Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Film Festival season in Toronto

We in Toronto are very lucky. Not only is the Toronto International Film Festival one of the top two festivals in the world (Roger Ebert went as far as to rank it at the top over Cannes), but we also have some of the top festivals in the world in various other categories. Festival planners generally avoid the cold winter and hot summer months because attendance would suffer, since it's too nasty or too nice to go see movies. So the festivals bunch together in the spring and fall. Since many wish to avoid the long shadow of TIFF, that means a great many of them occur in the spring.

We've had a bunch of film festivals already such as Toronto Romanian Film Festival and the University of Toronto Film Festival. But now they start coming fast and furious starting this weekend with the Female Eye Film Festival and Cinéfranco, and continue into June.  Here are some of the major festivals to look for this spring. Many of these festivals have industry sessions and special events as well as screenings.

8th Annual Female Eye Film Festival 
March 24th - March 28th, 2010
This festival focuses on women's films and started yesterday with a panel discussion some experimental films and live music at the WARC Gallery at 401 Richmond St. W. But it kicks off officially with its opening night film tonight, A Wake by Penelope Buitenhuis.

Cinéfranco 2010
March 26 - April 3, 2010
This film festival features francophone films from all over the world shown with English subtitles. The films are always of extremely high quality and many of them are award winners. As an officially French country ourselves, it makes sense that some of the films are Canadian. Quebec has an exceptionally strong film industry as you'd expect. But the opening night film is an interesting treat - Le Divan du monde (Everybody’s Couch), a bilingual film made by Toronto-based francophones, director Dominic Desjardins and his producer wife Rayne Zukerman.

Images Festival
April 1-11, 2010
The Images Festival is one of the more interesting of the many Film Festivals held each year in Toronto. Strictly speaking, they are not just a film festival but rather a media festival with an emphasis on experimental film, video art, music, performance, new media and installations.

ReelWorld Film Festival 
April 7-11. 2010
ReelWorld is the brainchild of Tonya Lee Williams, (Dr. Olivia B. Winters from The Young and the Restless). She hails from Toronto, and devised this as a multicultural festival to reflect the diverse nature of our city. The films are chosen to celebrate diversity, and a strong industry component is offered for emerging talent.

Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children
April 17-23, 2010
Run by the Toronto International Film Festival, this festival features international fims for children.

18th Toronto Jewish Film Festival
April 17-25, 2010
Jewish-made or Jewish themed, these films are nonetheless for everyone. The films are from all over the world, including Argentina, Mexico, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, and Poland as well as Israel.

Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival
April 29-May 9, 2010
This is the largest documentary film festival in North America. The films are of a very high quality and the industry component is essential for anyone remotely interested in making documentaries. This is a huge festival, yet manageable.

20th Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival
May 20-30, 2010
Toronto has one of the largest gay communities in the world, so it's no surprise that we have a major gay-themed festival. Inside Out is also very supportive of its filmmakers and has many initiatives for emerging talent.

Worldwide Short Film Festival
June 1-6, 2010
The largest short film festival in North America. Hosted by the Canadian Film Centre, this film festival programs screenings that are a collection of short films grouped by theme. The quality is always very high, the industry sessions are excellent and it's a lot of fun for both audiences and filmmakers.

1 comment:

  1. ReelWorld is a fantastic film festival that I've been attending for a few years. I recently saw a limited preview of the "1999" film and was very impressed by the story of gang violence in the east end, acting (who are all apparently debutant actors), and the directing and cinematography. It's very much a Toronto story that Torontonians can easily relate to. Catch it at ReelWorld on Friday at 5:00 PM or Sunday at 2:30 PM if you get a chance!