The return of the TIFF street festival

The film festival's street festival is back for a second year with activations from a number of brands, including Express and Airbnb.
tiff street fest

The Toronto Film Festival is once again looking to expand its brand out of theatres and onto the streets, creating a downtown TIFF village with its Street Festival.

Having attracted 100,000 people last year over its four-day stretch, according to TIFF, bringing it back was a no-brainer, festival director Piers Handling told MiC sister publication Playback. “It was so successful,” he said. “It really changed the festival atmosphere.”

Between Sept. 10 to 13, the area on King street between Peter and University streets will once again become a pedestrian-only space to support programming and activations around the festival.

With funding from the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto, The Slaight Family Foundation, TTC and the Entertainment District BIA, the Street Festival also creates an additional opportunity for sponsors. This year, those include Airbnb, which will be sharing its “best kept Toronto secrets” whilst activating a contest that will give one winner a $1,000 travel voucher redeemable in any of its 191 countries. Express will be running a pop-up shop showcasing its fall collection and giving away freebies. Canadian Cheese is hosting a booth and will also give visitors a chance to win free prizes. And spirits company Diageo will be promoting its vodka brand Cîroc during a pop-up street party.

The programming line-up for this year includes a new initiative, Questival, created by Frontier Design & Innovation, a Toronto-based design and publishing studio. The company has developed a walking-interactive quiz. Balloons with flashy icons will hover above the festival, each linking to an old festival film. Visitors can go online to play the quiz, and win free tickets.

An outdoor stage – NewCanadianMusic.ca –  will host presentations on film and also introduce festival goers to music performances by upcoming talent presenting classics like the ballet adaptation of Titicut Follies and introducing Canadians to the winner of Arab Idol, Mohammad Assaf.

To promote its upcoming exhibit, Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen, which opens on Oct. 30, TIFF organizers are placing a Warhol-inspired photo booth where visitors can pose for filmstrips and then share them on social media.

The festival will also showcase a range of installations including experimental and stop-motion animation installations, and to cater to the visual needs of little cinephiles, there will be a Slaight Family Zone where local artist Jeff Blackburn will give budding painters an opportunity to blob or stroke their talents across panels for a street-spanning colouring book. There will also be a pop and lock dance machine to encourage dancing through stop-motion animation created by Toronto-based artist company, Catshrine.

The programming also includes a first-ever food truck village that will be stationed at Pearl and John Steet. Vendors include Chimney Stax, Heirloom, Hogtown Smoke, Koi’s Gourmet and Localista.

In addition to sponsor activations and programming, TIFF will have its own membership-focused tent and outdoor giftshop.