It’s business time: TIFF outgrows relaxed vibe, prepares for major film deals

It’s business time: TIFF outgrows relaxed vibe, prepares for major film deals

The Hyatt Regency will be a sales hub this year (Image: Hyatt) 

For most of us, TIFF is synonymous with glamorous parties and getting to see major films before the rest of the world, but for many in the industry, it increasingly means big business. According to Variety, Toronto has become the “unofficial marketplace” for the world’s top film execs to sell premium films that debut at Cannes and to launch films they’ll take to the American Film Market (AFM) in November.

Long gone are the days of deals all done over dinner at Sotto Sotto. IM Global has rented out the presidential suite of the Hyatt Regency (right next to the new Bell Lightbox) as the setting in which to woo buyers for four films screening at TIFF (Everything Must Go starring Will Ferrell, Vanishing on 7th Street starring Hayden Christensen and John Leguizamo, Insidious and Bunraku). But it’s also looking for distributors for such non-festival titles as Skyline 2 and zombie thriller The Bay. It’s not the only company setting up official sales operations; many others have booked space at the King Street Hyatt. So long, Yorkville.

Focus International won’t set up an official sales site, but it will be in Toronto looking for a buyer for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s bleak drama Biutiful—it stars Javier Bardem and premiered earlier this year at Cannes. Focus is also hawking Robert Redford’s The Conspirator (Justin Long, James McAvoy, Evan Rachel Wood, Alexis Bledel) and It’s Kind of a Funny Story starring The Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis.

Myriad Pictures will look to sell Wall Street thriller Margin Call starring Kevin Spacey—it’ll be showing first footage of the film. It’s also shilling the horse-racing drama The Cup and the Jacob Tierney flick Good Neighbours, which will premiere in Toronto and stars Jay Baruchel and Scott Speedman.

Let the games begin.

Toronto goes to market [Variety]