film toronto

The top 10 film events in Toronto this winter

Nobody likes to go out during the months where winds, snow, ice, and negative degree weather descend upon the city of Toronto. So if you're going to go out, you want it to be worthwhile. Thankfully, for movie lovers there are plenty of film-related events that make the effort of bundling yourself up worth it. Festivals for all ages and screenings for all tastes, will roll out over the coming months for the discerning (or not so discerning) moviegoer.

Here are my picks for the must-attend film events in Toronto this winter.

Black Christmas / Dec. 20 / The Royal
Need a break from warm and fuzzy Christmas classics like It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol? The Royal has you covered. Five days before Santa arrives, they'll be screening Black Christmas, the influential 1974 Canadian horror classic about a killer terrorizing a sorority house. The movie will be double-billed with fellow Can-Con flick, Cooper's Christmas.

Cineplex Classic Film Series / Starting December 20th / Cineplex Theatres
For those who like their classic films on something bigger than a TV at home, the CCFS is always a welcome occasion. The next few months will bring a particular impressive line-up. For the yuletide inclined there's Frank Capra's indelible It's a Wonderful Life before Christmas, and then 2015 will bring all-timer romance Casablanca, Charlie Chaplin's endearing City Lights, and the more-relevant-than-ever Al Pacino film, Dog Day Afternoon. It's this one in particular you should seek out, since even TIFF's hasn't shown it on the big screen often.

Restored! / December 25 - January 1 / TIFF Bell Lightbox
TIFF has always been a passionate supporter of showing off some of cinema's greatest films which have received beautiful facelifts via new restorations. Now, their launching a new regular series, called "Restored!", devoted to doing just that. They're featuring a wide variety of films, but be sure not to miss the chance to see a restored version of 1920's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (a hugely influential silent classic), or the gorgeous cinematography in a whole series of James Dean restorations: East of Eden, Giant, and, duh, Rebel Without a Cause.

Canada's Top Ten Film Festival / January 2 - 11 / TIFF Bell Lightbox
Once again the Lightbox will host the best of the best of the past year in Canadian Cinema. Heavyweights like David Cronenberg (Maps to the Stars) and Xavier Dolan (Cannes-winner, Mommy) are playing, as are smaller acclaimed underseen gems like TIFF 2014 Best Canadian Feature Film winner Felix and Meira, as well as Tu Dors Nicole and Corbo.

Two Days, One Night / January 16 / TIFF Bell Lightbox
Everyone pretty much loves Marion Cotillard. She's like a French Jennifer Lawrence or Judi Dench. Well, January 16th, Cotillard fans can see her arguably career-best performance in the Dardenne Brothers' wonderful Two Days, One Night. The drama about a woman fighting to keep her job while fighting her crippling depression was one of the best films at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival this past fall. Don't miss this one.

The Great Digital Film Festival / January 30 - February 5 / Cineplex Theatres
Cineplex's annual gathering of mega-popular crowd pleasers returns once again to give audiences the chance to see some of their favorites on the big screen. This year's line-up includes tried-and-true pictures like Blade Runner, Kill Bill, Alien and Aliens. But it's especially worthwhile this year to check out the welcome inclusion of beloved cult classics like The Rocketeer, Darkman and The Monster Squad.

The Toronto Black Film Festival / February 10 - 15 / Carlton Cinema
Entering it's fourth year in Toronto, the TBFF is a chance to see many movies you wouldn't be able to see anywhere else. More importantly, the festival provides a exciting and vital stage for the often unheard voices of black filmmakers, reflecting on what it means to be black in 2014 and all over the world.

TIFF Next Wave Film Festival / February 13 - 15 / TIFF Bell Lightbox
The annual teen friendly festival, programmed for (and partially by) 14-18 year-olds, returns to bring much needed lightness to our grey Toronto winters. Beyond the fact that it's wonderful atmosphere of youthful passion for film that can't help put a little shared skip in your step, the festival has always offered a consistent welcome mix of teen-friendly classics (Mean Girls, Scott Pilgrim), with interesting new off-the-beaten-path films (i.e. no Pixar or Night at the Museum) you might not get the chance to see anywhere else.

The Room / February 28 / Carlton Cinema
Every last Saturday of the month, the Carlton shows the so-awful-its-good cult classic The Room. It's a particularly worthwhile outing in February because the Rocky Horror Picture Show- like style interactive crowd enthusiasm (for the uninitiated: bring plastic spoons) is just the perfect cure for winter doldrums.

The 2015 Canadian Film Fest (March 25 - 28)
Not every Canadian filmmaker can be a Xaiver Dolan or David Cronenberg and have their films easily shown in theatres. Thankfully we have the good people at CFF to make sure a wide range of Canadian filmmakers' voices get the chance to have their films - usually low-budget features and shorts--get the chance to be seen, enjoyed, and loved.

What did I miss? Add more winter film events to the comments.

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