Top 9 Things to Know About the Toronto Film Festival

The Judge Toronto Film Festival

Here are nine things you probably don’t know about the Toronto Film Festival, which starts Sept. 4:

Gone are the days when the party grid was lean until the weekend. The glam hits the fan festival eve (Sept. 3) with TIFF Gala — a $1,500-per-ticket charity event supporting the fest’s education and philanthropic activities — where Al Pacino (who’s in Barry Levinson’s “The Humbling” and David Gordon Green’s “Manglehorn,” both at TIFF) shares insights during an onstage conversation.

The Gala world preem of “The Judge” kicks off the fest, with the D-List (director David Dobkin, stars Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall) hitting the red carpet. But opening-night thrills no longer revolve around one film. “Tokyo Tribe” from Sion Sono (helmer of 2013 Midnight aud award winner “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?”) and Marah Strauch’s feature bow, “Sunshine Superman,” launch, respectively, Midnight and TIFF Doc sidebars.

The new Festival Street transforms five blocks of King Street into a pedestrian-only promenade and unleashes multidisciplinary madness — pop-up perfs, film-inspired art installations, a fringe-theater stage, the HAL 9000 Photo Booth, an evening stage with bands and DJs — from Sept. 4-7.

The City to City sidebar serves up eight genre-spanning pics from the Korean capital this year. And with South Korea’s new wave talent hitting North American auds hard, the fest also spices up the Gala section with the international preem of Shim Sung-bo’s feature bow “Haemoo.” And there will be no escaping anarchic art collective Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries’ world-preeming “Some Graphic Sex, Heavy Drinking, Bloody Violence, and Dirty Language: Seven One-Minute Feature-Like Films About Seoul,” installed in and around the Lightbox.

The AMC Supper Suite relocates to America, that is, the freshly remodeled (last week!) and rebranded high-end noshery-nightclub on the 31st floor of the Trump Intl. Hotel Toronto. Celebs and VIPs converge over six days of premiere gatherings — notably industry nonprofit the Creative Coalition’s annual Spotlight Award bash. Closer to hip level, Soho House Toronto once again hosts an array of soirees on one floor of its three-story heritage building.

The strong showing at TIFF by Canadian filmmakers last year seems bound to repeat with new pics from David Cronenberg, Jean-Marc Vallee, Philippe Falardeau, Xavier Dolan and Denys Arcand — not to mention strong veteran docu voices (Alanis Obomsawin, Sturla Gunnarsson, Harold Crooks, Paul Cowan), and mid-career contenders (Ruba Nadda, Jacob Tierney, Blaine Thurier among them). The wild card is 10 world-preeming Canuck features representing a quarter of the Discovery program.

Major players touch down for the working sessions of the Asian Film Summit (Sept. 9) and the trend-leaning chats of Doc Conference (Sept. 9, 10). The core confab is the seven-day TIFF Industry (emerging ideas in biz and tech) at the Glenn Gould Studio. New this year are lively wakeups: morning State of the Industry addresses from insiders and midday innovator-driven Lightening Rounds. Expect producers to pack the Mogul session with Zurich-based film financing dynamo Claudia Bluemhuber.

The fifth annual Festival Music House turns it up to 11 on Sept. 7 and 8 with invite-only showcases enticing film and TV tastemakers to hear DJs A Tribe Called Red, indie supergroup New Pornographers and viral jazz/hip-hop trio BadBadNotGood among other tunesmiths worth skipping a film for.

Building on enthusiastic aud responses to Short Cuts Canada, and kicking off a year-round strand at the Lightbox, Short Cuts Intl. bows with a hefty Vimeo-sponsored cash award of $10,000 for the winning film, and a world-preem laden mix delivered in five programs. The marquee mini is the world-preeming “Voila l’Enchainement,” by Claire Denis.

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  1. Joan Hillick says:

    how do I find out where the red carpet events are?

  2. Nicky says:

    The festival starts on the 4th not the 5th.

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