Toronto Film Fest at a glance

TORONTO — The Toronto Intl. Film Festival started modestly 26 years ago when Dusty Cohl, Bill Marshall and Henk van der Kolk cooked up a scheme to raise the profile of the Canadian film industry by organizing a festival of the best films from other festivals throughout the year.

Today, the Toronto event is one of the leading film festivals worldwide. For 10 days each September, the fest plays host to some 2,500 industryites; 1,000 guests, filmmakers and talent; 700 buyers and sellers; 750 members of the press; and thousands and thousands of movie enthusiasts who come out to see 300 plus films from over 50 countries.Here’s the lowdown on places, numbers and dates that might come in handy this year:

Fest dates: Sept. 6-15 Location: 19 screens, 11 host hotels in downtown Toronto

Festival headquarters: Hotel Park Hyatt Toronto (4 Avenue Road) and the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto (21 Avenue Road)

Theaters: Roy Thomson Hall (60 Simcoe St.); the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre (189 Yonge St.); National Film Board of Canada’s John Spotton Cinema (150 John St.); Royal Ontario Museum Theatre (100 Queen’s Park); Cineplex Odeon Varsity Cinemas (55 Bloor St. West); Alliance Atlantis Cumberland Cinemas (159 Cumberland St.); Famous Players Uptown Cinemas (764 Yonge St.); Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles St. West)

Programs:

  • Canadian Retrospective: Jean Pierre Lefebvre’s Videaste film series

  • Contemporary World Cinema: Showcase of cinema from around the globe

  • Directors Spotlight: Focus on a non-North American helmer, this year Austria’s Ulrich Seidl

  • Dialogues: Guest filmmakers present a film of personal significance

  • Discovery: Premieres of first and second films

  • Galas: High-profile premieres

  • Masters: Films from internationally renowned helmers

  • Midnight Madness: Genre films repping the “the weird and the wonderful”

  • National Cinema: This year’s focus, Nordic Visions, a selection of recent films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden

  • Perspective Canada: new Canuck cinema

  • Planet Africa: Showcase of best work from Africa and the African diaspora

  • Real to Reel: documentary films

  • Special Presentations: Films featuring major stars and directors

  • Wavelengths: New section featuring avant-garde films

Awards: AGF People’s Choice Award (audience award); Fipresci Award (international critics’ pick); Volkswagen Discovery Award (press corps’ favorite from the Discovery program); CityTV Award for best Canadian first feature (prize: C$16,000 ($9,750)); Toronto-City Award for best Canadian feature film ($16,250); NFB-John Spotton Award for best Canadian short ($6,500 in cash and goods)

Festival box office: Toronto Eaton Centre, Level One, Dundas Mall Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily Aug. 27-Sept. 15 (exceptions: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 2, 3 and 15)

Web address: www.bell.ca/filmfest

Ticket line: (416) 968-3456

Informal film market: the Rogers Industry Centre and the OMDC Sales Office are headquartered at the Park Hyatt Hotel; phone: (416) 934-3219

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