TORONTO loves the movies. With 70 downtown screens and about a dozen neighbourhood cinemas, weekly film festivals, summertime outdoor screenings, TIFF’s galleries, research library, and cinematheque, and three film studio complexes – the Toronto International Film Festival is the cherry on top.
“Room”, an Irish/Canada co-production, took the top prize this year – The People’s Choice Award. It’s a mother-and-son abduction drama that could well be Oscar material. Based on Canadian author Emma Donoghue‘s novel, the story follows a mother and young son <Vancouver’s Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson> who live in a 10 by 10 foot space. The boy – for the moment anyway – believes this is the entire world. But his curiosity is growing, along with his mother’s desperation.
Top prize in the Platform program for global drama went to TORONTO filmmaker Alan Zweig. He took the $25,000 prize for HURT, a documentary about Steve Fonyo, the cross-country Canadian runner who raised millions of dollars for cancer research 30 years ago, and has fallen on hard times since. Twelve international films competed for this prize. Jurors from China, Holland and France joked there was no chance this was an ‘inside job‘ because “we’re not Canadian!”
With 3,000 volunteers, large and comfortable cinemas, films from the four corners of the world (39 from Canada this year), open to the public, financial support from three levels of government, and stars galore – after 40 years, TIFF remains a smashing success and a well-earned feather in TORONTO’s cap. We do this very well indeed.
Hands across the border: 25-30 veterans of the Toronto International Film Festival pay airfare, food and sometimes lodging, and head annually to PARK CITY, Utah for ‘winter camp’ (aka the famed Sundance Film Festival). The love of movies, camaraderie, atmosphere and parties keep them volunteering year after year. WHITNEY CHANEY, Sundance’s manager of the volunteer program: “They’re the theatre managers. If the programmer isn’t there, they’re also introducing the Q & A’s. They’re running all the behind-the-scenes and they’re the leaders of the teams there. It’s their house and their work.” Sundance Director JOHN COOPER: “I know all about them. I love them. They’re very organized. It’s an interesting world, this thing of film festivals, and it’s hard to learn. Anybody who comes seasoned is a diamond for me, so I rely on them.” PIERS HANDLING, Toronto International Film Festival’s CEO and director says “we are proud of these team members who are at the top of their field, whose talent is recognized and who travel to share their skills and experiences.”
For two weeks in September/2013, TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) screened over 300 films, and 150 world premiere features; hosted thousands of the world’s most prominent filmmakers, actors, producers and business people. The Festival has grown to rival all other film festivals worldwide – with the exception of Cannes. For Torontonians and visitors alike, TIFF plays a leading role in their Fall Season.CAMERON BAILEY, Artistic Director, Toronto International Film Festival: “Are we too big? No, because big works in TORONTO. As Torontonians, we’re used to being Canada’s biggest target for mockery. We’d miss that if it ever stopped. More seriously, in TORONTO size affords diversity. By global standards we’re not a huge city but we’re big enough to accommodate some of the world’s largest immigrant communities from China, India, Italy, Jamaica, Tibet and many other locales. There are 140 languages and dialects spoken daily in TORONTO. There is one of the world’s largest Pride parades. That’s what big gets you. The city is big enough to host over eighty (80) film festivals each year. As the biggest of those festivals, we’ve chosen to use our size to bring what we consider the world’s best films and most exciting guests to town. For eleven days, we want a vibrant, limitless swirl of cinema, a plunge into an intoxicating ocean. We want it big, because size matters.” <PHOTO BELOW – Reuters>
Following their triumph with MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES, photographer EDWARD BURTYNSKY and filmmaker JENNIFER BAICHWAL reunite to explore the ways in which humanity has shaped, manipulated and depleted one of its most vital and compromised resources: water. Burtynsky will share directorial credits with Ms. Baichwal on the documentary, WATERMARK, premiering in September at TORONTO’S International Film Festival. PHOTO – Evan Mitsui/CBC
EDWARD BURTYNSKY is one of Canada’s most respected photographers. His remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of over fifty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California. He’s a graduate of Ryerson University (Bachelor of Applied Arts in Photography) in TORONTO, and studied Graphic Art at Niagara College in WELLAND.