For decades, the Toronto International Film Festival has made Canada’s largest city a destination for the worldwide film community at its annual September event. The plan now is for the long awaited debut of its festival center, TIFF Bell Lightbox, and its year-round programming to capture the spotlight the rest of the year as well. Noah Cowan, Artistic Director of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, announced highlights of the center’s inaugural fall program this morning. Covering events taking place from September 23 to November 24, the announcement includes a lineup of contemporary and classic exclusive engagements and a wide array of special events and guests.
“We are looking forward to sharing our new home and all of its cinematic treasures, new and old, with the public,” said Noah Cowan, in a statement. “Extraordinary collaborations from our local film distribution community and the international network of cinematheques and film museums have made this programme possible. We urge everyone to start marking their calendar now. It’s going to be a busy and exciting couple of months.”
Confirmed guests include David Cronenberg, Michael Snow, Michael Murphy, Isabella Rossellini, Jeff Lindsay, John Waters, Molly Haskell, Walter Murch; and Peter Bogdanovich. Cronenberg, for example, will introduce his “Videodrome,” while artist and filmmaker Snow will introduce a special presentation of his “Wavelength,” followed by an on-stage conversation about the film.
Additionally some of the most accomplished musicians from the classical and popular music worlds will create live accompaniment for silent films on TIFF’s “Essential Cinema,” a lineup of some of the “best films” in cinema’s history. Some highlights include award-winning composer Michael Nyman’s score for “Man with a Movie Camera,” Toronto instrumental post-rock outfit Do Make Say Think’s take on “Greed,” and multimedia artist and writer DJ Spooky’s “Rebirth of a Nation.”
The center will also house exclusive engagements of contemporary and classic films beginning on September 23rd. The lineup kicks off with an notable trio: Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Palme d’Or winner “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” Xavier Dolan’s “Les amours imaginaires,” and Yael Hersonski’s “A Film Unfinished.”
Major titles coming later include Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s “Howl,” Bruce McDonald’s “Trigger” (which will also be the first film to screen at TIFF Bell Lightbox during the Toronto International Film Festival). Jeff Malmberg’s “Marwencol,” Denis Villeneuve’s “Incendies,” and Olivier Assayas’s expansive historical epic, “Carlos.” Restored and archival prints of ten “Essential Cinema” classics will also play as exclusive engagements, including Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless,” Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather,” new prints of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” Carol Reed’s “The Third Man,” and Wong Kar-wai’s “Chungking Express,” as well as Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis,” presented in its newly restored, most complete version, which includes 25 minutes of lost footage.
TIFF Bell Lightbox will offer a range of special programming over four weekends throughout the fall. They include “Essential Restorations: Four Films from the Academy Film Archive,” a special weekend devoted to the Academy’s invaluable restorations of four cinematic masterpieces. It will include an in-depth discussion with Academy Film Archive Director Michael Pogorzelski.
Halloween will offer “family-friendly” daytime screenings, activities and workshops and a night-time double-bill of horror classics selected and hosted by Canadian filmmaker Vincenzo Natali. Also part of Halloween activities, Canadian composer, musician and bandleader, Andrew Downing, will appear with his ensemble to perform Caligari in Concert!, their original score for the silent German Expressionist classic, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” while The Hand Eye Society’s Arcadian Renaissance will offer free classic arcade games, created by Toronto indie designers.
Audiences will celebrate the City of Toronto’s 5th annual Scotiabank Nuit Blanche with an eclectic range of programs such as “Singin’ in the Dark,” a sing-along with stand-up and cabaret artist Shawn Hitchins, featuring hit tunes from the movies and “Grindbox!,” described as a “celebration of the weird, the wild and the wonderful.” During Culture Days, TIFF will present an array of free screenings, installations and family activities, including a screening of Buster Keaton’s “Sherlock Jr.” (1924), which will be presented with live musical accompaniment by Toronto swing-klez band Fern Lindzon Sextet.
“With the launch of our inaugural season of programming in our new home, we are offering audiences a rich and dynamic experience at TIFF Bell Lightbox,” said Piers Handling, Director and CEO of TIFF, in a statement. “Our curatorial team has been working tirelessly over the past two years to bring to TIFF Bell Lightbox many of the world’s most interesting filmmakers, critics, musicians and personalities to celebrate cinema’s power and magic and today’s announcement proves that they have achieved this ambitious goal.”
For more information about the programming, visit TIFF’s website.