TIFF back in person and better than ever


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The Toronto International Film Festival is back in full force.

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After two years of pandemic precautions, TIFF 2022 will be entirely in-person and mostly festive.

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And no one is happier about it than TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey.

“It’s great to be back to come together in a way we haven’t seen in a few years,” Bailey said in a recent interview. “We’ve got tons of amazing things that we’ve been able to achieve and it feels good to see the city opening up more and more.”

Bailey credits his “incredible team” with the Herculean task of putting it all together after the pandemic.

“It’s not something one person could do alone. We have regrouped.

“We knew we wanted to come back strong and we worked on it.”

TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey.
TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey. Photo by Georges Pimentel

Bailey’s ‘tons of amazing stuff’ includes 63 world premieres, like Stephen Spielberg’s The Fabelmansby Sally El Hosaini Swimmers, Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The female kingVirgin Clement Brother and Tobias Lindhold The good nurse.

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Sarah Polley’s highly anticipated new film, women who talkis on the slate, and a slew of other movies – Decision to leave, The Eternal Daughter, Holy Spider, The whale, My Ppoliceman and so many others – are generating massive buzz.

Among hundreds of other celebrities, Viola Davis, Eddie Redmayne and Taylor Swift will be here as part of there “In Conversation program.

And intergenerational superstar Michelle Yeoh (Everything everywhere all at once; boobies rich asian; Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) will be there to receive the first TIFF Share Her Journey Groundbreaker award.

With “content” available everywhere now from countless sources, one of the most interesting things about TIFF for many moviegoers is its curatorial role.

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“It’s hard to figure out what you want to see, what’s going to speak to you,” Bailey said.

“We’re trying to find the best work, the work that has the biggest impact…and the kinds of films and shows that are going to be culturally meaningful, that will mean something, that will move art forms forward.”

Taylor Swift – Brits 2021 – MUST CREDIT John Marshall
Taylor Swift – Brits 2021 – MUST CREDIT John Marshall bang showbiz

To present 200 feature films and 50 short films to TIFF, Bailey said, “we watch thousands and thousands of films to sort through it and hope that in our selections there will be something for everyone, that people will find the work that will mean the most to them.

On the eve of TIFF 2022, Bailey said he was proud to have “kept the light shining” for the festival through the pandemic years with drive-in movies, streaming and all the right things.

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“We had to keep our eyes on the mission, which is to bring films to people, because we believe that films can really transform our lives. They can be great entertainment, but they can be so much more.

“So that light was important and we never let go of it.”

Now we’re finally getting back to experiencing movies in theaters with lots of other people, and that’s important, “because feeling it together is bigger than what you might feel alone. It amplifies the laughs, the suspense and the excitement,” Bailey said.

“That’s what we’ve been keeping an eye on and I’m proud that we’re able to bring that back to the public, and in a massive way this year.”

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A CULTURAL AND FINANCIAL PHENOMENON

For all the glitz and glamour, TIFF works hard to offer something for everyone – like free movies, music and family-friendly activities on “Festival Street,” that strip of King W. between Peter St. and University Ave. which becomes an outdoor market during the festival.

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TIFF is also a huge financial boon to our city, and not just the $114 million in tourism and entertainment dollars it attracts.

“TIFF’s success is part of our city’s overall success in massively growing and expanding our film industry,” said Mayor John Tory.

Toronto hit historic investments with more than $2.5 billion in direct spending on film, television and digital productions in 2021, the mayor said, “and we’re seeing rapid growth and momentum again in 2022.”

The work to attract new investment into the screen industry, and most importantly, create new jobs and retain the thousands of jobs already here, “is so helped by TIFF,” Tory said.

“The overall film and television sector will be a vital part of the city’s economic recovery from the pandemic and I look to TIFF to deliver Toronto again in many ways as it has for decades.”

The 47th Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8-18.

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