Sunday, April 25, 2010

Filmmaker opportunities at the Toronto International Film Festival

In addition to being the most important public film festival in the world, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) hosts a very important industry component. Their industry pass allows access to special industry events, press/industry screenings, panels, industry sessions, and the Filmmakers’ Lounge (formerly Match Club). It's a good opportunity to meet and schmooze with some movers and shakers. Industry registration opens on May 5.

In addition to this, TIFF has two terrific programmes that can really kick-start a filmmaker to the next level: Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS! and Talent Lab. Applications for both are now open. The events themselves take place during the festival, which in 2010 runs from September 9-19.

PITCH THIS! is a live pitch competition for fictional feature films that is held every year during the festival itself. The competition is open to any Canadian citizen or permanent resident. It helps if you have a strong idea and a good concept for presentation. Six finalists are chosen and are assigned pitching coaches to help them prepare during the month of August. Then on the big day, everyone is given six minutes to sell their movie idea to a jury of industry professionals (last year's jury included Ivan Reitman). The event is well-attended by a packed room of observers. The winner gets a $10,000 cheque from Telefilm Canada for their film's development.
Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS! Application form.

Talent Lab is a great initiative they have for emerging talent. Twenty-five filmmakers are given a chance to participate in a four-day intensive workshop with some top international filmmakers. The programme is led by four governors; last year's governors were writer/director Don McKellar (Last Night), writer/director Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know), screenwriter John Collee (Creation) and Acadamy Award-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire). Other guest mentors from last year included Jane Campion, Peter Mettler, Gaspar Noé and Tilda Swinton. Talent Lab has become extremely competitive, but my filmmaking partner Katarina Soukup was fortunate to be one of the attendees last year. As of last year, they accept international applicants.
Talent Lab Application form.

The deadline for both PITCH THIS! and Talent Lab is 5pm on Wednesday, June 23, 2010.

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