Toronto International Film Festival

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Event date September 2019 (dates to be announced) LocationTIFF Bell Lightbox & various venues Official website Official website

The biggest and brightest public film festival on the planet takes over Toronto each September with world premieres, cutting-edge film, galas and industry schmoozes. Whether you’re a cinephile or just love to see the celebs, Toronto during TIFF is the place to be.

Actor Jason Mitchell on the TIFF Red Carpet.
Jason Mitchell on the TIFF Red Carpet

TIFF 2018 Movie Guide

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is back for its 43rd year, featuring 16 Gala Presentations and 34 Special Presentations, and 13 features directed by women. 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

A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper): Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut features the story of a country music star (Bradley Cooper) who discovers – and falls in love with – a struggling singer (Lady Gaga) trying to make a name for herself. When her career skyrockets, their relationship starts to fade as he becomes conflicted with his never-ending internal demons.

Beautiful Boy (Felix Van Groeningen): Adapted from bestselling pair of memoirs by father and son David and Nic Sheff (Steve Carrell and Timothée Chalamet), this film shines a spotlight on addiction to methamphetamine.

First Man (Damien Chazelle): The Academy Award-winning team of director Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling (La La Land) reunite for an exhilarating tale of Neil Armstrong and NASA’s mission to land on the moon.

If You’re in the Mood For: Canadian Content

The Hummingbird Project (Kim Nguyen) Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgård portray two scheming cousins who attempt to build a thousand-mile long, four-inch-wide tunnel from Kansas to New Jersey making them rich beyond their wildest dreams.

Sharkwater Extinction (Rob Stewart) Late filmmaker and conservationist Rob Stewart’s last documentary reveals the truth of the illegal shark-fin industry and a wake-up call to save sharks from extinction.

Through Black Spruce (Don McKellar) Based on Joseph Boyden’s book Through Black Spruce, the film stars Tantoo Cardinal, Brandon Oakes, Graham Greene and Tanaya Beatty in the lead as a young Cree woman whose disappearance effects the people she left behind in Moosonee, the remote Northern Ontario community she ran away from and Toronto, where she modelled before going missing.

If You’re in the Mood For: Female Filmmaker Flicks

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller) A biopic by Lee Israel and directed by Marielle Heller, features a jaded, out-of-work biographer (Melissa McCarthy) who is in desperate need of some income, decides to sell forged historical letters appearing to be written by deceased writers, playwrights and actors.

High Life (Claire Denis) French Filmmaker Claire Denis’s anticipated English-language debut stars Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth and André Benjamin as a group of criminals shipped into outer space.

Galveston (Mélanie Laurent) Adapted from True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto’s bestseller and Mélanie Laurent’s English-language debut, tells the story of an injured hitman (Ben Foster) fleeing to Galveston with a troubled young prostitute (Elle Fanning) and her kid sister.

If You’re in the Mood For: Drama

The Hate U Give (George Tillman, Jr.) Based on the young adult novel by Angie Thomas, this timely commentary in the Black Lives Matter era, follows Starr, a promising student and cherished daughter who becomes involved in activism after witnessing the police shoot one of her childhood friends.

Ben is Back (Peter Hedges) A family drama about a troubled nineteen-year-old son (Lucas Hedges) returning home, forcing his concerned mother (Julia Roberts) into a situation where she must do everything she can to help the family stick together through thick and thin.

Colette (Wash Westmoreland) A historical drama about an eponymous French novelist (Keira Knightley) who writes a provocative and highly successful novel – falsely credited to her husband, triggering a fight for identity and equality during the early 20th century.

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 more information about purchasing tickets and packages to the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

Buying Individual TIFF Tickets

Most appropriate for: 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.

Tip: 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 high-profile films, be prepared to place your order as soon as these tickets go on sale to make sure you get a spot.

Individual tickets go on sale to the public on September 3 at 10 a.m., with sales reopening on September 4. Prices range from $10 and $25 for weekday daytime screenings to $28 and $35 for regular evening and weekend screenings to $52 and $59 for premium tickets. Remember to buy early so you can get the most savings!

Buying a Flex Pack

Most appropriate for: Movie buffs who want to see a large number of specific films.

This year, the festival offers four ticket package options:

  • Regular Flex: Buy in increments of 10 starting at $240.
  • Premium Flex: Get six of the hottest tickets first, with the choice of any premium screenings, for $425.
  • Weekday Daytime: Get 10 tickets for weekday screenings starting at 5 p.m. or earlier, for $165.
  • Back Half: Get six tickets for films screening from September 12 to 16, for $105.

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. Plus, the larger the flex pack, the more savings for you! Film selection starts on August 20.

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 15 for $100.

For More Information

Visit TIFF Tickets for more information about packages and pricing.

Red Carpet Experience

Ever wonder 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 2018.

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 Ryan Gosling or Julia Roberts 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 16 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 experience both the red carpet and the movie.

Reach for the Stars

TIFF always attracts an abundance of A-listers, and this year will be no exception. You can get some idea of which celebrities will be showing up to which galas based on who’s starring in them – although part of the excitement of attending TIFF galas is that you never know exactly who you will see until you get there!

Here is a by-no-means-complete list of celebrities appearing in this year’s films: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julia Roberts, Viola Davis, Dame Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson, Liam Neeson, Danny Glover, Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Hilary Swank, Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Annette Bening, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Elle Fanning, Lili Reinhart, Olivia Wilde, Oscar Isaac, Antonio Banderas, Amandla Stenberg, KJ Apa, Common, Anthony Mackie, Ben Mendelsohn, Edie Falco, Taylor Schilling, Troian Bellisario, Gabrielle Union, Michael Shannon, Daniel Kaluuya, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, Carey Mulligan, Matt Bomer, Issa Rae, Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, Elisabeth Moss, Lucas Hedges, Sam Elliott, Dev Patel, Salma Hayek, Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård.

There will be plenty of homegrown talent too, with the likes of Patrick J. Adams, Tantoo Cardinal, Eddie Peng, Devery Jacobs, Lamar Johnson, Michaela Kurimsky and Jessica Salgueiro.

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 snap as the limos roll in.