TIFF launches 2021 festival with in-person screenings returning

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TIFF introduces new in-person approaches to this year's festival, including drive-ins and outdoor screenings. Photo courtesy of the TIFF website.
Daniel Centeno - CJRU - TorontoON | 09-09-2021

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) returns on Sept. 9 this year with in-person screenings for the first time since 2019.

The festival was online exclusively for 2020, showcasing only through digital streaming due to in-person and indoor restrictions due to COVID-19.

There will be a variety of in-person options for the first time to accommodate the number of showings and attendees while adhering to Ontario's COVID-19 social distancing and capacity rules and regulations.

Drive-in options for select films are showing at Visa Skyline Drive-In and RBC Lakeside Drive-In at Ontario Place. Outdoor, open-air screenings will be shown at the West Island Open Air Cinema at Ontario Place.

In a Sept. 2 media presser TIFF writes:

"The Toronto International Film Festival ® today shared the special guests and talent that will attend the Festival in person this year. TIFF is also delighted to announce a special surprise screening of a never-before-seen film from award-winning director Steven Soderbergh. Programmed in top secret collaboration with Soderbergh, details of this mystery screening, including ticket availability, to be revealed at a later date. ”

The presser also outlines the proposed list of directors, actors and actresses that are slated to attend the festival this year.

On Aug. 27, TIFF announced that all staff, audience members and visitors must be fully vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test before attending any of the in-person events.

This will include the usual in-person venues of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the IMAX Cinesphere and Roy Thomson Hall.

Changes to this year's festival include no rush ticket lines prior to screenings, no concessions sold except for the drive-in option, and no physical copy tickets. All tickets to films must be purchased online prior to each screening.

In an Aug. 23 media press release explaining how digital screenings will be streamed, TIFF writes:

“Additionally, Public digital screenings will be programmed on digital TIFF Bell Lightbox for the accessibility of festival-goers, but are limited to Canadian audiences. The TIFF Digital Cinema Pro platform will host digital Press & Industry screenings, as well as the TIFF Industry Selects market for industry buyers. Films available to Press & Industry on TIFF Digital Cinema Pro will be accessible to delegates worldwide, however, some exceptions may occur where the film rights holders have not authorized an online screening in selected regions. The TIFF Bell Digital Talks platform will host a variety of Public and Press & Industry talks, including the In Conversation With… talks series, the Industry Conference and Press Conferences. ”

As part of the larger film festival circuit globally, TIFF is central towards film debuts and independent projects working through the circuit.

Notable films making their big screen debuts include Denis Villeneuve's Dune , Edgar Wright's Last Night in SoHo and the independent Canadian film, Scarborough .

The festival kicks off tonight at Roy Thomson Hall with DEAR EVAN HANSEN , a coming-of-age stage musical by Steven Levensen.

TIFF runs from Sept. 9 to 18.

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