TIFF celebrates return to cinema with exciting fall season lineup at TIFF Bell Lightbox that will delight and inspire audiences

media release

October 27, 2021

TIFF celebrates return to cinema with exciting fall season lineup at TIFF Bell Lightbox that will delight and inspire audiences

TIFF leans into fun and nostalgia with an immersive month-long series of musicals, from Purple Rain to The Rocky Horror Picture Show to The Sound of Music

Plus, new Paul Thomas Anderson and Céline Sciamma director retrospectives, a special series curated by Guillermo del Toro, and more!

TORONTO — After the longest lockdown in cinema history, TIFF is welcoming back audiences and reuniting film enthusiasts this fall, with an engaging lineup of programmes at TIFF Bell Lightbox that have been specially curated to spark joy and bring people together over their love of film. TIFF Cinematheque is introducing a month-long series of classic musicals curated by TIFF Artistic Director and Head, Cameron Bailey, which offers some of the most-loved, most-acclaimed films of the genre.

In addition, TIFF Bell Lightbox will be showing New Releases hot off their run at the 46th Toronto International Film Festival, including Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog and Pablo Larraín’s Spencer. Rebecca Hall’s highly anticipated film Passing will also be screening as a New Release. Other seasonal highlights include a talk and screening event of Subjects of Desire with director Jennifer Holness on November 8 commemorating Viola Desmond Day, and the return of Reel Talk: Contemporary World Cinema and Secret Movie Club.

Digital offerings will continue to be available for film enthusiasts across the country from the comfort of their homes via digital TIFF Bell Lightbox. Stay tuned for more programming details at tiff.net.


Céline Sciamma: Portraits of Desire
November 11 to 21, 2021

Since the success of the widely acclaimed Portrait of a Lady on Fire — which won both the Queer Palm and the Award for Best Screenplay at Cannes 2019 — French filmmaker Céline Sciamma made both a departure from her three previous films and a masterful culmination of an oeuvre that sensitively and intelligently deals with such urgent themes as gender identity, female bonds, and the blurred boundaries between friendship and love. This programme was created to celebrate her work upon the release of her fourth feature, and now, two years later, it’s even more urgent and resonant as audiences await the theatrical release of the director’s latest film, Petite Maman (2021), which had its Canadian premiere at the Festival. Included in this retrospective are Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Girlhood, Tomboy, and her debut, Water Lilies, as well as the animated film My Life as a Courgette (which Sciamma co-scripted).

Paul Thomas Anderson: Evolution of a Master
November 25 to 28, 2021

Size matters in the films of Paul Thomas Anderson, and the increasing visual and thematic scope of his work is illustrated by these 70mm presentations tracing his evolution from big, unwieldy indie-cinema talent to a refined, mature American master. From the pyrotechnical brilliance of his sophomore breakthrough, Boogie Nights, to the elliptical psychic case study of The Master, to the wry fairy-tale riffage of Phantom Thread, Anderson has always crafted images strong and detailed enough to match his ideas. With introductions by critic Adam Nayman, author of the acclaimed 2020 book Paul Thomas Anderson: Masterworks, and a screening of David Lean’s 1949 romance The Passionate Friends, a major influence on Phantom Thread, this series seeks to honour these movies’ monumental accomplishments.

Musicals! The Movies that Moved Us
December 2, 2021 to January 6, 2022

Whether you know all the words to each song or you’re discovering these classics for the first time, there’s no denying the show-stopping pleasure of the form. The best musicals are grounded in sophisticated narratives, remarkable visual invention, and towering achievements in technical craft. Watch how Stanley Donen, Vincente Minnelli, Farah Khan, Jacques Demy, Ken Russell, Mani Ratnam, and more turn the delights of movie musicals to their own particular passions. Comprising 25 films, the programme will delight any fun-loving musical fan with movies like Singin’ in the Rain (1952), West Side Story (1961), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Mughal-E-Azam (1960), All That Jazz (1979), Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000), Grease (1978), and Purple Rain (1984).

Special thanks to Meenakshi Shedde, India Consultant.

Guillermo del Toro Presents: Film Noirs from 20th Century Fox
December 3 to 19, 2021

In anticipation of Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming release Nightmare Alley, TIFF Cinematheque presents a curated selection of film noirs from 20th Century Fox, hand-picked by del Toro himself. Inspired by the runs of similar genre-making studio films such as the highly-stylized gangster pictures championed by Warner Bros. in the 1930s (which cemented the anti-hero archetype in the face of the Hays Code’s guidelines) and the legendary monster movies helmed by Universal Studios between the ’30s and ’50s (whose creatures became the visual and emotional reference points for all subsequent horror-movie monsters), del Toro sees the brilliant stream of film noirs made under the 20th Century Fox banner as equally deserving of canonization. Before taking a turn down Nightmare Alley, audiences will have a chance to explore the director’s top five influential film noirs from the studio’s golden age of hard-boiled cinema, all on archival 35mm prints or in restored presentations.


Subscriptions are on sale to Members now and to the public on October 27.

Reel Talk: Contemporary World Cinema
November 7, 2021 to March 20, 2022

Offering a global snapshot of the best cinema from around the world, Reel Talk: Contemporary World Cinema provides a focus on non-English-language, art-house films that may not see wide release.

Secret Movie Club
November 14, 2021 to January 23, 2022

Back again in its old clubhouse, TIFF Bell Lightbox, this series offers some of the best new indie cinema before it hits Toronto theatres. Last season’s lineup included Minari, The Mauritanian, and Together Together.


Viola Desmond Day: Jennifer Holness on Subjects of Desire
November 8, 2021 at 7pm

TIFF is commemorating the 75th anniversary of Viola Desmond’s historic stand against racial segregation and her barrier-breaking work as founder of the Desmond School of Beauty Culture with a special advance screening of the award-winning documentary Subjects of Desire, followed by a conversation with director Jennifer Holness. This provocative and culturally significant film is told from the perspective of women who aren’t afraid to challenge conventional beauty standards, and is partially set around the 50th anniversary of the Miss Black America Pageant, which was created as a political protest against dominant standards upheld by the beauty pageant industry.

Note: A TIFF digital event commemorating Viola Desmond Day is taking place on Monday, November 8 at 12 pm ET with scholar Cheryl Thompson and Cameron Bailey, TIFF Artistic Director and Head, for a special talk about Black representation in 1940s cinema. They will discuss what the film experience was like for Black spectators at the time, and how systemic anti-Black racism continues to persist in the film industry to this day. Watch this conversation on TIFF’s Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube channels.

TIFF Next Wave 48-Hour Challenge Screening
November 28, 2021, 2:30pm to 4pm

The highly anticipated return of the TIFF Next Wave 48-Hour Film Challenge welcomes teams of young creators to produce a short film in only 48 hours. TIFF will showcase all of the films shot during the challenge and celebrate the next wave of emerging filmmakers. Following the screening, one team will be awarded the grand prize for best film by a jury of film industry professionals.


Opens October 27

Rebecca Hall | UK, USA | 2021 | 98 mins.

Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga star as two Black women contending with the notion of “passing” for white, in this 1920s-set psychological thriller. Shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio in beautiful black and white, this film was made for the big screen. Nominated for five Gotham Awards, including Best Feature, Best Screenplay, and Outstanding Lead Performance (Tessa Thompson).

Opens November 4

Pablo Larraín | Germany, UK | 2021 | 111 mins.
Official Selection, 2021 Toronto International Film Festival

Kristen Stewart stars in Pablo Larraín’s haunting chamber drama that imagines a tumultuous Christmas in the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Opens November 12
tick, tick... BOOM!

Lin-Manuel Miranda | USA | 2021 | 112 mins.

On the cusp of his 30th birthday, a promising young theatre composer navigates love, friendship, and the pressures of life as an artist in New York City.

Opens November 17
The Power of the Dog

Jane Campion | Australia, New Zealand | 2021 | 127 mins.
Official Selection, 2021 Toronto International Film Festival

TIFF Tribute Actor Award honouree Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst lead Jane Campion’s drama about two brothers whose lives change when a widow and her son arrive at their ranch.


Supporter Appreciation Weekend
November 13 and 14

TIFF is welcoming members and donors to its annual Supporter Appreciation Weekend as a special thank you for supporting its mission to change the way people see the world through film. Members and donors are invited to attend events at TIFF Bell Lightbox and virtually for an opportunity to enjoy complimentary screenings, fun activities, prizes, and extended discounts. To learn more about TIFF Membership, visit tiff.net/membership.

Additional fall programming details are available at tiff.net.

COVID-19 health and safety measures continue at TIFF Bell Lightbox and remain a top priority, with masks remaining mandatory in cinema and in the building for year-round programming. As of October 15, in step with the province's cautious reopening, TIFF increased capacity limits of its cinemas to 100%, with assigned seating still mandated. While concessions are closed at this time, TIFF is looking at reopening concessions in mid-November. Audience members and visitors 12 years of age and over will be required to provide Proof of Vaccination along with government-issued ID in order to enter TIFF Bell Lightbox. Additional details are available at tiff.net/covid-19.

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About TIFF
TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization whose mission is 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 Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $200 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, 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.

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

Images available by request to proffice@tiff.net.

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