Editor's Note: It's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) launch day today! If you are scrambling to figure out what to see, click on "continue reading" link below for a list of exciting films.
The Entertainment District (see Realosophy's Entertainment District neighbourhood profile) will see the opening of new landmark on September 12, the new Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Bell Lightbox, a one-size-fits-all hub for film in Toronto (there will be a public street festival to celebrate).
It's an exciting but anxious time for many of the city's dedicated film goers, particularly those of us who've been members of Cinematheque Ontario, a rep theatre dedicated to alternative and art cinema since 1990 (see Toronto Star's recent article on founding programmer James Quandt). As of September, Cinematheque will leave its often pilloried, but well loved home at the AGO's Jackmall Hall and move into the Lightbox, along with TIFF's year round programming and other community programming.
At the Lightbox, film grows up, graduating to food and drinks supplied by Oliver & Bonacini's casual O&B Canteen and upscale restaurant Luma. (For the chronically late, this may be an upgrade from running for a slice of pizza or some pub food and a hastily gulping down coffee before lining up at Jackmall Hall.) Growing up also means price hikes for tickets and memberships, and it will be interesting to see if the TIFF's CEO and supporters are making the right gamble in assuming that Toronto film lovers will (can) reach deep into their pockets to go bigger and flashier, all year round.
The Lightbox and its sophisticated hotel friends (Thompson, Ritz Carleton, Bisha) may also break up the interminable squabbling between the Entertainment District's clubland entrepreneurs and patrons and its residents. Like that predictable 2 am fight started by your cute, Neanderthal boyfriend from the other high school, the neighbourhood's insular battles have long bored the rest of the city, making a new storyline for the neighbourhood most welcome.
The opening of this year's TIFF this Thursday, September 9th gives you the perfect chance to check out some of the new architecture in the Entertainment District. If you are worried about crowds and overhyped films, opt to see a film from the festival's Discovery Programme, featuring new and emerging directors and their compelling films from around the world (screenings are at various festival theatres). For a budget friendly option, there is also the TIFF for Free Programme, which features free screenings of classic films at the Lightbox - expect more of a crowd.
TIFF Discovery Programme and TIFF for Free films listed below. Please check with the TIFF box office for show times, locations and ticket prices.