The Toronto International Film Festival (or TIFF) began exactly as what its original name, “The Festival of Festivals,” implies – it gathered the most buzz-worthy flicks from around the world and revealed them to an eager public. It quickly became the most prestigious film festival in North America and is now arguably one of the industry’s most important film festivals in the world. Well done, Toronto.
Unlike Cannes and Sundance, TIFF is not in essence a competition, since it doesn’t have an official jury. There is a People’s Choice Award though, which, although voted on by audiences, usually ends up being the Oscar darling of the year.
Past winners include American Beauty, Amelie, Hotel Rwanda, Slumdog Millionaire, Precious and The King’s Speech. The Wrestler, Black Swan, Ray, Sideways and Crash also screened there during (or in some cases, long before) their rise to popularity.
TIFF has something going on 365 days a year. It offers much more than the 2-week paparazzi explosion every September (although that’s a pretty amazing time to be there). The growth of TIFF over the years has encompassed year-round special events, exhibitions, a film reference library and various industry resources which help make it a well-rounded and greatly respected institution.
Toronto International Film Festival is very Canada-proud and supports Canadian filmmakers with forums and loads of opportunities for local recognition – and rightly so. Canada’s Top Ten, in which ten fantastic Canadian films are shown, is one of many events that focus on putting Canada’s talent on the map.
There’s also a TIFF Kids, which brings children’s films from all over the world straight to Toronto so that even younger audiences can take part in the art and pleasure of watching unique, foreign or independently-made cinema. Kids 8-12 can send in movie reviews beforehand and, if chosen, score some free tickets and popcorn.
More on TIFF to come!