Your Guide to TIFF 2017

Where to go and what to see during Toronto's premier film festival

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the best and most acclaimed film festivals in the world. Each year, TIFF brings in celebrities and a lineup of must-see films that attract thousands of eager festival attendees. Just last year, an estimated 480,000 people showed up to summon their inner cinephile.

This year’s festival will occur from September 7th to the 17th. Given the wide range of events and films that take place at TIFF each year, navigating the festival can be daunting. That’s why we’ve narrowed down a list of the most anticipated films this year, as well as unique events to explore. Check it out below.

For all other information, including the full schedule, lineup, and ticket information, visit the TIFF 2017 official website here.

Featured Films


Lady Bird

Directed by Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird explores the life of a young girl growing up in a Catholic school in Sacramento. This coming-of-age film also depicts the bittersweet, complicated, and often highly emotional bond between mother and daughter.


The Shape of Water

This Guillermo del Toro directed film takes place at the height of the Cold War and tells the story of two government lab employees who discover a top secret and highly disturbing secret experiment. The film stars Sally Hawkins and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer.



Starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, Suburbicon was directed by George Clooney and is set within the seemingly dull, mundane life of a suburban community in the 1950s (the perfect setting for scandal and unrelenting secrecy). When a father gets mixed up in a mafia debt, all hell breaks loose.


First They Killed My Father

Angelina Jolie co-produced, co-wrote, and directed this adaptation of Loung Ung’s memoir. First They Killed My Father is a retelling of Ung’s terrifying experience growing up in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime.



Described as a “sci-fi social satire about a man who chooses to shrink himself (literally) to simplify his life,” Downsizing’s star-studded cast includes Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris and more.


Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley is a biopic about the gothic writer herself. The film tells the story of Shelley’s marriage to poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, as well as how Shelley came to invent one of the most famous monsters of our time, Frankenstein. The film was directed by Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker, Al Mansour.


Battle of the Sexes

This reimagining of the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs stars Emma Stone and Steve Carell.


Long Time Running

Long Time Running is a documentary about the Tragically Hip’s 2016 final tour, which marked a powerfully emotional time for Canadian music. The film was captured by acclaimed documentarians Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier.



This satirical film about the world of battle rapping was produced by Eminem, and the irony is not lost there. It is based on a script written by Toronto’s Alex and Larsen and was directed by music video director Joseph Kahn.



Another horror about a pubescent girl who discovers she has special powers that happen to surface after falling in love for the first time. Fans of Carrie and Ginger Snaps are sure to enjoy this one.


Unicorn Store

Unicorn Store marks Brie Larson’s feature film directorial debut. This whimsical film about magic, adulthood, and unicorns is among a must-see this festival year.


The Carter Effect

This film tells the story of Raptors basketball icon Vince Carter. The Carter Effect was filmed by Sean Menard, who followed Vince through some of the most candid moments in his life.

See a complete list of TIFF 2017 films here.


Short Films

Some of the best TIFF moments come from the festival’s short films. Many directors from across Canada and around the world make their directorial debut in TIFF’s “Short Cuts” events. This year’s hopefuls include Molly Parker’s directorial and writing debut Bird, Mahdi Fleifel’s A Drowning Man, and China’s Qiu Yang’s A Gentle Night. Click here for the full lineup.



Gala Presentations

Want to see your favourite celebrity in person? Each year a group of movie stars visit Toronto to attend their red carpet premieres. This year’s Gala Presentations include 55 Steps (starring Hilary Swank, Helena Bonham Carter, and Jeffrey Tambor), Borg/McEnroe (starring Sverrir Gudnason and Shia LaBeouf), and the Tragically Hip documentary Long Time Running.


Special Screenings

A first look at Legend of the Demon Cat with director Chen Kaige

TIFF will be showing an exclusive first look at footage from Chen Kaige’s Legend of the Demon Cat. Kaige has played a large role in paving much of China’s cinematic movement. Legend of the Demon Cat is set during the Tang Dynasty over a thousand years ago and was shot over three seasons. Click here for more information.

Pahuna: The Little Visitors

Watch a film with movie star and activist Priyanka Chopra as she attends the World Premiere of Pahuna: The Little Visitors, a film produced by both Priyanka Chopra and Dr. Madhu Chopra.

On My Way Out: The Secret Life of Nani and Popi

This special screening is a 40-minute documentary about Roman and Ruth, two 95-year-old Holocaust survivors. The film was produced by documentarian Barry Avrich and actor and comedian Howie Mandel. Click here for more information.

Photo courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival.

TIFF will be showing a World Premiere of the restoration of Shi Dongshan’s film Struggling, a wartime survival story. This event is free to attend. Click here for more information.

Photo courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Festival Street

TIFF will be hosting an event called Festival Street, which features a lineup of events that will take place along King Street between Peter Street and University Avenue. These events are free to attend and include activations, entertainment, food trucks, performances, and screenings. Festival Street will run from September 7 to 10. Click here for a list of Festival Street’s free events.

Photo courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Midnight Madness

Midnight screenings will be available for night owls looking to stay up late for a unique TIFF experience. This year’s Midnight Madness films include horror, action, shock and fantasy, so you’ll have no problem staying awake during the film. This year’s films include but are not limited to Bodied, Let the Corpses Tan, The Disaster Artist, and Vampire Clay.


TIFF Parties

Many Toronto bars will be serving alcohol until 4 a.m. during TIFF, so there will be no shortage of parties.

Tiff Opening Night Show

TIFF Opening Night Show will be taking place at the Bovine Sex Club on September 7 in partnership with Exclaim! for a night of hellish fun. The party will also include bands like The Do Good Badlies, Hudson Say, Goodnight, Sunrise, and Rynheart. Click here for event info.

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Wet Banana

The third annual Wet Banana dance party will happen at Remington’s strip club. Click here for more information.


TIFF Ovation Parties

The Lightbox will host parties over two days (September 8 and September 9) with 4 a.m. last call. This event will take place on the 6th floor rooftop and is open to the public. Click here to buy tickets.

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TIFF’s annual LGBTQ+ dance party will take place at Odd Thomas Bar on September 12 with DJs Margot and Phillippe.

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This restaurant will be hosting a number of parties throughout his year’s TIFF festival, with the most notable being their TIFF Hollywood North Party. This is an invite-only event that will more than likely attract some famous faces.


TIFF Closing Night Gala

This black-tie affair will take place at the Bond Hotel on September 16 and also serve as a fundraiser for Sick Kids. Click here for ticket information.

Feature photo courtesy Toronto International Film Festival via Facebook.