It’s that time of year again as festival and awards season concurrently kick-off with what is essentially one of the largest international film festivals on the globe, the Toronto International Film Festival (or TIFF), this year celebrating its 39th year as one of the festivals where some of the noteworthy awards films will premiere.
Everything from Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker to Paul Haggis’ Crash to The King’s Speech and Silver Linings Playbook and others have had their debuts in Toronto in early September before going on to Oscar gold. Sure, some of them played a couple of days before at the Telluride Film Festival, but that’s as much or more for industry people than regular moviegoers at this point. We shouldn’t forget that many of the Toronto People’s Choice Award winners went on to fare just as well among Academy voters, movies like last year’s winner 12 Years a Slave.
The biggest hurdle with going to TIFF is that there are often so many movies one will want to see that choices have to be made and it’s impossible to see them all. This year, there are over 80 movies playing at TIFF that I want to see and only about a third (or less) of those already have distribution and release dates in place. As in past years, there will be a number of movies I only discover or find out about while at the festival.
At least with the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s New York Film Festival, taking place just after Toronto, it’s sometimes easier to catch the movies running the September festival gauntlet when back home and see something else while at Toronto, though it’s this constantly aggravating decision-making process that makes attending TIFF so bittersweet.
That may sound like a weird problem to kvetch about, but so many publicists contact me about their movies, and for every movie they want me to see or do interviews for, there are already five movies I know I want or have to see that I’ll never get a chance to.
I’ll be perfectly honest that I have picked a number of movies that already have distribution in place and will be released in theaters before year’s end, and I also omitted some of the movies that have had their premieres at other festivals, such as Sundance, Berlin and Cannes, to focus more on movies that are more or less debuting at TIFF (although some might notice that a few have also played Telluride and Venice in the past week). I’ve also had to focus more on non-docs and less on smaller foreign films than I may have otherwise, because there are so many higher profile movies that are worth catching at TIFF.
Lastly, because there are so many movies worth seeing at this year’s TIFF, I’m going to split our usual preview into two parts this year. You can learn more about some of the TIFF offerings worth seeing in the gallery below.
(Note: Some of the movies have more than just the one production still, denoted by the movie titles with an asterisk, which you can click on to see more pictures.)
Look for Part 2 of our TIFF ’14 preview tomorrow!