Toronto International Film Festival

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Event date September 7 to 16, 2018 LocationTIFF Bell Lightbox & various venues Official website Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival is the biggest and brightest public film festival on the planet. World premieres, cutting-edge film, galas and industry shmoozes all go in to making TIFF the illustrious event it is. Whether you’re a cinephile or just love to see the celebs, TIFF is the place to be.

Actress Angela Sarafya walks the red carpet at TIFF 2016. Photo by TIFF.

TIFF 2017 Movie Guide

Featuring 14 Gala Presentations and 33 Special Presentations, and films ranging from hair-raising horror to heart-stopping drama to ground-breaking documentary, TIFF has something for every type of film buff.

This year promises a more refined, more tightly-curated lineup, and that means an even stronger festival. If you’re looking for this year’s best bets, look no further – here are our top pics out of each genre.

If You’re in the Mood For: Oscar Buzz

Battle of the Sexes (Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton): The first of two tennis-focused films at this year’s festival, this American sports comedy-drama recreates the legendary 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).

Stronger (David Gordon Green): This poignant adaptation recounts the true story of Jeff Bauman, as he struggles to regain his life after losing both legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Canadian Tatiana Maslany.

The Mountain Between Us (Hany Abu-Assad): Reminiscent of the harrowing plane-crash film Alive, this powerful tale of survival stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as a surgeon and a journalist who must turn to each other to survive after they become stranded on a mountain after a tragic plane crash.

If You’re in the Mood For: Thrillers

The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro): From the mind of acclaimed Mexican director Guillermo del Toro comes an otherworldly dark fantasy starring Sally Hawkins and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer as U.S. government laboratory workers who discover a classified experiment that involves a mysterious creature.

mother! (Darren Aronofsky): A star-studded lineup – including Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem and Michelle Pfeiffer – graces this highly-anticipated thriller from award-winning American director Darren Aronofsky, in which a couple’s tranquil existence is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home.

The Disaster Artist (James Franco): A decidedly unusual offering in this year’s festival lineup, The Disaster Artist is directed by and stars James Franco, who plays eccentric actor/director Tommy Wiseau in this dramatization of the infamous “worst movie ever made” – The Room.

IF YOU’RE IN THE MOOD FOR: CANADIAN CONTENT

Alias Grace (Mary Harron): From director Mary Harron and screenwriter Sarah Polley comes the on-screen adaptation of Canadian literary legend Margaret Atwood’s award-winning novel about a young, poor Irish servant girl who becomes accused and convicted of the murders of her employers (played by Paul Gross and Anna Paquin.)

North of Superior (Graeme Ferguson): This special presentation of IMAX co-inventor Graeme Ferguson’s 1971 masterpiece North of Superior – an award-winning tribute to the majestic beauty of Ontario’s North – will be screened at the newly-reopened Ontario Place Cinesphere, the world’s first permanent IMAX theatre.

Eye on Juliet (Kim Nguyen): The latest from Oscar-nominated Canadian filmmaker Kim Nguyen, Eye on Juliet is the story of hexapod operator and pipeline guardian Gordon and his fascination with a Middle Eastern woman named Ayusha.

If You’re in the Mood For: Documentaries

Long Time Running (Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier): A poignant, powerful look at the 2016 final tour of Canadian rock legends The Tragically Hip, after the announcement of lead singer Gord Downie’s brain cancer diagnosis.

Jane (Brett Morgen): Beloved British primatologist Jane Goodall is the subject of this poetic documentary in which Academy Award-nominated director Brett Morgen uses never-before-seen footage of her early work in the 1960s.

The Final Year (Greg Barker): A unique look at the shaping of U.S. foreign policy in former president Barack Obama’s final year in office, by the American documentary filmmaker behind Manhunt: The Inside Story of the Hunt for Bin Laden.

If You’re in the Mood For: Drama

Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino): Adapted from André Aciman’s novel, this tender coming-of-age story follows 17-year-old Elio and his blossoming attraction for an older visiting grad student (played by Armie Hammer.)

I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie): Another highly-anticipated offering from this year’s festival lineup, this American biographical sports drama stars Margot Robbie as controversial Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding in Craig Gillespie’s recounting of that infamous figure skating scandal of the 90s.

Breathe (Andy Serkis): English actor Andy Serkis, best known for his portrayal of Gollum in Lord of the Rings, makes his directorial debut with the inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish (Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy) and their perseverance in the face of devastating disease.

Keep an eye on the TIFF website for more information about screening dates and ticket sales.

Buying TIFF Tickets

With several different options available, buying tickets for TIFF can be overwhelming – especially if you’ve never done it before. Not sure which option is best for you? Read on for information about purchasing tickets and packages to the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

Buying Individual TIFF Tickets

Most appropriate for: First-time festival goers who want control over which movies they see.

Buying individual tickets is typically the best option if you’ve never been to the festival before. It’s simpler and cheaper than buying a package, plus you get to choose exactly which movies you want to see and how many.

Some words of advice: Tickets for high-profile films and Premium Screenings tend to get scooped up early by people who buy packages in advance. If you plan on buying an individual ticket to one of the popular films, be prepared to place your order as soon as these tickets go on sale.

Individual tickets go on sale to the public on September 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with sales reopening on September 5 through to September 17. Prices range from $10 for weekday daytime screenings for those 25 and under, to $28 for regular evening and weekend screenings to $52 for premium tickets. Remember to buy early so you can get the most savings!

Buying a Flex Pack

Most appropriate for: Seasoned TIFF veterans who want to see a large number of specific films.

This year, the festival offers four ticket package options:

  • Regular Flex: Get 6 tickets for $150, or buy in increments of 10 starting at $240.
  • Premium Flex: Get 6 of the hottest tickets first, with the choice of any premium screenings, for $425 (also available as a 12-ticket pack.)
  • Weekday Daytime: Get 10 tickets for weekday screenings starting at 5pm or earlier, for $165 (also available as a 20-ticket pack.)
  • Back Half: Get 6 tickets for films screening from September 13 to 17, for $105 (also available as a 12-ticket pack.)

Ticket packages are your best bet if you want to see a large number of films while getting the best deal on your TIFF experience. For example, a 6-ticket flex pack will cost you $25 per ticket, compared to individual tickets starting at $28. Plus, the larger the flex pack, the more savings for you! Film selection starts on August 29.

Buying a Curated Experience

Most appropriate for: Film lovers who want to leave the work to TIFF programmers.

This year’s festival offers two special curated experiences:

  • Buzz List: The ultimate A-list TIFF experience, the $1,500 Buzz List ticket bundle will get you into five premium screenings – those high-profile red carpet galas where all the stars come out. It’s a hefty price tag, but for the possibility of rubbing elbows with the best of the best, it’s worth it.
  • Closing Night Film: See the Festival’s Closing Night Film at Roy Thomson Hall on September 16 for $100.

For More Information

Visit the TIFF Ticket Wizard for more information about TIFF tickets, packages and pricing.

Red Carpet Experience

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a movie star on the red carpet? At TIFF, you can get as close to that feeling as possible. From the flashing cameras to the screaming fans to the designer dresses, experience the complete red carpet spectacle at TIFF 2017.

Unleash Your Inner Child

Waiting by the red carpet for the stars to show up is kind of like being a kid at Christmas time. The feelings of excitement and anticipation are the same, except instead of Santa Claus it’s Jake Gyllenhaal or Kate Winslet you’re hoping to see.

Only a handful of films that screen at TIFF are given the full red carpet treatment. This year, TIFF has announced 14 of these special Gala Presentations.

Keep in mind that if you want to actually attend the gala screening, you likely won’t be able to hang around the red carpet long enough to see the stars arrive. Luckily, most TIFF films have multiple screenings throughout the festival so you can always attend a non-gala screening at a later date if you want to both experience the red carpet and see the movie.

Ewan McGregor signs autographs on the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival. Photo by TIFF.

Reach for the Stars

TIFF attracts an abundance of A-listers and this year is no exception. Attending TIFF 2017 are Hollywood and global talents alike, including George Clooney, Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Idris Elba, Helen Mirren, Nicole Kidman, Octavia Spencer, Liam Neeson, Peter Dinklage, Brie Larson, Jessica Chastain, Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan and many more.

Comedians, musicians and sports stars will be heading to the Festival as well, including Jim Carrey, Sarah Silverman and Kevin Hart, Drake, Eric Clapton, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and members of the Tragically Hip, as well as former Toronto Raptors Vince Carter and Cory Joseph.

There will be plenty of homegrown talent too, with the likes of Sarah Polley, Donald Sutherland, Tatiana Maslany, Paul Gross and Ellen Page bringing the Canadian pride to this year’s fest.

Plus, following the world premiere of the documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” pop superstar Lady Gaga herself will be delivering a special, intimate performance. That’s quite the star-studded lineup for this year’s annual film fête!

Once you’ve decided which galas you want to lurk, show up early to get a good spot in front of the red carpet. Then get ready to gawk and gaze as the limos roll in.

Pro TIFF Tips

  • Arrive at least two or three hours before the movie’s start time. The major galas attract large crowds of people hoping to get a photo or an autograph of the stars. If you want any hope of a clear view, you have to get there really early to stake out your spot.
  • Bring a camera. In today’s age of smartphones, you probably have one on you at all times. Just make sure it’s charged. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to snap a selfie in front of Hollywood royalty.
  • Wear something nice. There’s no dress code to gawk at celebrities, but keep in mind that there will be media there and you might end up on camera. Do you really want to be immortalized on film wearing an oversized T-shirt while standing behind Matt Damon? Besides, dressing up will make you feel more like a movie star yourself.
  • Hang around afterward. If you didn’t get a good view or autograph from your favourite celeb on the way in, you may be able to catch them on the way out. Otherwise, head to known King West celebrity hangouts like Soho House and to try to stalk – er, spot them at the afterparty.