tiff 2020 plans

Today, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has unveiled its plans for the upcoming 2020 festival. As everyone knows, the coronavirus pandemic has left the future of public events like festivals seriously in doubt (at least for this year). The Cannes Film Festival had to cancel its plans, as did SXSW. But TIFF still wants to make something happen this year. As a result, they’ve laid out a plan to create a hybrid festival that blends physical and online screenings, along with digital red carpets, Q&As, and more.

TIFF 2020

The upcoming 45th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, which takes place September 10–19, will be unlike any TIFF before. With the coronavirus still a real threat – and the Canadian border currently closed to all non-Canadian citizens, with exception of essential workers – it’s literally impossible to host the festival the old fashioned way.

Instead, TIFF will blend physical screenings and drive-ins, digital screenings, virtual red carpets, press conferences, and industry talks. The festival will host 50 new feature films and five programs of short films, along with interactive talks, Q&As, and more. While a full lineup of titles is still to come, TIFF announced a few films today that will play the fest: Ammonite, directed by Francis Lee (United Kingdom); Another Round, from director Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark); Bruised, the debut film from director Halle Berry (USA); Concrete Cowboy by filmmaker Ricky Staub (USA); Fauna, from director Nicolás Pereda (Mexico/Canada); Good Joe Bell by director Reinaldo Marcus Green (USA); Spring Blossom, the debut film by director Suzanne Lindon (France); and True Mothers by director Naomi Kawase (Japan). More titles will be announced over the summer.

The first five days of the festival will premiere the full slate of films as physical, socially-distanced screenings:

Festival-goers can also enjoy drive-ins and outdoor experiences that take them beyond the movie theatre. TIFF is working closely with the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto, and public health officials on the safe execution of the Festival, with its number one priority being the health and well-being of both Festival filmgoers and the residents of the entire community. This presentation of TIFF’s traditional in-person ?lm festival will be contingent on the province’s reopening framework to ensure that festival venues and workplaces practice, meet and exceed public health guidelines.

For those of us who probably won’t be able to travel to Toronto (like me), TIFF will launch a digital platform for the fest for the first time ever. The online platform is still being developed and will host digital screenings along with events.

TIFF will launch a digital platform for the Festival, affording new opportunities to connect with audiences beyond Toronto. TIFF has partnered with Shift72 to develop this industry-leading online platform. Over the 10 days, the platform will host digital screenings, as well as numerous talks and special events.

“The pandemic has hit TIFF hard, but we’ve responded by going back to our original inspiration — to bring the very best in film to the broadest possible audience,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head, TIFF. “Our teams have had to rethink everything, and open our minds to new ideas. In countless video calls over the past three months we have rebuilt our Festival for 2020 drawing on our five decades of commitment to strong curation, support for filmmakers and engagement with audiences. We have listened to this year’s urgent calls for greater representation of underrepresented voices. You’ll see that this year at the Festival. And we have watched as audiences have embraced cinema’s ability to transport them through screens of all sizes. You’ll see that too. We’re excited to present thoughtful, high-impact programming this September that reflects our belief that there’s no stopping great storytelling.”

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