The Toronto International Film Festival has a mission to transform the way people see the world through film. In addition, it also changes the way people see Toronto as a city. From Sept. 4 to Sept. 14, 2014, the yoga pants-wearing set of Toronto will undoubtedly up their game. You will see sparkle and stilettos, as inhabitants and visitors of Toronto alike gussy up to make themselves worthy of a red carpet.
During the Toronto International Film Festival, who knows who you may high-five? — Photo courtesy of George Pimentel, WireImage / Getty for TIFF
The Toronto Film Festival becomes splashier and more international with each passing year, and this year it's celebrating its 39th birthday. Although Toronto doesn't really have a market for paparazzi the majority of the year, stargazers set up camp and will certainly have reason to do so with the 2014 lineup.
Featured movies that are getting buzz include the film Wild with Reese Witherspoon, Map to the Stars with Julianne Moore and This Is Where I Leave You with Tina Fey. This year, there will also be a tribute to the legendary Al Pacino, with a retrospective of his career planned for Sept. 3; tickets run $1,500 each.
There is also an excess of homegrown Canadian talent. Rather than sticking a maple leaf pin on a backpack, Canadians are displaying their love of the country through film. Some of the renowned directors include Xavier Dolan, Sturla Gunnarsson and Ruba Nadda.
Steve Gravestock, senior programmer at TIFF, raves, “This year’s slate truly showcases the diversity of talent in our country, featuring films from coast to coast.”
It pays to come early if you're a screaming fan — Photo courtesy of George Pimentel, WireImage / Getty for TIFF
Attending a movie that is in demand is not quite as easy as it might be at your local Cineplex, but it is an experience to secure a ticket. The trick is to plan early. Individual tickets go on sale at the beginning of September. Movie enthusiasts camp out early, so consider saying goodbye to the summer in the heart of the city, sleeping outdoors and eating Toronto hot dogs for a night.
If you're not the outdoorsy type, visit at 7 a.m. each morning, when new blocks of tickets become available at 350 King Street West. Adult tickets range from $20 to $45, depending on how in demand the screening is. If you don't have a lot of time in your schedule to dedicate to your movie addiction, consider going to one of the Midnight Madness shows (with an obvious start time).
The TIFF Lightbox is the hub for the frenzy of activity — Photo courtesy of Charles Leonio, WireImage / Getty for TIFF
In an era of Netflix, the Toronto International Film Festival makes film once again enchanting and social. Rather than allowing ourselves to isolate behind screens, this week glamourizes and intellectualizes film. Think of it as a fancy version of Ted Talks.
Films are scrutinized and evaluated the way that literary nerds break apart a single sentence of text by Chaucer. As a result, the experience of going to the movies is appreciated as a microcosm of life. You may go to this festival for the prestige, but ultimately you will leave with the recognition of the power of film.