The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the most prestigious festivals of its kind in the world, and is surely among the most highly anticipated events throughout the year in the city. Toronto is an exciting metropolis to begin with, but for ten days at the beginning of September, the capital of Ontario is more vibrant and alive than nearly any other time of the year. The Toronto Film Festival was established and first held in 1976. Every year since its inception the festival has grown both in attendance and popularity. Now Toronto Film Festival events draw the elite of the entertainment industry from all over the world. Between 300 and 400 films are screened every year at some 25 downtown Toronto theaters and attendance reaches well into the hundreds of thousands.
The Toronto International Film Festival is primarily held within the Yorkville neighborhood in the downtown core. There are many restaurants, clubs, shopping centers, bars, and boutiques. The atmosphere is absolutely electric and the international media has taken to reporting on the happenings on the Red Carpet at the Toronto Film Festival, just as the Academy Awards are covered in the United States. Although the TIFF has begun to incorporate many more Hollywood and big budget productions into the fold, it maintains its independent roots and does a great job of dividing the programming into categories, making it much easier for visitors to narrow in on exactly which films they want to see.
As an example, the Canada First program is a showcase of emerging talent in the world of filmmaking in Canada. The City to City portion is one of the most anticipated Toronto Film Festival events, as it is designed to immerse attendants in the world of filmmaking from a new market each year. These include cities like New York, Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, and many more. The cool thing is that only one city is spotlighted in this portion of the festival every year, allowing you to really see what is going on, for instance, with filmmaking in Tel Aviv at the time. Contemporary World Cinema takes a look at the best films from around the world and Discovery is the category into which innovative and challenging new filmmakers are normally classified. The Toronto Film Festival even adds categories like Masters, that specially screen the latest works by the most famous and internationally renowned filmmakers from around the globe. The list of categories goes on and on, from Vanguard to Mavericks, Short Cuts Canada to Galas, and much more. Among the some 400 films that will be screened this year at the Toronto International Film Festival, you will be certain to find at least one film, if not a lot of films that appeal particularly to you.
If you are planning a trip to Toronto, the beginning of September is a fantastic time to travel. The weather is temperate and the city is buzzing with things to do and interesting people and films to see. Many hotels offer discounts when you book two- or three-night stays and some even include tickets to attractions like the CN Tower, and even gala events associated with the festival as well. Book your accommodations as far in advance as possible as many hotels fill up quickly as the festival approaches.
Image: Toronto Tourism