Monday, August 27, 2007

TIFF's New HQ Gets A Name

The new permanent home for the Toronto International Film Festival Group has a name and an official logo: Bell Lightbox.

Previously known as "Festival Centre", or "Festival Tower" when first announced in 2003, the Kuwabara Payne Mckenna Blumberg-designed facility--for which Bell Canada paid for naming rights until 2018--will include a five-story condo, five theatres, educational facilities, and an expanded film reference library (check out the advance renders here).

The $196M project became a reality thanks to partial funding ($50M) by the Canadian and Ontario governments, and privately (the remaining $146M) through a unique partnership between The Toronto International Film Festival Group, the King and John Festival Corporation, which comprises the Daniels Corporation, filmmaker Ivan ("Stripes", "Ghostbusters") Reitman, and the Reitman Family.

Vancouver's E + S Inc. (Envisioning and Storytelling) devised a list of four names and a logo from which TIFF Director and CEO Piers Handling ultimately made the call. The name and logo will be featured in a promotional trailer that will be screened through the upcoming 32nd annual Toronto International Film Festival (September 6-15).

On Thursday, Sept. 13, as part of this year's "Dialogues" series, the project's lead architect Kuwabara of the firm KPMB will offer a visual presentation and host a Q & A about the centre's unique features and design. A screening of Chris Marker's 1964 classic La Jetee, which was chosen as (from the official press release) "a new model for telling stories through film, and complements Kuwabara's presentation of a new approach to designing a space that celebrates the wonder of the moving image".

I live only a few minutes walk from the construction site at King Street West and John Street, so it'll be exciting to see this long-awaited and much-needed property come to life. Stay tuned to this site (for the foreseeable future) as I'll be regularly uploading images of the construction's progress.
-Robert J. Lewis