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Toronto Film School’s Guide to TIFF 2023

As a film school, the Toronto International Film Festival® (TIFF) is our version of Christmas.

We stay up the night before, filled with anticipation, but instead of rushing to unwrap presents under the tree, we hit the town to catch our most anticipated screenings and soak in the red carpet buzz.

Set to kick off September 7th, TIFF 2023 is poised to be a truly incredible event. This year, the festival will be showcasing a diverse selection of over 200 international films.

If you’re thinking about attending this year’s festival or simply seeking the inside scoop on the hottest movie premieres and events, you’ve come to the right place.

This comprehensive guide aims to be your definitive source for all things TIFF 2023. We’ll highlight some of our most anticipated films, break down new TIFF events, and answer a handful of commonly asked questions — including what to wear. 

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Buzzworthy TIFF Films We’re Most Excited For

Here are four films we can’t wait to see at this year’s festival:

The Holdovers: Directed by Alexander Payne, this highly-anticipated indie follows Paul (Paul Giamatti), a universally disliked professor at a New England prep school who is forced to stay on campus during Christmas break with a troublemaking student.

Dumb Money: Boasting a star-studded cast (Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, and Pete Davidson) this comedy-drama tells the true story of a group of amateur Reddit investors who took on Wall Street by inflating GameStop’s stock.

The Boy and the Heron: Hayao Miyazaki’s newest fantasy endeavour tells the story of a boy guided by a heron on an introspective journey of the mind, soul, and life’s challenges.

The New Boy: A poignant spiritual drama starring Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and newcomer Aswan Reid. Set in Australia, the film explores the country’s complex colonial history through the eyes of a young boy, showcasing the emotional and cultural struggles that arise from this legacy.

For a complete list of all 200+ films screening at TIFF check out this link.

Planning Your TIFF Journey

So, you’ve decided to attend TIFF. Great choice! But how do you go about planning your TIFF experience?

First things first, mark the dates: September 7th to 17th, 2023. If you’re attending multiple days, we recommend planning your itinerary in advance.

Here are some tips for doing just that!

Slot in time to explore Toronto

If you’re from out of town, attending TIFF is about more than just the film screenings; it’s about experiencing the vibrant city of Toronto.

Make the most of your time at the festival by exploring the city’s diverse neighbourhoods, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Here are three close-by neighbourhoods we recommend checking out:

  • Entertainment District: As the heart of TIFF, the Entertainment District is a must-visit. This area is home to numerous theatres, galleries, and restaurants, making it the perfect place to experience the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene.
  • Chinatown: Toronto’s Chinatown is a bustling neighbourhood filled with various shops, markets, and eateries. Be sure to visit this area for  authentic  Chinese cuisine and culture. While you’re there, stop by Kensington Market for a drink!
  • Queen West: Known for its eclectic mix of shops, galleries, and restaurants, Queen West is a trendy neighbourhood that offers a unique blend of art, fashion, and food. This area is perfect for those looking to discover Toronto’s creative side.

Pick Your TIFF Screenings and Must-Attend Events

With over 200 films to choose from, it’s essential to prioritize your must-see screenings and events. Here are some highlights to consider:

  1. Opening Night: The festival kicks off with Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” — try and catch it if possible. If it’s sold out, consider
  2. Festival Street: Located right on King Street, the Festival Street block party is a must-visit hub during your TIFF experience, offering an exciting mix of free performances, live music, immersive events, and more.
  3. Centerpiece Program: Don’t miss the new Centerpiece Program, featuring films by renowned directors such as Aki Kaurismäki, Víctor Erice, and Ryûsuke Hamaguchi.
  4. TIFF Tribute Awards Gala: Taking place on September 10th, this event honors outstanding contributions to the film industry.
  5. Closing Night: The festival concludes with the world premiere of Thom Zimny’s documentary “Sly,” chronicling the life of Sylvester Stallone.

For a complete list of films and events, visit the TIFF calendar.

Dress Code: From Screenings to Premieres

What you wear to TIFF can vary depending on the event. Daytime screenings are generally casual, but you might want to step it up for evening events and premieres. o help you dress appropriately forTIFF events,here are some important guidelines:

Daytime Screenings

  • Dress comfortably and casually, as you would for a regular movie outing.
  • Jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers are acceptable.
  • Avoid wearing hats or other items that might obstruct the view of other attendees**4**.

Evening Events and Premieres

  • Most movie premieres have a “smart” dress code, encouraging attendees to look polished but not overly formal.
  • Opt for business casual attire, such as slacks and a blouse or a blazer and dress pants

That’s a wrap!

TIFF 2023 promises to be an unforgettable experience for film enthusiasts, industry professionals, and aspiring filmmakers. With a diverse selection of films, exciting events, and the opportunity to explore the vibrant city of Toronto, this year’s festival is not to be missed.

So what are you waiting for? Plan your itinerary, pick your must-see screenings and events, and get ready to immerse yourself in great movies and even better vibes.

Oh and before you go!

If you found this article useful, you should consider signing up for Toronto Film School’s industry-focused newsletter Insider Advantage.

Packed with exclusive content and useful industry insights, Insider Advantage is essential reading for anyone looking to make their mark in the world of film and television.

Niko Pajkovic
Niko Pajkovic is a marketing copywriter at the Toronto Film School. He’s also an academically published author whose research focuses on algorithms, AI, and their intersection with film and television. Niko holds an MA in Professional Communication from Toronto Metropolitan University and a Hon. BA in Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University. His freelance bylines include Film Threat, Independent Australia, Film Matters Magazine, and Film Cred.

Niko Pajkovic

Niko Pajkovic is a marketing copywriter at the Toronto Film School. He’s also an academically published author whose research focuses on algorithms, AI, and their intersection with film and television. Niko holds an MA in Professional Communication from Toronto Metropolitan University and a Hon. BA in Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University. His freelance bylines include Film Threat, Independent Australia, Film Matters Magazine, and Film Cred.

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