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Arts & Entertainment

Imprint, Friday, September 17, 2010 arts@imprint.uwaterloo.ca

TIFF takes over Toronto (and Imprint was there to witness it)

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Paula Trelinska staff reporter

“W

hat’s happening here?” A young woman asked as she walked up to the crowd surrounding a seemingly-unimportant, white tent outside of Roy Thompson Hall. “The Trust film premiere. David Schwimmer and Clive Owen will be here,” somebody answered. The woman thanked the respondent, looked around a moment, and took her place behind the barricades surrounding what would soon be a busy red carpet full of media and celebrities. The premiere was part of TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. Now in its 35th year, TIFF was originally founded as “The Festival of Festivals” in 1976 and showcased a collection of the best films from film festivals around the world. Today it has grown to be an integral and vital part of Hollywood’s marketing campaign, attracting over 200,000 viewers a year. TIFF is non-competitive and serves as a launching pad for many studios to have the “Oscar Buzz” surrounding their films. It is usually an early indicator of Oscar favourites. Films that have been showcased at TIFF and later won at the Academy Awards include Crash (2004) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008) which both won Best Picture. Standing outside of Roy Thompson Hall on that chilly September evening, the audience seemed to care little about next year’s Oscar contenders. Most were focused on snapping pictures of their favourite celebrities as they made their way inside. That night, those who came early were able to see both David Schwimmer and Clive Owen up close. While both did spend some time with the fans, they didn’t make it to those further down the line among whom you could hear the chatter: “George Clooney was really good about this, he spent a lot of time outside and made it all the way down the line of fans,” they said, their voices tinged with disappointment.

Paula Trelinska

See TIFF, page 16

Staff shines the lights on the red carpet as Hollywood stars begin to arrive at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

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16

Arts & Entertainment

toronto international film festival.

Two security personnel stand guard inside the TIFF perimeter outside Roy Thompson Hall.

TIFF showcased a total of 339 films this year... Many of these films were Canadian.

Imprint, Friday, September 17, 2010

Continued from page 13

Every September, for 10 days, this scene plays out many times over in the Hollywood of the North. Fans gather at red carpets just to get a glimpse of their favourite stars, sometimes arriving early in the morning, hours before the first premiere of the day, and remaining until late in the evening. The films’ directors, actors, and other stars arrive in black Cadillacs while fans watch on. Some sign autographs and pose for photos while others head straight toward the line of media outlets waiting for them on the red carpet. While the red carpet premieres certainly draw large crowds, many of the lesser known independent films have strong support as well. With TIFF offering many packages which encourage viewers to see films with less hype behind them, many smaller films get good exposure. The attendees at many of these films are real cinephiles. There is often a question and answer period once the film ends and it is often easy to speak directly with the cast or director. While not as visibly a part of the festival, they are definitely an integral part, proving that it isn’t only well known actors and a big budget that make a film worth watching. Considering both red carpet premieres and smaller films, TIFF showcased a total of 339 films this year. A total of 258 of these were features while 81 were short films. Among these were 112 world premieres and 24 were international premieres. Many of these films were Canadian, showing under the categories of Canada First! and Short Cuts Canada. These films were shown on approximately 37 screens in downtown Toronto. While TIFF is known for bringing media and attention to the Yorkville neighbourhood of Toronto because of the influx of celebrities in the area around the time, the entertainment district is now the centre of many showings and premieres. With this year’s opening of the Bell Lightbox, a sky scraper which will be open to cinephiles year round, it seems TIFF has found a permanent home in the entertainment district. It may be only 10 days, once a year, but this festival transforms Toronto from a city largely behind the scenes to one on the front lines of celebrity and entertainment news. Celebrities are spotted out and about in the city every day. People crowd streets, hotels, and restaurants in hopes of spotting somebody famous. Media outlets spend long days covering the event. Lesser known films gain support, and lesser known actors and directors gain a following. People take in the arts and culture of film quite willingly. And for those who got David Schwimmer to sign their Friends DVD, or got to shake Clive Owen’s hand at the Trust film premiere, they are likely the best 10 days of the year.

Crowds of people wait for Hollywood stars to arrive at the TIFF.

photos by Paula Trelinska

A TIFF staff overlooks the crowd as David Schwimmer arrives on the red carpet.


Tiff takes over Toronto (and Imprint was there to witness it).