These stars and too many others to show are appearing around and about in Toronto during the TIFF. If you are lucky enough and quick enough, you might be able to snap a quick picture as a keepsake. They feel safe enough to wander freely among us and seem to be a friendly bunch. Many have been spotted at the malls and down at the Harbor Front and just sauntering down the city streets. The TIFF is on from Sept 5th to the 15th.
The curtain rose on the Toronto International Film Festival Thursday. This year’s event showcases 11 days of movie magic, A-list celebrities, and a host city that boasts some of the world’s best film crews and production facilities, plus a wealth of homegrown artistic talent.
No annual event burnishes Toronto’s international image more than TIFF. From a modest beginning in the 1970s in the Yorkville area, the festival has grown to rival similar gatherings in Cannes and Venice and the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. Industry insiders and humble cineastes alike have traditionally been treated to a first look at everything from big-budget Oscar contenders to obscure independent films.
And the festival’s 38th annual edition is no exception, offering audiences a celluloid smorgasbord of 288 feature movies, 78 short films and — for those lucky enough score an invitation — more than 100 parties.
This year’s opening gala couldn’t be more timely given the recent revelations of U.S. National Security Agency document leaker Edward Snowden. Titled EstateThe FifthEstate, it’s an investigative thriller about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, his whistle-blowing organization’s rise to notoriety and his subsequent travails.
The festival’s closing gala, Life of Crime, is a “caper movie” about a bungled kidnapping. The story is adapted from a book by celebrated novelist Elmore Leonard, 87, who died just two weeks ago.
In total more than 520 hours of film are to be screened, including productions from 70 countries and more than 30 Canadian features. Our country’s offerings this year range from “biting satire to intimate social commentary, powerful dramas and . . . magical comedy,” said TIFF senior programmer Steve Gravestock. “The settings and themes vary, but the settings are always uniquely Canadian.” That’s surely worth a look.
The festival owes its success to decades of hard work, planning and far-reaching artistic vision provided by generations of behind-the-scenes organizers and thousands of volunteers. Torontonians, as a whole, have played a big role too — few cities have so many enthusiastic filmgoers. Without them, there would be no point to having any cinema at all.