Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Toronto Film Festival through the years

Toronto Film Festival may not be the oldest film festival in the world, but it is certainly, by today's standards one of the biggest.  In 2010 as well as adding a stunning new venue, The Bell Light box (see previous post) to the program TIFF also had a milestone birthday turning a very respectable thirty five!

When TIFF was created in 1976 it was called THE FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS and screened only 50 films. 35 years has seen, a name change and the addition of another 250 films to the program, so that this year 300 films were screened over 11 days.

For film goers and film lovers everywhere here are some highlights from years gone by -
1978 - The Censor Board of Ontario threatened to ban the film In Praise of a Older Woman, but the festival ignored them and the screening went ahead without any cuts.
1981 - British film Chariots of Fire wins the people's choice award, the first sign it might be a winner with audiences. It later won the Best Picture Oscar and prompted the famous quote by screenwriter Colin Welland "The British are coming".
1982 - When new directors Atom Egoyan and Bruce McDonald had their films rejected by the festival they set up their own projector outdoors and screened the films on the wall of the theatre to unsuspecting patrons leaving the festival.
1984 - The Cohen Brothers were quite literally discovered. Every studio had passed on their film Blood Simple, but after it screened at TIFF they got a distributor and haven't looked back since.
1986 - Heavy rain caused part of the New York Theatre's roof to collapse during a screening. It is  unconfirmed whether the screening was abandoned or simply postponed.
1989 - Seven years after Bruce McDonald screened his film on the wall of a building he won the best Canadian Feature award for Roadkill
1991- A festival van containing film prints of 21 films - including My Own Private Idaho is stolen, but eventually recovered with all the films accounted for! Phew!
1994 - The Festival officially changes it's name to Toronto International Film Festival affectionately known by the locals as Tiff.
1998 - An Air Canada strike meant many celebrities and media had to fly via to Buffalo and drive to to Toronto. One critic commented 'that it made Buffalo's airport look like a Cannes cocktail party'.
2000 - Animal activists protest the showing of Mexican film Amores Perros because of the depiction of dog fighting, although no animals were harmed during the making of the film.
2001 - The September 11 attacks close the festival for one day.  TIFF continues, but the parties are cancelled.
2007 - An audience of 1,200 sing Happy Birthday to director Dario Argento when he presents his film Mother of Tears.
2010 - Susanne Bier gets a standing ovation for her film In A Better World.

*** The majority of information for this article is taken from the September issue of FAMOUS magazine Canada.

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