Whip It

Where to TIFF for Free

We're only hours away from the 34th edition of Toronto International Film Festival, our annual 10-day celebrity glitzfest and showcase of world cinema.

While stalking celebrities is a cheap way to kill time between screenings, as luck would have it, there are plenty of other free (and worthwhile!) TIFF events scheduled throughout this year's fest.

Free Screening: People's Choice Award Winner

Those pesky little ballots that volunteers collect after every movie determine which film will win the prestigious Cadillac People's Choice Award.

On the afternoon of September 19th, TIFF will announce the audience favourite (check in here) and (at 7pm) will release tickets for a free screening of the film. This first-come, first-served race will take place at the Elgin Theatre box office - where the festival's most popular film will screen at 9pm that same night. Last year's winner Slumdog Millionaire picked up the first of its heap of awards from Toronto audiences.

Yonge-Dundas Square Outdoor Lineup

TIFF steps up its outdoor programming this year with red carpet-worthy rock and movie stars. My calendar is marked up and circled - in three different colours - for the September 14th North American premiere of The Neil Young Trunk Show with a scheduled appearance by the man himself, plus acclaimed director Jonathan Demme (at 9pm).

A special edition of the Toronto Zombie Walk is in the works to celebrate George A. Romero's latest, Survival of the Dead, running in this year's Midnight Madness programme. The walk starts at 3:30 on Saturday, September 12th at Alexandra Park (Bathurst/Dundas) and goes on to Yonge-Dundas Square by 6pm to greet Romero and to screen his 1968 zombie classic Night of the Living Dead.

"Stars" are expected at a Whip It roller-derby event on September 13th (will Drew Barrymore or Ellen Page show?) and Joan Baez is playing a short concert on September 18th. There is a live satellite feed rigged from the Roy Thomson Hall red carpet gala on the festival's opening night, swing-dance lessons, the National Ballet of Canada, and the list goes on.

The 12 o'clock noon slot is devoted to a TIFF Live In Concert Film Series (Woodstock, the Talking Heads' in Stop Making Sense, and even Madonna's Truth or Dare), meanwhile TIFF Shhh! Silent Film Series run weekdays at 3pm (Steamboat Bill Jr., 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea).

A full schedule is available on the Yonge-Dundas Square website.

The Other Red Carpet

Improv In Toronto is hosting a fake red carpet on Saturday, September 12th in the park outside of the West Bay Station entrance. This unofficial event has an unnamed TV network sponsor and a secret celebrity guest lined up.

Organizers are inviting volunteers to dig out their prom dresses and sign up to be a "star" (warning: an unusual strut on the carpet in expected). For everyone else, the plan is "to cause some chaos in the middle of an international event" between 1:45pm and 4pm at Cumberland and Bellair. My plan here is to haul out the biggest camera I own and try to get a spot in the fake paparazzi pit.

Future Projections

For the artier art house set, Future Projections is TIFF's installation and film-related artwork programme, with free exhibits set up all over town.

Three films (Civilization, The Shape of Things, This Transition Will Never End #6) will be projected every night from 8pm to 12am on the future Bell Lightbox at King and John. Isabella Rossellini revisits her Green Porno series "to make a magical installation out of the sea-creature films and sculptures." Green Porno: Scandalous Sea is on the main floor of the ROM. For more, visit the official TIFF site.

Still from Whip It courtesy of TIFF

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