The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) makes its long-awaited full-scale return from September 8–18, 2022.
It’s baaaaack. TIFF looked a bit different in the past couple of years, but it’s back in all its glory to shine a spotlight on over 200 films and unite film lovers from around the globe.
The return of the full-scale and in-person festival makes me incredibly happy. You see, I’ve been attending TIFF since 2005 and every year, I count the days to opening night. Over the years I’ve watched hundreds of films, been dazzled by countless special events and witnessed the world’s biggest and brightest public film festival blossom right in front of my eyes.
It’s truly special to have a festival we can call our own in Toronto—one that both locals and international visitors eagerly flock to. But with so much to see and so little time, navigating TIFF can feel a tad overwhelming, so here’s a mini local’s guide to help you get the most out of the Festival of Festivals.
Make your film list (and check it twice)
Decisions, decisions. With over 200 films to choose from, the most challenging task will be narrowing down your wish list for the 11-day festival, which runs from September 8th to 18th this year. The TIFF website or the festival Programme Book (available at the Festival Box Office) are great resources, with programmers’ notes about each film along with the list of cast members, length, country and language.
If you’re looking for red-carpet premieres and movie stars, head to the Gala Presentations. But if you want to support films that may not be distributed widely, I highly recommend the Contemporary World Cinema program which showcases perspectives from around the world. This may be the only chance you have to catch these international films on the big screen! Bonus: there’s almost always a Q&A after these screenings so you can ask the directors, filmmakers and cast members your burning questions.
Tickets, tickets: where and how to get them
Tickets to screenings and events go on sale September 3rd for TIFF Members and September 5th for the public. Tickets and packages can be purchased online, by phone (10 am–7 pm ET daily at 416-599-2033 or 1-888-258-8433), or in person at the Steve & Rashmi Gupta Box Office inside TIFF Bell Lightbox (3 pm–10 pm ET Tuesdays and 10 am–10 am ET Wednesday through Sunday).
You can purchase individual tickets with assigned seating at Roy Thompson Hall, Visa Screening Room, the Princess of Wales Theatre and Royal Alexandra Theatre. General admission tickets are also available for TIFF Bell Lightbox and Scotiabank Theatre.
New this year
If you’re 24 and under, you’ll be thrilled to hear that there’s a new TIFF Under-25 Free Pass. The free pass includes access to purchase individual tickets to the 2022 Festival on Insiders’ Day and allows you to snag tickets at affordable prices (starting at $11 for regular screenings), along with other perks! You can also take advantage of the Under-25 Festival Rush Pass for just $29.00 (taxes + fees included) which grants you access to Rush lines at all TIFF venues so you can watch screenings and events for FREE!
Given TIFF’s popularity, your film may be labelled “off-sale” (especially high-profile screenings). Don’t fret: not all is lost. They release extra tickets throughout the festival so check their website daily at 7 am and you may just snag a ticket.
You can also “rush” films—festival lingo which means lining up at the venue until all ticket-holders are inside and empty seats are counted. Typically (although not always), the first dozen or so in the rush line get ushered in just before the screening starts. I’ve rushed many films throughout the years and have gotten into all of them. The earlier you arrive, the greater the chances, but it is a gamble! Note that the rush line is cash-only; you can only purchase one ticket and you can only hold space for one other person in line.
Free Screenings, Musical Performances and Activations
Festival Street is back for its seventh year! This means you can catch free films, musical performances and enjoy interactive activations on Festival Street (King Street West between Peter Street and University Avenue) from September 8-11. David Pecaut Square will also have free entertainment from September 8-18 so everyone can take part in the celebrations!
The House of Peroni Nastro Azzurro
Pop by The House of Peroni Nastro Azzurro when you're wandering through TIFF's Festival Street to enjoy Italian hospitality, snack on an exclusive menu curated by chef David Rocco, sip on Peroni Nastro Azzurro and get a peek of the red carpet at Roy Thomson Hall. This promises to be an elevated and exciting new activation.
Exciting Talks with Celebs
Featuring intimate sit-downs with some of the film industry’s biggest names, In Conversation With… is one of TIFF’s most exciting programmes. This year there will be conversations with Damien Chazelle, Viola Davis & Gina Prince-Bythewood, Lee Jung-jae & Jung Woo-sung, Eddie Redmayne, and Taylor Swift. You can purchase tickets here.
Star-worthy hotels, cocktails and meals
One of my favourite things to do during TIFF is to take in all the festival buzz at Toronto's beautiful hotels, restaurants and bars. Here are some experiences I can’t wait to check out.
Book A Room Where The Celebs Stay
If you want to be in the heart of all the action, the Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-La Toronto and The St. Regis Toronto are all great options for a glamorous stay. They’re all minutes away from festival venues and host numerous TIFF events, so they’ll be filled with buzz. But if you’re like me and need to recharge after your film marathon, I recommend heading north of the festival hub to Yorkville for a relaxing stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto or the newly-opened W Toronto. Just remember that TIFF attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, so the earlier you book, the better your chances of scoring a room!
TIFF-INSPIRED COCKTAILS AT FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, TORONTO
Inspired by festival season, Café Boulud and d|bar by Chef Daniel Boulud will be offering limited edition cocktails at Four Seasons Hotel from September 8-18. I got a sneak peek at The Directors Cut Cocktail Menu and am looking forward to trying Step and Repeat, The Godfather and The Premiere, which is served in a popcorn box!
TIFF-INSPIRED EXPERIENCES AT SHANGRI-LA TORONTO
I still vividly remember when the Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto first opened its doors during TIFF 2012. The buzz was palpable and the hotel quickly became a Hollywood favourite.
This year the hotel is the official hospitality partner of TIFF and has curated luxurious experiences inspired by the films at the festival—from speciality TIFF afternoon tea and TIFF-inspired cocktails to room packages. They'll also have a vibrant Veuve Clicquot Patio which will be very popular during the festival, so make sure to book a reso ASAP!
Immersive Daliland Set Exhibit and Dali-Inspired Cocktails At St. Regis Toronto
If you're a Salvador Dali fan like I am, you'll want to head straight to St. Regis Toronto to experience their immersive Daliland Set Exhibit, Dali-themed afternoon tea and Dali-inspired cocktails (including the Casanova which is a recipe created by Dali himself). The hotel has partnered with TIFF's official closing gala film, Daliland, and will transform its lobby into a replica of the St Regis suite used in the film! You’ll be able to have photographs taken of you in the studio set and can create personal works of art using cutting-edge AI technology. The pop-up kicks off at 7:30 pm on September 8th and will run daily from 6:00 – 9:00 pm until September 18th.
St. Regis Toronto will also have other limited-time offers you can indulge in during TIFF—like Caroline's Red Carpet Retreat (a 2.5-hour spa experience) and the Cristal Champagne Jazz Lounge where you can enjoy nightly live jazz performances, Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne-infused bites and a daily champagne sabrage ritual at 6:00 pm.
A glimpse of the stars at the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto
Besides the red carpets that dot the city, I’m convinced that there’s no better place to get a glimpse of celebrities than at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto (I’ve personally spotted dozens, from Al Pacino and George Clooney to Penelope Cruz and Ryan Gosling). That’s because the hotel is conveniently located just south of Roy Thomson Hall where many TIFF Galas are screened. You’re almost guaranteed to see stars coming and going from their countless festival engagements. EPOCH Bar & Kitchen Terrace will also be serving up some much-anticipated festival cocktails like Film Noir and Midnight In Paris, so grab yourself a cocktail (or two) and enjoy the vibes.