After opting for a virtual experience in 2020 due to the pandemic, the annual Toronto International Film Festival is back in full swing for this year’s festivities. However, with COVID-19 still posing an imminent threat, the organizers are following strict protocols to ensure the safety of its attendees.
First off, an online platform for digital screenings is available for critics and audiences who would like to participate in the celebration from the comfort of their homes. On the other hand, an in-person experience is available only for those individuals who are fully vaccinated.
Other restrictions were also observed, such as maintaining social distancing and cutting the viewing capacity of each theater by half. Aside from providing different viewing options, the festival has also done away with its usual street festivities for this year. In addition, red carpets have become an exclusive event where only select members of the media can attend.
Despite employing a few changes, the festival remained to have a fun and exciting atmosphere. Many A-list celebrities have appeared for the premiere of their films, such as Vicky Krieps, Jamie Dornan, Rebecca Ferguson, and Dionne Warwick, among others. In addition, The Eyes of Tammy Faye star and one of this year’s Tribute Actor Awardee Jessica Chastain was also seen walking the red carpet.
There is also no shortage of breathtaking movies at the festival. On its official selection, close to 200 films from all over the world are available for viewing. A wide range of genres is available, from documentaries and shorts to special presentations and gala presentations. Some of the most notable titles in this year’s roster include Dune, Last Night in Soho, The Power of the Dog, and The Guilty.
Of course, mishaps cannot be avoided in a huge event such as this. For example, some films are not accessible via the digital platform because their creators and producers expressed their reservations about the streaming option. In addition, some of them are afraid that the movies would get leaked, which happened with two of Netflix’s entries.
Nevertheless, between ensuring the safety of its guests and its first attempt of combining an in-person festival with a digital option, the organizers did an exemplary job.
The 10-day affair kicked off on September 9th and is expected to close with the TIFF Tribute Awards on September 18th. As it celebrates its 46th year, the Toronto International Film Festival aims to raise funds for its diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative. On top of that, it plans to champion a safe, community-focused, and inspiring return to cinemas.
As it has profoundly stated, “TIFF is bringing the theatrical experience back to life and continues its reputation as both a leader in amplifying under-represented cinematic voices and a bellwether for programming award-winning films from around the globe.”
As the world continues to adjust to the new normal, other major film festivals should take note of the Toronto International Film Festival’s best practices and learn from its setbacks so more people can continue enjoying the wonderful experience and culture of film festivals all over the world.