The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) kicks off tomorrow, and for the next 11 days Canada’s biggest city will be swarming with directors, A-list actors, industry execs, and legions of film lovers. And we mean legions – last year, over 400,000 people flocked to the city for the event, and 2013 will see similar masses descending upon Toronto for the film marathon. Expect screenings of over 360 films, representing 70 countries around the globe.

Toronto International FIlm Festival | Toronto

A nighttime view of the Toronto skyline © Aqnus Febriyant, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com

In its 38th year, The Toronto International Film Festival is widely regarded as the world’s second most important film festival, right after Cannes; it also has a reputation for generating intense Oscar buzz. High-profile films like Silver Linings Playbook, The King’s Speech, and Sideways have all made their debuts here, and the film festival has screened every Academy Award-winning Best Picture film since 2007. That’s quite the record.

Of course, TIFF couldn’t exist without the support of Toronto and its flourishing arts movements. Referred to as “Hollywood North,” the city is one of the largest film industry centres in North America, and also home to a thriving indie scene.

This year, a slew of Canadian films and directors will feature heavily in TIFF’s schedule. The F Word, an independent romcom by Ontario-born director Michael Dowse, stars Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in the title roles and has been steadily garnering buzz. Canadian director Gia Milani’s debut film All the Wrong Reasons, starring Cory Monteith in one of his final roles, looks to be another highlight. Other films to watch out for include The Husband, a black comedy centred on a Toronto ad man struggling with his adult responsibilities, and Cinemanovels, a film by Terry Miles about a deceased filmmaker’s daughter. A series of Canadian short films by up-and-coming directors will also be screened throughout the festival.

So among the high-profile screenings of star-studded feature films Gravity, August: Osage County and The Fifth Estate, see if you can schedule in some time to catch works from local Canadian filmmakers. And while you’re feverishly poring over the festival schedule, get in the mood with these Toronto short films. From glittering stop motion action to moody lightning storms over the city, these films capture Toronto in all of its photogenic glory.

Toronto Tempo

This Vimeo Staff Pick video explores Toronto’s underground tunnels and glittering skyline in stunning stop motion.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/30788720 w=580&h=300]

Lightning TO

This spooky, atmospheric video captures an intense thunderstorm over Toronto. Look for the lightning strikes at the top of the CN Tower.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/28141839 w=580&h=300]

December in Toronto

A gorgeous short film, December in Toronto shows the city from the perspective of a visitor, capturing intimate family dynamics and stop-and-start images of the city streets.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/18534513 w=580&h=300]

City Rising (Toronto Timelapse)

This captivating timelapse video sees clouds building and dissipating above Toronto’s skyscrapers and tracks the flows of glowing traffic that weave their way across the city.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/51137834 w=580&h=300]

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2012

An annual art festival that sees viewers staying up all night, Nuit Blanche (‘all nighter’ in French) offers a glimpse of Toronto’s cutting-edge contemporary art scene.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/50488115 w=580&h=300]

Feature image © Mammut Vision, 2013. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com

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