TIFF still hop­ing to work with Drake af­ter can­cel­la­tion

The Hamilton Spectator - - A & E - VIC­TO­RIA AHEARN

TORONTO — Drake’s scrubbed ap­pear­ance at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val may have left some fans up­set, but the two could still col­lab­o­rate in the fu­ture, sug­gests the artis­tic di­rec­tor of TIFF.

The Toronto rap­per can­celled his highly an­tic­i­pated ap­pear­ance at a screen­ing of “Mon­sters and Men” with only a few hours of no­tice on Sept. 6, the first day of the fes­ti­val, say­ing he couldn’t make it be­cause of his tour.

Some fans com­plained they’d shelled out good money for a ticket to the event, which also in­cluded ac­cess to the fes­ti­val’s exclusive open­ing-night party.

TIFF artis­tic di­rec­tor and fu­ture co-head Cameron Bai­ley says the fes­ti­val was “dis­ap­pointed” but adds he un­der­stands “things can change.”

De­spite the open­ing-night hic­cup, this year’s in­stal­ment that wraps with an awards cer­e­mony on Sun­day has been “a big suc­cess,” said Bai­ley.

He noted they’ve had “great au­di­ences” and “a lot of real dis­cov­er­ies” of ac­claimed films that made their world pre­mière at the fes­ti­val, in­clud­ing “Green Book,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Wid­ows.”

Ques­tions about fes­ti­val at­ten­dance arose af­ter some posts on Twit­ter showed empty seats dur­ing open­ing-night screen­ings of “Mon­sters and Men” and “Out­law King.”

Bai­ley said while they won’t know to­tal at­ten­dance fig­ures un­til af­ter Sun­day, “the houses have been, for the most part, quite full.”

“I think what some­times hap­pens is, we made a big ef­fort this year to start screen­ings on time, as close to the sched­uled start time as pos­si­ble,” he said.

“What that means is some­times when the in­tro­duc­tions on­stage start and the film­maker starts speak­ing about their film, but even when the lights go down, the house is still not full and that’s be­cause peo­ple are still com­ing in.”

Some fes­ti­val­go­ers and watch­ers have also com­plained about the cost of a TIFF ticket.

Bai­ley noted they have $10 tick­ets avail­able to those aged 25 and un­der for week­day, day­time screen­ings.

For those over 25, tick­ets to reg­u­lar screen­ings are $18, “which I think is still quite rea­son­able for a fes­ti­val ticket.”

When it comes to tiered pric­ing for venues with as­signed seat­ing, which can range from $25 to $82, Bai­ley noted TIFF is one of the most in-de­mand fes­ti­vals in the world with films that are be­ing screened for the first time in Canada, if not the world.

“We’re lim­ited in terms of the num­ber of seats we have in even our biggest the­atres. Those tick­ets are more ex­pen­sive, there’s no doubt,” he said. “But they’re not nearly as ex­pen­sive as we see them be­ing resold for on some of those re­sale sites.”

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