The Toronto Intl. Film Festival opened its five-story headquarters, the year-round cinema viewing and education palace TIFF Bell Lightbox, on the corner of King and John streets in 2010, creating a long-awaited downtown hub with a concentration of theaters, partner hotels and party venues all within walking distance.The 2012 festival orientation grid remains close to last year’s version — with minor tweaks. The Lightbox’s five cinemas offer both public and press/industry screenings and high-profile industry programming. The press office and lounge are tucked in the third-floor learning center but for 2012, in response to last year’s bottleneck issues, daily press conferences are being held in the ground-level gallery. The space, which hosted the popular Tim Burton and Grace Kelly exhibitions, is being wired for all media needs and has capacity for 110 journos. One block West, the Hyatt Regency returns as official host hotel and home of badge-pickup (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and the TIFF Industry Centre, which includes the sales office, industry programming, filmmaker’s lounge and other services. Last year the festival added the Princess of Wales Theater, located one block east from the Lightbox and across from long-time Gala home Roy Thomson Hall. Scotiabank Theater (P&Is & public) lies a couple block north. The Yonge Street corridor has the spacious Winter Garden, AMC 24 and the Ryerson, home of raucous Midnight Madness preems. The new venue addition is a old favorite. The 710-seat Bloor Cinema — a popular local rep house for over 20 years — was renovated, with projection and sound upgraded, and re-opened last spring as the Hot Docs’ year-round venue. It’s 20 minutes by taxi or subway from the main fest hub but, with docu and Vanguard preems on the menu and the vibrant Annex neighborhood to discover, the Bloor should prove a hot spot for attendees needing respite from the beaten path.
Indie opportunities await at Toronto | Themes weave throughout diverse lineup | Toronto’s raffish hub gets posh hotels, grub | Focus stays downtown as docs get new home | Four spas offer pause to festgoers | Pic promoters blaze many trails to happy endings | Toronto giving docus Gala treatment | TIFF ratchets up femme focus in docs