If you’re experiencing the prestige of the Toronto International Film Festival from the red-carpeted ground, it may seem like every ticket is a hot one. But just as all theatre seats are not created equal, some tickets are hotter than others. Trying to figure out if that screening you’re attending is among the cream of the crop?
Here are some surefire signs:
12 signs you’ve scored a ticket to one of TIFF’s hottest flicks
It’s directed by an actorStars have always been the main attraction at TIFF, even when they’re behind the camera. This year’s long list of performers-turned-directors includes Chris Rock (Top Five), Jon Stewart (Rosewater), Paul Bettany (Shelter), and Ethan Hawke (Seymour: An Introduction).IACF
It stars Al PacinoThere’s no shortage of actors appearing in more than one film at TIFF this year, but only one is a certified legend: 74-year-old Al Pacino (Manglehorn, The Humbling)Worldview/Dreambridge/Muskat/Rough House
It features several generations of starsWhile most TIFF audiences are happy with one prominent actor, movies like This Is Where I Leave You offer young (Adam Driver), old (Jane Fonda), and everything in between (Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, etc.).Warner Bros.
It doesn’t seem like a Festival movieAs much as cinephiles love to drool over three-hour German art films, the general TIFF audience tends to get more excited about exactly the kind of films that normally rule the box office. Those hoping to bring the multiplex experience to TIFF need look no further than Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer — if they can find a ticket.Columbia Pictures
It starts at midnightWhile Midnight Madness is often misunderstood as a dumping ground for movies too extreme for the general public, these titles are subjected to one of the Festival’s most competitive screening processes. The mainstream is also embracing these films like never before, which may explain why you’ll find Samuel L. Jackson in attendance.Subzero/Altitude/Egoli Tossell
It’s directed by David CronenbergDavid Cronenberg’s films rarely have much impact at the box office, but TIFF is a different story. This year’s Maps to the Stars is no less peculiar than the director’s other films, but the marriage of Canada’s most celebrated director and his most starry cast to date (Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska) makes for one seriously elusive ticket.eOne
It’s about the movie businessTIFF tends to attract many knowledgeable, film-savvy viewers, which may explain the excitement surrounding two new movies set in and around the film business: Clouds of Sils Maria and Maps to the Stars. For more casual fans, it doesn’t hurt that both feature stars from The Twilight Saga.CG Cinema
Everyone wants to like itEnthusiasm levels are off the charts at TIFF. In some cases, hype is such that viewers stretch to get excited about movies that might be outside their comfort zone. This year’s best example is Foxcatcher, a film likely to impress some and repel others with its deeply disturbed protagonists.Sony Pictures
It brings back memories of TIFF 2013It’s never easy to pick from the hundreds of options at the Festival, but it helps if the pedigree includes a recent TIFF favourite. Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée made a splash at TIFF (and the Oscars) with last year’s Dallas Buyers Club. Audiences are hoping for more of the same with this year’s Wild.Fox Searchlight
It has already made a splash on the Festival circuitTIFF tends to be light on actual superhero movies, but actors known for playing superheroes are everywhere. This year’s Festival includes Robert Downey, Jr. (The Judge), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher, Infinitely Polar Bear), Chris Evans (Before We Go), and Andrew Garfield (99 Homes), to name just four.Warner Bros.
It’s based on a true storyLike the Oscars, TIFF has a special place in its heart for reality-based movies. Beach Boy Brian Wilson (Love & Mercy), scientist Stephen Hawking (The Theory of Everything), chess great Bobby Fischer (Palm Sacrifice), and drug lord Pablo Escobar (Escobar: Paradise Lost) all have biopics at the Festival.eOne
It’s not a movieBelieve it or not, some of the Festival’s hottest tickets don’t even include movies. The Mavericks series offers extended face time with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Reese Witherspoon (Wild, The Good Lie), Jon Stewart (Rosewater), and Denzel Washington (The Equalizer).Odd Lot Entertainment