TIFF prepares coast-to-coast in-person screenings for 46th edition

night raiders
Danis Goulet's Night Raiders (pictured) is among the official selections for the 2021 festival, which will include more than 100 films and offer both in-person and digital screenings.

The Toronto International Film Festival is bringing back its hybrid model for a second year as it prepares for in-person screenings and the return of the digital TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The 46th edition of the festival, which will run from Sept. 9 to 18, will include more than 100 film selections, an increase from the reduced 50-film lineup in 2020. Ten of the selections were announced today (June 23), including Danis Goulet’s Night Raiders, animated Canadian copro Charlotte, directed by Erin Warin and Tahir Rana, and Philip Noyce’s Ontario-shot Lakewood.

Additional films to run at TIFF include Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, Dave Wooley’s documentary Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over, Alison Klayman’s HBO documentary Jagged, Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, Céline Sciamma’s Petite maman, Theodore Melfi’s The Starling and Antoine Fuqua’s The Guilty.

The 2021 festival will include a retrospective on legendary Canadian documentary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, titled Celebrating Alanis, which will be co-presented with the National Film Board of Canada. The retrospective is curated by Jason Ryle, the former executive director of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.

TIFF will also have a special event screening for Dune, directed by Canada’s Denis Villeneuve. The film adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel will be screened at Ontario Place’s Cinesphere Theatre as a World Exclusive IMAX Special Event. It will also be showcased in Toronto and Montreal in partnership with Warner Bros. Canada and Cineplex ahead of its nationwide release on Oct. 1.

In-person screenings will take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Roy Thomson Hall, the Princess of Wales Theatre and Cinesphere IMAX Theatre. Similarly to last year’s festival, drive-in screenings will be available at the Visa Skyline, RBC Lakeside and the West Island Open Air Cinema. TIFF will once again partner with health care consultant Medcan on its safety protocols, including mandatory mask usage and adjusted capacity for indoor theatres.

TIFF is also extending its reach nationwide with the newly created Coast-to-Coast Screenings. Hosted by TIFF film outreach program Film Circuit, it will bring TIFF 2021 selections to cinemas across Canada for one-evening-only events, with films and locations to be announced at a later date.

Film screenings will also be available across Canada on the digital TIFF Bell Lightbox, as well as Q&A and In Conversation With sessions available worldwide on the TIFF Bell Digital Talks platform. All digital screenings will be closed captioned for accessibility.

“We are so proud of the calibre of the films and the diversity of the stories we will be presenting this year,” said Joana Vicente, TIFF executive director and co-head, in a statement. “It is so powerful to be able to share these films with festival-goers in theatres. And while the world is definitely moving towards a degree of normalcy, many of our industry and press colleagues may not be able to travel across international borders. In response, we have brought back the TIFF Digital Cinema Pro platform that will host press and industry screenings, the Industry Conference, press conferences, as well as the TIFF Industry Selects market.”

“We believe that digital access is an important part of providing accessibility to audiences and will be vital to the future of film festivals. This inclusivity across all our offerings helps to ensure that, no matter where you are located, you can participate in the festival,” Vicente continued.

Also returning are the TIFF Tribute Awards, which will once again be co-produced by Bell Media Studios and broadcast nationally on CTV. The awards will be streamed internationally on Variety. Last year’s winners include Beans director Tracey Deer and Nomadland director Chloé Zhao.

TIFF will continue its Media Inclusion Initiative, which will welcome 45 new underrepresented critics and writers to access films. Those chosen will take part in workshops and receive one-on-one mentorship opportunities.

Additional announcements on the festival, including the digital Industry Conference programming (running Sept. 10 to 14), will be released throughout the summer. TIFF’s special presentations and gala premieres will be announced on July 20; the programmes Contemporary World Cinema, Discovery, TIFF Docs, Midnight Madness, Primetime and Wavelengths will be announced on July 28; and TIFF Short Cuts and the Platform programme will be unveiled on Aug. 11.