You’d be forgiven for thinking TIFF is a for-pro;it, corporate entity, given its size and reach.
It is, in fact, a charity. It’s also a year-round
headquartered at TIFF Bell Lightbox—that promotes and
showcases ;ilm, giving the majority of its proceeds back to the ;ilm community to foster and
support budding ;ilmmakers. The ;ilm festival
depends on a massive amount of sponsorship
and volunteerism, and that means a massive
amount of strategic planning, logistical hurdles
and relationship management. You know, event
production—just on a multiple-venue, metropolitan citywide scale.
TIFF’s ;ilm screenings are not sponsored in
the traditional sense. Rather, TIFF’s partners
host their guests, clients and executives to unique
VIP experiences at ;ilm screenings. Corporate
partners support TIFF and it’s mission to transform the way people see the world through ;ilm.
Packages range from the high-tone (and high-dollar) red carpet screenings at Roy Thomson
Hall and the Princess of Wales Theatre, complete
with pre- and post-screening receptions, to the
individual auditoriums at TIFF Bell Lightbox and
the nearby Scotiabank Theatre.
These opportunities offer a wide variety of options for brand
alignment, since the range of ;ilms does differ greatly—from Galas
to Midnight Madness—as do TIFF venues. If your brand is conservative in nature, there are plenty of “safe” ;ilms to host. If you like
to keep your brand on the edge of things, TIFF features plenty of
genre-based or challenging adult fare that will capture an audience
better suited for your brand. The bene;its of these hostings include
highly visible brand recognition, after-party access, priority seating and the opportunity for sponsors and their guests to meet with
the talent involved in the ;ilms.
TIFF has an entire sponsorship team that works with more than
A film festival
is more than
it’s a series
are where the
of a freshly
70 different corporate groups—;inancial institutions, luxury brands,
law ;irms—all with different needs and budgets. In-kind sponsorships are also available for theatrical presentation services, and
companies such as Dolby and MR. X partner with TIFF to bring the
festival to life. Multi-year agreements are common, and TIFF certainly does not have a shortage of demand.
Given the size of the festival and the sheer number of out-of-town guests who need to be accommodated,
TIFF recently formed a Hospitality Partner Program. Local restaurants and hotels offer in-kind
services to TIFF and its attendees, and those
businesses in turn become of;icial TIFF partners
and reap the rewards of having so many guests
directed to their establishments as a result of of;icially being part of the festival.
“Look at the size of that thing” is the line that
comes to mind when I start to comprehend the
volume of options for partners, guests, attendees
and audiences. TIFF is a production monster.
Screening 397 movies in 11 days is one thing.
Screening that many movies in several venues
that primarily don’t show movies is something
else entirely. The Roy Thomson Hall and Princess
of Wales theaters are not movie houses; they are
a symphony center and a live performance theater, respectively. This is where partnerships with
theatrical exhibition and technology companies
come into play, bringing in cinema equipment to
turn live theaters into movie houses without losing the feel of the venue.
Until very recently, major security concerns at
TIFF were ;ilm-industry speci;ic, mostly centered
around piracy. With the advent of smartphones
and the shrinking size of video recorders, TIFF organizers were faced with a unique challenge: How
do we stop the world premiere of a major Hollywood movie from going online mere hours after
Festival-goers line up at TIFF
Bell Lightbox’s box office.