The Toronto International Film Festival is back for its 45th year, showcasing 50 feature films and five programmes of short films. That’s not all. In evolving with the times, the festival has innovatively adapted with virtual and drive-in options, keeping its festival-goers safe and well-distanced. This year’s programming prioritizes female, Black and Indigenous voices, with a focus on highlighting under-represented experiences.
Where, what and how to watchYou can now enjoy TIFF from a variety of viewing platforms. For the traditionalists, in-cinema theatres include TIFF Bell Lightbox and Isabel Bader Theatre. Indoor screenings are capped at 50 and attendees must wear a mask at all times, unless they’re in their assigned theatre seats. Drive-in screenings take place at CityView Drive-In and Ontario Place, wherein each ticket-holder receives an assigned parking spot. Alternatively, festival-goers can watch films on assigned lawn pods at Ontario Place’s West Island Open-Air Cinema. All outdoor screenings are capped at 100. See TIFF’s health and safety guidelines to learn more. If you’d rather attend TIFF from home, the festival is partnering with Bell Media’s Crave for Stay-at-Home Cinema. And as of September 9, screenings and events will be available online via the Bell Digital Cinema app. Purchase your festival tickets online or over the phone. Public tickets go on sale September 5 and as of September 8, TIFF Bell Lightbox reopens to facilitate in-cinema and drive-in ticketing. Unlike previous years, ticket packages are no longer sold and individual tickets can only be bought in singles or pairs. All ticketed films include gala and special presentations.
Buzzworthy films to consider:
- Ammonite, Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan star in this historical period piece
- Bruised, Director Halle Berry documents the struggles of a former MMA fighter
- Fauna, Mexican-Canadian Nicolás Pereda directs a comedic take on crime culture
- Concrete Cowboy, Idris Elba shines in his portrayal of a Black horse trainer in Philly
- Lift Like a Girl, Director Mayye Zayed intimately follows aspiring-weightlifter Zebiba
- Get the Hell Out, Director I-Fan Wang entertains with his chaotic horror-comedy
- One Night in Miami, Regina King directs a fictional meeting of Black cultural icons
- Summer of ’85, Director François Ozon gifts us a romantic 1980s coming-of-age
- Beans, Indigenous director Tracy Deer chronicles the 3-month “Oka Crisis” standoff
Celebrating Black cinema with Planet Africa 25TIFF first launched Planet Africa way back in 1995. 25 years later, in the spirit of 2020’s Black Lives Matter movement and a milestone anniversary, now more than ever the programme shines a spotlight on Black voices, experiences and stories. Dedicated to African cinema and diaspora, Planet Africa showcases Black cinema at its finest. This year’s programme introduces four impactful films—Akilla’s Escape, Downstream to Kinshasa, 40 Years A Prisoner and The Way I See It—and is also hosting a free livestream dance party, featuring DJ Campbell and Mr Akil D. The Planet Africa virtual party takes place on September 13 at 10 p.m. EST.
Celebs get candid at TIFF ‘20: In Conversation With…
Sit down with six of the industry’s biggest names to talk creativity, activism, feminism and the art of filmmaking during TIFF’s In Conversation With series. These candid conversations are film-centric and around 50 minutes long. All discussions take place online through Bell Digital Talks. This year’s celebrity convos feature:
- Ava Duvernay
- Barry Levinson & Denzel Washington
- Claire Denis & Barry Jenkins
- D-Nice & Anthony Mandler
- Halle Berry
- Saoirse Ronan
Hybrid premieres for a hybrid festivalWe love TIFF for its glitzy red carpet premieres but this year its red carpet is rolled out across many platforms. Buzzworthy events include the drive-in premiere of the Canadian documentary, Underplayed.
Stacey Lee’s feminist film examines gender inequality in the electronic music scene. The premiere takes place at Ontario Place on September 19 and is followed by a live DJ performance by REZZ, who is also portrayed in Lee’s film.
Another major upside to TIFF going digital is the premiere of the anticipated CBC series Trickster. As a festival-goer likely watching from your living room, you can now enjoy the entire Canadian drama at your leisure. Michelle Latimer’s adaptation of the Indigenous trilogy will be available on Bell Digital Cinema and at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Take a look at TIFF’s full lineup of special events, including other multi-platform premieres and interviews.