Piers Handling: Toronto is ‘key festival’ for Golden Globes and Oscars

The festival director on Tuesday trumpeted his event as an award season launch-pad for Canadian and international filmmakers.
Piers Handling

Want to get to the Academy Awards?

Start your journey at the Toronto International Film Festival, festival CEO Piers Handling told reporters Tuesday.

“Toronto is now positioned as the key festival in the world for the Golden Globes and Oscars,” Handling said.

“When we’re out negotiating for films, companies, producers and agents are very aware of what Toronto can do in terms of giving a profile to a film, to performances and some of the other positions as well,” he added after TIFF unveiled its full film lineup.

Fest organizers added that their cinema venues are now running close to 90% capacity in terms of attendance.

Handling added that Bell Lightbox as the festival’s anchor has now shifted the focus of TIFF downtown to King Street, and away from Yorkville.

“It (TIFF) was dispersed for many years. Now you’ll see a mass of concentration down in this area,” he said, referring to the downtown core around Bell Lightbox.

The festival has moved away from the AMC Dundas Square multiplex, and taken over the Scotiabank Theatre on Richmond Street.

The only remaining outliers are sizeable theatres like the Ryerson, the Elgin and the Isabel Baeder theatre uptown.

TIFF also added the Glenn Gould Theatre at the CBC to the mix, and anticipates the hotels in and around Bell Lightbox will be focused on the festival during the September 5 to 15 run.

Handling welcomes what he called a “festival village” atmosphere that made it easier for attendants to find one another, and TIFF to coalesce around Bell Lightbox.