In the past year, the number of movie buffs who are willing to travel to Toronto for a screening has surged to nearly a quarter of all cinema visits, according to the latest data from the Toronto Film Festival.
In 2014, only 10 per cent of Toronto’s visits to theatres were for films, down from more than 30 per cent a decade earlier.
The number of people in Toronto who visited a film festival has grown from about 7,000 to about 10,000 over the past five years.
The film festival, which began in 2006 and is now in its 16th year, was created by Toronto’s Arts Council in part to provide more accessible film screenings to those who are unfamiliar with the city’s film culture.
But it has become increasingly difficult to find films in Toronto in recent years.
It has become impossible to get tickets at the film festival to an upcoming movie screening.
The Toronto Film Critics Association, which represents critics, says the festival’s numbers have not kept pace with the rising number of international releases.
“We have a lot of films that are not showing up, and they are not getting a lot attention,” said Peter Zindl, the association’s director of programs.
“The problem is that people are just so used to seeing movies in Toronto that they don’t want to go see them in other parts of the world.”
Toronto Film Festival director Peter Zendl says the numbers for international releases are not keeping pace with Toronto’s growing numbers of visitors.
(CBC)Zendl said Toronto Film Festivals can be a very good place to see a film, but they also need to be accessible to anyone who is unfamiliar with Canadian film.
“I think that’s a challenge that we’re facing now, is that films have been pushed out into more of a global marketplace, and there are very few theatres that are offering screenings in other locations,” Zendli said.
“So when you look at a film like ‘The Help,’ which is an adaptation of a story about a woman with autism, it’s a big film and that’s really where you get a lot from a festival.”
And then, as a festival you get to meet the filmmakers and the audiences and the people who are going to go out and see it, so it’s very exciting and a great place to be.
“Zendli has been working to change the way that festivals work, and he hopes to see films in theatres come back to Toronto as more films are made in the city.”
When I was in my first festival, there were some screenings at Toronto’s theatre, and the audience was not necessarily the same, and so we decided that we’d put the screenings in some other locations in the festival, and we’d take that as an opportunity to work on ways to change that,” Zindli said, adding that the Toronto film festival is working on a plan to put more screenings in the future.
The city of Toronto is in the process of implementing a pilot program to open more theatres to more people, said Coun.
(Submitted by Michael Thompson)”It’s been great to see the increase in international releases, and to see people come to Toronto and be part of our cultural life.
I think there’s a lot more to come.
“But, as long as people are making movies in the Toronto of today, there will be a film that’s coming out in a city like Toronto that is just as exciting, or even better, because there’s an audience that’s in Toronto, and that film will be made in Toronto.”
The Toronto film program is funded by the Canadian Film Commission and the Ontario Film Fund.
The organization said it hopes to expand screenings to more theatre locations in Canada and the United States over the next year.