Fall conjures up many images that aren’t unique to Toronto; the leaves on the trees changing from green to gold, kids scrambling to catch the bus to school and cooler days that remind us to get ready to brace the cold Canadian winter. However, there’s one event that happens during the fall that only happens in Toronto. The event that I’m talking about is the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). TIFF is one of the largest film festivals in the world and now in its 37th year. The Festival is an opportunity for large production companies to create buzz and a potential audience for their films. It’s also a chance for independent filmmakers to make their international debut. This year over 300 films will be screened during this year’s festival at eleven public venues across downtown Toronto.
During this time of year, the downtown core appears to be livelier with screaming fans, paparazzi around every corner and Hollywood stars being escorted by security guards everywhere they go. I’ve never really been familiar with downtown Toronto as I don’t live there and didn’t venture to this area by myself unless I had a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment until adolescence. Volunteering for TIFF was a way to get to know the downtown core and get a chance to meet new people and check out films I probably wouldn’t have seen on my own time.
The first experience I have ever had with the festival (before I became a volunteer) was during my first week of classes as a first-year student at U of T. My last lecture of the week was ENG140Y1 (If you have a chance to take this course, do it. I highly recommend it.) and we were notified by the professor that we might get kicked out of class early. This was because the organizers needed time to spruce up the theatre (possibly to rid the smell of students?) before the screenings to take place that night at the theatre. The Isabel Bader Theatre is one of the places on campus that serves as one of the venues for this year’s Festival.
This year is my second year as a volunteer and while I haven’t run into anyone famous yet (I’ve only seen them from afar) or weird stories to tell, I’ve met some interesting people. I also plan to see a film on Monday to kick off my first week of classes. If you have time this week to see a film before the festival’s over, go! There’s something for everyone. For people under 25 years of age, single tickets are only $15.04 for regular screenings and $25 for premium screenings!*
The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6th to the 16th. For more information about this year’s festival, visit their website.
*HST not included and tickets must be bought with valid ID.