These Ontario Cities Got A Mini TIFF Of Their Own & Here's What Happened
You might recognize a few places (and faces) in this locally produced movie.
With so many exciting events happening in Toronto, it’s common for folks in other cities to feel kind of left out. That's why OLG rolled up the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) red carpet and prepped some marquees to surprise three lucky Ontario cities with a film premiere.
TIFF on Tour was inspired by community spirit and the fact that while some people come from across the globe to attend TIFF, not everyone can. Even folks in Toronto had trouble getting tickets to shows this year !
You probably know that OLG’s profits go right back to the people of Ontario via healthcare, education and more. But they also sponsor loads of cultural events and, with TIFF on Tour, they wanted to celebrate the province's film and arts community.
The three cities on the tour were chosen based on their ties to the screened film, their vibrant arts communities and their iconic theatres.
For example, Campbellford's Aron Theatre had been struggling for a few years and this event breathed some new life into it. Three nights of glitz, glamour and buttery popcorn supported Ontario’s film community and brought folks together for a fun night out.
Narcity Canada spoke with Tony Bitonti, Director of Media Relations at OLG , to learn how it all went down — and whether some more cities will be surprised next year.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
OLG posted hundreds of free tickets for the communities of Campbellford, North Bay and Windsor. Upon arrival, movie buffs were treated to the whole red carpet experience.
And according to Bitonti, they loved it. "We invited them to step along the red carpet [...] And I tell you, when they stood in front of those cameras, they lit up."
Guests were blasted with questions about who they were wearing — Levis was a common response — and then treated to free popcorn, movie snacks and bevvies.
North of Normal, which only premiered a week before in front of a small audience, was the perfect film for the occasion — some scenes were even shot in North Bay and several of the movie's extras came to the event at the Capitol Centre.
Plus, the eight-year-old North of Normal star is from Windsor. Her parents, family members and neighbours applauded when she appeared on their hometown screen.
That’s movie magic: bringing people together. And when OLG decided to take the world-renowned festival across the province, everyone could feel like a star. Which is pretty cute, honestly.
Looking back on the event, Bitonti said, “It really is about giving back to those communities and allowing us to share their stories."
OLG is always looking for the next greatest activation — and they're already planning events for the next year. The team will evaluate the first TIFF on Tour's success (Bitonti calls it a major one) before they announce a potential return for next year.
So hold tight — you’ll just have to wait before you can brag about snagging a TIFF on Tour ticket. In the meantime, why not treat yourself and some pals to a night out at your local theatre?