TIFF announces TIFF Bell Lightbox rejuvenation and partnership with OCAD U

media release

March 31, 2023

TIFF announces TIFF Bell Lightbox rejuvenation and partnership with OCAD U

New café-bar to be unveiled & Membership programme relaunches with new Festival benefits

Two red high back lounge chairs in a cafe style setting

Courtesy of TIFF

TORONTO — TIFF is delighted to announce exciting changes to its visitor experience and Membership community. Renovations to the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s third floor are well underway as part of its commitment to create a welcoming and inspiring space for all film lovers and audiences to gather. The highlight of this project is an elegant reimagining of the third-floor public spaces and the Bell Blue Room, which will reopen as a new destination for all guests of TIFF Bell Lightbox. The TIFF Membership programme is also being relaunched based on feedback from our 12,000+ Members, with new benefits to reflect and strengthen the year-round and Festival offerings TIFF Members value most. Also announced today is TIFF’s new partnership with OCAD U, which welcomes students in the Experimental Animation program as well as students who produce content for OCAD U LiVE into TIFF Bell Lightbox.

“We’ve been glad to welcome millions of visitors to TIFF Bell Lightbox over the past 13 years,” said Cameron Bailey, CEO, TIFF. “Now, it’s time for a refresh. When film lovers walk into our new third floor, they’ll feel a warmer, more inviting environment, perfect for gathering with friends over coffee to talk film, art, or whatever sparks their imagination that day.”

Slated to open in time for the Festival, TIFF’s third-floor public spaces are being redesigned by Toronto-based design studio DesignAgency to reflect the classic and nostalgic sentiment of film, and will feature an inviting café-bar in the Bell Blue Room.

Under the stewardship of TIFF Chief Operating Officer, Beth Janson, the physical improvements at TIFF Bell Lightbox and the TIFF Membership programme relaunch are part of a three-year plan to build an exciting film destination and community in one of the great film cities in the world. Under the new Membership offering, each level comes with its own suite of benefits. The structure and pricing of Membership levels will also change for the first time since 2015. More information is available at tiff.net/membership.

Starting today, two free tickets to TIFF Cinematheque screenings for Members at the TIFF Bell Lightbox are a permanent benefit — representing 300+ screenings of the best of classic films and new essentials year-round. The new Membership benefits will also include even earlier access to dedicated ticketing windows for Festival screenings, new year-round exclusive programming, and larger discounts at Concessions, among other benefits. Until April 21, Members and the public can renew, upgrade, or join to take advantage of current Membership pricing before increases take effect on May 1.

“TIFF’s Members are the foundation of our organization, and to that end, we have taken steps to improve both the offerings and value of a TIFF Membership,” said Janson.

In keeping with the revitalization of the TIFF Bell Lightbox experience, TIFF is also pleased to announce that OCAD University (OCAD U) has a physical presence in the main floor annex gallery and the Learning Studios, located on the third floor. OCAD U’s new Experimental Animation program will be delivered out of TIFF Bell Lightbox, helping TIFF to forge relationships with emerging filmmakers and artists, while at the same time activating TIFF Bell Lightbox’s public spaces with student showcases and installations.

“We have an exciting vision for TIFF underway,” said Anita Lee, Chief Programming Officer, TIFF. “We are inspired to reinvent the spirit, space, and future of TIFF Bell Lightbox as a centre for diverse communities including young creators, Canadian cultural industries, and international artists. The new partnership with OCAD U represents TIFF’s investment in the next generation of artists and creative leaders of the future. Our new younger audiences are also inspiring our new programming launching this spring. I would love to see TIFF as the place where all generations of Torontonians from all walks of life, visitors from across Canada and around the world, families, creators, movers and shakers, and those in the know can come for inspiration and an exciting collective experience.”

“By partnering with TIFF, we’re enriching the experiential learning experience of students in our Experimental Animation program and those students who produce content for OCAD U LiVE, our 24/7 digital streaming channel,” said OCAD U President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano. “This collaboration is a natural fit between two leading arts and cultural institutions in Toronto, and will further drive positive impact to the creative economy and provide students with opportunities to gain employable skills, explore innovative ideas, find community, and develop a fulfilling career.”

In the coming weeks, TIFF will be welcoming young audiences to the 12th edition of the Next Wave Film Festival for a weekend (April 14–16) of bold new films and special events, with free movies for anyone under 25. Programmed for youth, by youth, the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival, supported by Ontario Arts Council and the City of Toronto, is a one-of-a-kind talent incubator in the world, and features a lineup of Canadian and North American premieres, creator Q&As, workshops, and collaborations with leading filmmakers to celebrate new voices in cinema.

Leading into the Summer season, audiences can look forward to the most-anticipated New Releases. TIFF Cinematheque will be presenting a showcase on South Korean cinema and a spotlight on magic realism including films that mix the ordinary with the extraordinary and classics from this genre.

Press Contact

Alejandra Sosa

Director, Communications


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To become a TIFF Member visit tiff.net/join.

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TIFF 2024 takes place September 5–15, 2024.

About TIFF
TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization with a mission to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival®in September; TIFF Lightbox, which features five cinemas, learning and entertainment facilities; and the innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $200 million CAD. TIFF Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel, and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation, and RBC. For more information, visit tiff.net.

About OCAD U
OCAD U, which has a long history of graduating successful animators in art and film, welcomed its first cohort of undergraduate students in its new Experimental Animation program in September 2021, providing students with opportunities to develop the technical and conceptual skills to thrive in a range of creative industries. Unique in Canada, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree focuses on animation as an artistic practice, offering students an exciting alternative to programs in the country that are primarily industry focused. The program allows students to explore creativity and to be curious. As a result, students are developing their personal vision and are tackling today's big topics through innovative storytelling in new and powerful ways.

TIFF is generously supported by Major Sponsors RBC and Visa and Major Supporters the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto.

The TIFF Next Wave Film Festival is supported by the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Toronto.

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