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Toronto International Film Festival



  • Many major sales tend to go down at the festival ("The Wrestler" and "A Single Man" two major recent examples), while dozens of films already set for distribution use the fest as a launching pad. Many an Oscar campaign has started in Toronto, some of them quite successful (see "American Beauty," "Juno," "Slumdog Millionaire," etc.)

Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival, or TIFF as its widely known, is a massive, publicly-attended film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Widely considered the kick-off of the North American fall movie season and the launch of many awards campaigns, TIFF is essentially a must for anyone on all sides of the North American film industry industry - from buyers and sellers to bloggers and critics and anyone in between.

The festival was originally known as "The Festival of Festivals," and began in 1976 at the Windsor Arms Hotel in downtown Toronto. At this point, it was essentially a collection of the best films from festivals around the world, much like fests like New York and AFI are today. In the mid-1990s, though, the festival underwent a major transformation (and a name change), and with it became a big part of Hollywood's marketing machine.  

Today, between 300 and 400 films are screened, many of them major world or international premieres, but the large size of the program has also been critiqued as making the festival too big to navigate. With all of the star-driven films getting the media attention, smaller films have to work even harder to gain traction. Screenings occur all around Toronto's downtown area, though the festival is centered around hub the "Bell Lightbox" (which open in 2010).

The city itself is friendly, clean, and the festival prides itself on Toronto's audiences, and the industry generally agrees - part of the reason Toronto has been so successful as a major festival is its ability to work as a real test of audience reaction.

The Director and CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival, since 1994, is Piers Handling. In 2004, Noah Cowan became co-director of the festival. In late 2007, Cowan was promoted to Artistic Director of aforementioned Bell Lightbox, while long-time programmer Cameron Bailey succeeded as co-director.

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