Toronto: New Details of The Cronenberg Project Unveiled

New details of The Cronenberg Project, the Toronto International Film Festival’s multi-platform celebration of Toronto filmmaker David Cronenberg, were unveiled by festival CEO and director Piers Handling and artistic director Noah Cowan Thursday on the fest’s opening day.

The core touring exhibitionDavid Cronenberg: Evolution,” which opens in Toronto at the TIFF Lightbox Nov. 1 and runs to Jan. 19 (with other North American and international stops still to be announced), will be complemented by original publications and a full film retrospective featuring several newly struck and restored 35mm prints and new digital presentations.

Festival audiences got a sneak peak of the career-spanning retro Sept. 5 afternoon with world premiere of a new digital restoration of Cronenberg’s 1975 debut feature “Shivers” (original U.S. title “They Came From Within”), the film that turned heads in the international genre community, launched his rep as a master of “body horror,” and sparked national debate at home.

The large-scale exhibition tracks Cronenberg’s creative evolution in three major sections that use props, costumes, behind-the-scenes footage and other elements to explore the various themes found throughout his work.

The fest revealed that “Evolution” will also include a screening area presenting Cronenberg’s short films, and a space that recreates the bar set in “Naked Lunch” while paying tribute to the 20th-century artists, in particular William S. Burroughs, who inspired the director.

A digital-experience extension, coproduced by the festival and the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab and helmed by creative director Lance Weiler, launches Oct. 25. Entitled “Body/Mind/Change,” the multi-media production, starring Cronenberg, places registered participants through an episodic interactive narrative that takes them through the development of a POD (Personal-On-Demand) product, within the context of a fictional biotech firm inspired by the plausible science-fiction found in his work.

A free, downloadable eBook about the event was also launched Thursday. Two major image-based publications connected to The Cronenberg Project were previously announced.

The festival’s visual-art strand Future Projections, opening Thursday and running in Toronto until Dec. 29, includes “David Cronenberg: Transformation,” an exhibition of six new fest-commissioned works from leading Canadian and international artists, inspired by Cronenberg themes.

“As the international community turns its attention to Toronto for the festival, we are thrilled to share a piece of our legacy with David Cronenberg, one of the world’s greatest living filmmakers and someone who represents Canadian cinema at its very best,” commented Handling.

“TIFF has grown and evolved alongside David for over three decades, and with The Cronenberg Project we celebrate David’s history while also moving forward into a new era of the TIFF Bell Lightbox with our first large-scale, original touring exhibition.”

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