Toronto Int'l Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival known originally as "The Festival of Festivals", began in 1976 as a collection of the best films from festivals around the world. It has since, grown to become a central player for Hollywood, independent, and world film.
The festival is considered to be one of the top film festivals in the world and it is the premiere film festival in North America from which the Oscars race begins. By public attendance it is arguably the world's largest film festival.
In 1998, Variety magazine acknowledged that "the Festival is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity." Quoted by the National Post in 1999, Roger Ebert claimed "...although Cannes is still larger, Toronto is more useful and more important....".
The festival begins the Thursday night after Labour Day (first Monday in September in Canada) and lasts for ten days. Between 300-400 films are screened at approximately 23 screens in downtown Toronto venues. The festival is centred around the Bay and Bloor area, a part of town with several luxury hotels and several movie theatres. Though the Festival in recent years has given more attention to mainstream Hollywood films than in the past, the Festival still maintains its indie roots, featuring retrospectives of national cinemas and individual directors, as well as highlights of Canadian cinema, in addition to the plethora of African, South American and Asian films that regularly show at the festival.