canadian Heritage River, follow the flow of the Humber waterway on a guided Heritage Toronto Walk.

Catch remix kings Electic Method at Yonge-Dundas Square, as part of the Toronto International Film Festival’s outdoor closing party.

Sunday: Harken back to pioneer days of yore (photo by Gary J. Wood).

Sunday: Harken back to pioneer days of yore (photo by Gary J. Wood).

Sunday, September 20th
Explore the city’s first post office, St. Lawrence Market, St. James Cathedral and other charms of Old Town Toronto on today’s ROMwalk.

Watch butter churning, try out Victorian dancing and bid on handmade country quilts at the Pioneer Festival at Black Creek Pioneer Village.

Festival Fare: 10 Days of TIFF—Day 9

Red carpets, nightly parties, fans’ faces obscured by continually clicking cameras—looks like the Toronto International Film Festival is back in town. Each day of the TIFF we’re not only listing our daily flick pick, but we’re mapping the hottest attractions, restaurants, and shops and services that are just steps from the screening spot.

The films: A young peasant who struggles to start up a vineyard at the turn of the 19th century gets help from an angel in The Vintner’s Luck, and a family squatting in Amsterdam get a taste of the ups-and-downs of communal living in My Queen Karo.

The venue: Cumberland cinema in the posh neighbourhood of Yorkville, bound to be star-studded during TIFF.

Where are you going to go to catch a glimpse of a celebrity?

View Festival Fare: 10 Days of TIFF–Day 9 map in larger size

Festival Fare: 10 Days of TIFF—Day 8

Red carpets, nightly parties, fans’ faces obscured by continually clicking cameras—looks like the Toronto International Film Festival is back in town. Each day of the TIFF we’re not only listing our daily flick pick, but we’re mapping the hottest attractions, restaurants, and shops and services that are just steps from the screening spot.

The films: A free outdoor screening of U2: Rattle & Hum, which follows the iconic Irish rockers on their 1987 North American tour; and BAND, a multi-disciplinary film-based art installation complete with post-punk band Deerhoof live in concert.

The venue: Yonge-Dundas Square, located at the southeast corner of one of the city’s liveliest intersections.

If you want something different to what’s offered at the Square, where can you go?

View Festival Fare: 10 Days of TIFF–Day 8 in larger size