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Toronto International Film Festival


Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
people milling around King Street in front of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, with rails and ropes set up around a carpets in front of the building
The festival is headquartered at TIFF Bell Lightbox, which opened in 2010.
Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Founded 1976
Number of films fewest, 85 (1978); most, 460 (1984)[1]
Language International
Website .net.tiffwww

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF, stylized as tiff.) is a publicly attended film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2012, 372 films from 72 countries were screened at 34 screens in downtown Toronto venues, welcoming an estimated 400,000 attendees, over 4000 of whom were industry professionals.[2] TIFF starts the Thursday night after Labour Day (the first Monday in September in Canada) and lasts for eleven days. 2015 saw approximately 473,000 attendees, 5,400 industry professionals, and 1,200 journalists.[3]

Founded in 1976,[4] TIFF is now one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the world. In 1998, Variety magazine acknowledged that TIFF "is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity." In 2007, Time noted that TIFF had "grown from its place as the most influential fall film festival to the most influential film festival, period."[5] This is partially the result of TIFF's ability and reputation for generating "Oscar buzz".[6]

Notable films to have had their world or North American premiere at Toronto include Chariots of Fire, The Big Chill, Husbands and Wives, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, Downfall, Sideways, Crash, The King's Speech, Moneyball, Silver Linings Playbook, Argo, and Dallas Buyers Club.


  • Background 1
  • History 2
    • Notable film premieres 2.1
    • TIFF Bell Lightbox 2.2
  • Awards 3
    • People's Choice Award 3.1
    • Canadian awards 3.2
    • Other awards 3.3
  • Media coverage 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Toronto International Film Festival, originally known as The Festival of Festivals, was founded by William Marshall, Henk van der Kolk and Dusty Cohl.[7] Piers Handling has been the festival's director and CEO since 1994, while Noah Cowan became co-director of TIFF in 2004. In late 2007, Cowan became the artistic director of TIFF Bell Lightbox, while long-time programmer Cameron Bailey succeeded as co-director; as of 2013, Bailey also holds the position of artistic director.[8]

TIFF was once centered on the Yorkville neighbourhood, but the Toronto Entertainment District later gained a greater level of prominence.[9][10] TIFF is known for the celebrity buzz it brings to the area with international media setting up near its restaurants and stores for photos and interviews with the stars. With the Fall 2010 opening of TIFF Bell Lightbox,[11] TIFF's permanent home in the Entertainment District, it seems likely that TIFF will continue to spread out from its traditional centre to embrace other locations in the city.[12]

As of 2013, TIFF's primary focus is independent cinema, and the festival features retrospectives of national cinemas and individual directors, highlights of Canadian cinema, and a variety of African, South American, and Asian films. In particular, the world premieres of a number of Indian films have occurred at TIFF.[13]


TIFF box office at the Manulife Centre in 2006

The Toronto International Film Festival, known originally as "The Festival of Festivals", was founded in 1976 at the Hollywood's marketing machine.

In 1994, the decision was made to replace the name "Festival of Festivals" with "Toronto International Film Festival". From 1994 to 2009, the umbrella organization running TIFF was named "Toronto International Film Festival Group" (TIFFG). In 2009, the umbrella organization TIFFG was renamed to TIFF.[17]

In 2001, Perspective Canada, the programme that had focused on Canadian films since 1984, was replaced by two programmes:

  • Canada First!, a forum for Canadian filmmakers presenting their first feature-length work, featuring eight to 15 films, and
  • Short Cuts Canada, which includes 30-40 Canadian short films.

In 2004, TIFF was featured as the site of murder mystery in the film Jiminy Glick in Lalawood, a comedy film starring Martin Short.

In 2008, Rose McGowan caused controversy at a TIFF press conference for her film Fifty Dead Men Walking, when she noted that "I imagine, had I grown up in Belfast, I would 100% have been in the IRA."[18]

In 2009, TIFF's decision to spotlight films from Tel Aviv created a controversy with protesters, saying it was part of an attempt to re-brand Israel[19] in a positive light after the January 2009 Gaza War.[20][21][22][23]

In 2007, it was announced that the organization generates an estimated annual impact of $67 million CAD.[24] By 2011, that benefit had grown to $170 million CAD.[25]

Notable film premieres

Films such as American Beauty, Ray, The Wrestler, Mr. Nobody, Antichrist, 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Five Obstructions, Singapore Sling, and I Am Love have premiered at TIFF. Jamie Foxx's portrayal of Ray Charles ultimately won him the Academy Award for Best Actor while Slumdog Millionaire went on to win eight Oscars at the 2009 Academy Awards. Precious, which won the 2009 TIFF People's Choice Award, went on to win two Oscars at the 82nd Academy Awards. The King's Speech, the winner of the 2010 TIFF People's Choice Award, won four Oscars at the 83rd Academy Awards, while Silver Linings Playbook, the winner of the 2012 TIFF People's Choice Award, went to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence.

Many Hollywood studios premiere their films in Toronto due to TIFF's easy-going non-competitive nature, relatively inexpensive costs (when compared to European festivals), eager film-fluent audiences and convenient timing.[26][27][28]

TIFF Bell Lightbox

TIFF Bell Lightbox

In 2007, the Festival Group began construction on TIFF Bell Lightbox, a new facility at the corner of King and John Streets in downtown Toronto on land donated by Ivan Reitman and family. The $181 million facility is named for founding sponsor Bell Canada, with additional support from the Government of Ontario and Government of Canada.

In 2010, the organization opened a new headquarters at the intersection of King St and John St, in a facility called TIFF Bell Lightbox. The facility, designed by local firm, KPMB Architects, provides extensive year-round galleries, cinemas, archives and activities for cinephiles.[29] The 5-storey facility contains 5 cinemas, 2 gallery spaces, film archives and an extensive reference library, study spaces, film lab facility, and a research centre. There is also a gift shop, two restaurants, a lounge, a cafe, and a three-storey atrium.[30] Cooperatively with Daniels Corporation, there is a 46-storey condominium atop, called the Festival Tower.

The first film screening was

  • Official website

External links

  1. ^ "35th Anniversary Fact Sheet: TIFF Facts and Figures" (Press release). Toronto International Film Festival. 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Toronto 2013: Why the festival matters". BBC News. 2013-09-04. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  5. ^ Keegan, Rebecca Winters (August 2007). "Big-Screen Romance".  
  6. ^ CBS News (2009-09-19). "Toronto Film Festival: Oscar Buzz Begins". CBS News. Retrieved 2011-08-25. 
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ "Cameron Bailey named artistic director of Toronto International Film Festival". National Post, March 14, 2012.
  9. ^ Raju Mudhar (2010-08-25). "From mega clubs to mega culture in Entertainment District". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-09-07. 
  10. ^ Kate Allen (2011-08-24). "TIFF's great migration". Retrieved 2011-08-25. 
  11. ^ Adams, James (May 2010). "Largest TIFF theatre to be open for this year's festival". Toronto:  
  12. ^ Phaneuf, Ingrid (September 2008). "From car wash to new home of the stars". Toronto:  
  13. ^ Indo-Asian News Service (2009-08-18). "TIFF to have strong Indian flavour". NDTV. Retrieved 2011-08-25. 
  14. ^ Stavrou, Philip (September 2005). "Film Festival events return to their roots".  
  15. ^ "35th Anniversary Fact Sheet: TIFF Facts and Figures" (Press release). Toronto International Film Festival. 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  16. ^ Sterritt, David (April 2010). "Film Festivals - Then and Now".  
  17. ^ "TIFF History". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  18. ^ The Globe and Mail (2008–2011). "Director apologises for Rose McGowan's IRA comments". Belfast Telegraph. Phillip Crawley, Publisher. 
  19. ^ Brand Israel set to launch in GTA, Canadian Jewish News, August 21, 2009.
  20. ^ Michael Posner (11 February 2010). "TIFF focus on Tel Aviv draws protests". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  21. ^ Naomi Klein (31 October 2009). "We don't feel like celebrating with Israel this year". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  22. ^ CBC News (29 August 2009). "Canadian director protests TIFF Tel Aviv spotlight". CBC News (CBC). Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  23. ^ "A conversation with organizers of the Toronto film festival protest".  
  24. ^ "McGuinty government helps promote Toronto International Film Festival" (Press release). Ontario Ministry of Tourism. 2007-09-07. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  25. ^ "Festival Announces Boundary-Pushing Visions Titles" (Press release). Toronto International Film Festival. 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2011-08-25. 
  26. ^ Ebert, Roger (September 2008). "Starting off the season".  
  27. ^ "TIFF unspools with celebrities eager to connect with fans". The Canadian Press.  
  28. ^ Rich, Joshua (January 2005). "Fest intentions".  
  29. ^ Dixon, Guy (2010-09-09). "Lightbox aims to draw filmmakers to its facilities - The Globe and Mail". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). 
  30. ^ Norman Wilner (9–16 September 2010). "Let there be lightbox". NOW. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  31. ^ David Germain (9 September 2010). "No place like home: Toronto film fest opens new HQ". U-T San Diego News. The San Diego Union-Tribune, LLC. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  32. ^ "A look at the Stanley Kubrick Exhibition TIFF 2014". Vancouver Sun. Canoe Sun Media. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  33. ^ Walmsley, Katie (September 2009). "Oprah flick 'Precious' wins top award at Toronto".  
  34. ^ "‘The Imitation Game’ wins top prize at TIFF". The Globe and Mail, September 14, 2014.
  35. ^ Knegt, Peter (September 2009). Precious' tops Toronto winners"'".  


See also

In 2012 TIFF hosted 1,200 members of the press and print media outlets such as the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, The Times of India, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Miami Herald, and the Toronto Sun have published a significant amount of festival coverage. Also, the major industry trade magazines Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Screen International all produce daily editions during TIFF. TIFF reports also appear in weekly news magazines; American, Canadian and international entertainment shows; news services; and a wide range of film and celebrity blogs.

Media coverage

TIFF also presents seven other awards for People's Choice Best Documentary, People's Choice Best Midnight Madness film, Best Canadian First Feature, Best Canadian Short Film, Best International Short Film, FIPRESCI's Special Presentation Winner and FIPRESCI's Discovery Section Winner.[35] Since 1984, every decade TIFF has produced a Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time list.

Other awards

Canadian awards

Year Film Director(s)
1978 Girlfriends Claudia Weill
1979 Best Boy Ira Wohl
1980 Bad Timing Nicolas Roeg
1981 Chariots of Fire Hugh Hudson
1982 Tempest Paul Mazursky
1983 The Big Chill Lawrence Kasdan
1984 Places in the Heart Robert Benton
1985 The Official Story (La historia oficial) Luis Puenzo
1986 The Decline of the American Empire (Le déclin de l'empire américain) Denys Arcand
1987 The Princess Bride Rob Reiner
1988 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios) Pedro Almodóvar
1989 Roger & Me Michael Moore
1990 Cyrano de Bergerac Jean-Paul Rappeneau
1991 The Fisher King Terry Gilliam
1992 Strictly Ballroom Baz Luhrmann
1993 The Snapper Stephen Frears
1994 Priest Antonia Bird
1995 Antonia Marleen Gorris
1996 Shine Scott Hicks
1997 The Hanging Garden Thom Fitzgerald
1998 Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella) Roberto Benigni
1999 American Beauty Sam Mendes
2000 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wo Ho Cang Long) Ang Lee
2001 Amélie (Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) Jean-Pierre Jeunet
2002 Whale Rider Niki Caro
2003 Zatōichi Takeshi Kitano
2004 Hotel Rwanda Terry George
2005 Tsotsi Gavin Hood
2006 Bella Alejandro Gómez Monteverde
2007 Eastern Promises David Cronenberg
2008 Slumdog Millionaire Danny Boyle
2009 Precious Lee Daniels
2010 The King's Speech Tom Hooper
2011 Where Do We Go Now? (وهلّأ لوين؟) Nadine Labaki
2012 Silver Linings Playbook David O. Russell
2013 12 Years a Slave Steve McQueen
2014 The Imitation Game Morten Tyldum
2015 Room Lenny Abrahamson

For comparison/contrast purposes, the color gold indicates which of the listed films (if any) won the Best Picture Oscar that same year. The color blue indicate which of the listed films (if any) were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar that same year. The following list shows past winners:

Given that TIFF lacks a jury and is non-competitive, regular awards handed out at other festivals for categories such as "Best Film" or "Best Actress" do not exist at the Toronto International Film Festival. The major prize, the People's Choice Award, is given to a feature-length film with the highest ratings as voted by the TIFF-going populace.[33] The award is often considered as a sort of "starting line" for the annual Academy Awards race, as its winner has often gone on to garner Academy Award nominations.[34]

People's Choice Award



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