By: Voice K Future Journalist Summer Camp Program
Marshal Wang (Age 8), Matthew Zhang (Age 10), Amelie Zhou (Age 9), Michelle Zhou (Age 9), Davin Ma (Age 10)
The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the Canada’s most famous film festivals.On Friday, July 26th, 2013, a bunch of journalists from Voice K visited TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, the home of TIFF.
We started our fantastic journey with Marcia Doyle, who was our tour guide for the day. She introduced herself and told us about the history of TIFF. TIFF started in 1976. It was founded by Bill Marshall, Henk Van der Kolk and Dusty Cohl, who dedicated their lives to the film industry. It used to be called The Festival of Festivals. The TIFF center sits in a unique place called TIFF Bell Lightbox, located on the corner of King and John Street in Downtown Toronto. This building was created like its name. There are two main design themes: light and shadow, and boxes within boxes. Everything you see either has light on it or a shadow to cover it. If you look at the wall and framing of the building, there are boxes everywhere.
Doyle pointed to the red box upstairs. She said, “There is one up there. It controls the TIFF Lightbox.”
Special compliments went to the Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB) Architects, who built this building. The architects wanted to create a building full of energy and imagination. We think they reached their goal.
On our tour, Doyle told us that, “The floor is tiled with black slate and during events, they would place a red carpet on the floor to welcome visitors & celebrities. The escalator is also painted red to match the carpet.”
We then visited the building’s second floor. While we were walking, Doyle explained that there were five cinemas. We first thought that Cinema 1 is smallest and Cinema 5 is biggest. However, it was the opposite .We visited all of the cinemas except Cinema 4 and 1.
We also had the chance to go inside the Bell Blue Room, which was a lounge area used primarily by TIFF members. It was a luxurious living area that was facing the CN Tower. There, we had a great time interviewing the staff, who were Jane Schoettle (International Programmer, TIFF) and Magali Simard (Manager, Film Programmes, TIFF).
“What do you do for your job?” we asked. Then, Schoettle said, “Our job is to select films.” Does that mean they watch movies every day? That sounds like a fun job!
We were informed that there are four major festivals that TIFF runs each year: Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF Kids International Film Festival, Canada’s Top Ten and TIFF Next Wave Film Festival.
When our journalist Amelie asked, “How much time do you and other staff spend on organizing the Festival?” Schoettle answered, “Different from different people. People like myself spend 6 months, some 10 months, some 1 year. It all depends.”
“How was last year’s Festival different from this one?” we asked.
“It’s always different each year. We are trying to make it better and broader each year. We are trying to get people like you to come.” Simard said.
When we asked how many stars have they invited for this year, Simard said they are still working on the numbers, but she also remind us that some really good films don’t have stars and some films have stars that we are not familiar with. We just need to keep an eye on the website for information.
“How do you get movie stars to come to the Festival?” was our last question.
“We don’t invite individually,” was the response from Simard. “We show films that are really good. We ask them, ‘Do you want to be here when we show the film you’re in?’ and they either say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.”
We also learned from them that sometimes it could take people up to three years to make a long movie and it could take 8 months to make a short movie.
We were curious about the film making process, so we asked, “How do you make a film?’’
One of them said, “We worked with animating clay and took a lot of still pictures for each movement. Then we put them together using the computer editing program.”
Voice K had great time at TIFF Bell Lightbox. If you ever visit, you’re bound to have a lot of fun too!