movies tiff 2021

9 movies you can only watch in-person at TIFF 2021

Part of promising a hybrid festival at TIFF 2021 means the vast majority of the more than 100 films playing this year are available in some fashion to screen digitally at home.

Whether you have access to the regular or premium digital slate, it means the vast majority of the films generating the most buzz, awards winners, and even the top picks from the programmers can be screened from the comfort of your couch.

There remain a few titles and events however that are uniquely in-person, either due to distribution restrictions or the nature of the special event itself. Here to help you navigate your fest selection are the TIFF 2021 films that are set to screen in-person only.

A Hero

Asghar Farhadi is a particular favourite for many local audience members, and his Cannes Award-winning film has plenty of anticipation for its release. You'll have to head to TIFF Bell Lightbox to see it, as it screens in-person on Sept. 9 at 9:30 a.m. and noon, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m., and Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.

A Night of Knowing Nothing

Another award winner from Cannes, this hybrid documentary from Payal Kapadia uses an epistolic structure to delves into the complexity of love and life within contemporary India. The film plays as part of the Wavelengths slate and screens at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Sun, Sept. 12 at 2:00 p.m. and Scotiabank Theatre on Mon, Sept. 13 at 9:30 a.m.


Are you really surprised that a film where the director fought so hard for it not to be dumped onto streaming would be in-person only at the fest? Sure, it's set to open widely on October 1st, but on Sat, Sept. 11 you'd have one of several chances to see it at the glorious Cinesphere and truly be transported to the planet Araxis. 

Last Night In Soho

Edgar Wright's horror film opens wide just in time for Halloween, but if you want to avoid as many spoilers as possible and check it out early at the Canadian premiere you have the chance you could see it on Fri, Sept. 10 at Roy Thompson Hall at 9:00 p.m. or on Thu, Sept. 15 at the Princess of Wales Theatre.


This celebrated Cannes feature does best on the large canvas of a movie theatre, and the only way you're going to capture Apichatpong Weerasethakul's latest mysterious rumination on life, death and weird noises is at the Cinesphere on Mon, Sept. 13, or at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 3:00 p.m. on Fri, Sept. 17.

NBA Films for Fans

Here's a unique experience - Five BIPOC filmmakers (Romeo Candido, Shawn Gerrard, Kathleen S. Jayme, Thyrone Tommy, and S.M. Turrell) got a chance to tell stories to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the first NBA game in Toronto.

Here's your chance to experience in-person some unique local talent celebrating a game that for many defines this city more than stuff that plays on ice or on a grassy field.


One of the hottest tickets of the fest is Pablo Larrain's Spencer, with TIFF stalwart Kristen Stewart taking on the role of Diana, the former Princess of Wales. The one public screening will take place at the theatre named after her on Wed, Sept. 15 at 6:00 p.m.

Triumph: Rock & Roll Machine

Screening for the public a the RBC Drive-In on Fri, Sept. 10 at 9:00 p.m., Sam Dunn and Marc Ricciardelli's rockdoc about the Canadian power trio seems to have a perfect setting for a raucous Lakeside night just like the many shows the band performed down at Ontario Place.

Soderbergh's Surprise

Hey, remember when Steven Soderbergh said he was going to retire? Yeah, well, he was lying. And he's bringing to TIFF a "film" (TV episode? YouTube show?) that he may or may not have made during lockdown with some of his famous friends. You'll only find out in-person!

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