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2009 Press Releases

Burton, Pickford And The Essential 100 To Kick Off Bell Lightbox Programme

Three major shows to launch between September 2010 and January 2011

TORONTO – Noah Cowan, Artistic Director of Bell Lightbox, unveiled three dynamic programmes that will be launched in Bell Lightbox, the new permanent home for TIFF. Today’s announcement was one of a series of exciting milestones unveiled by TIFF, including a $10 million capital investment by the Province of Ontario and the final concrete pour for the building.

Between September 2010 and January 2011, TIFF will launch three significant programming initiatives that will feature both gallery and cinema components: The Essential 100, which will present 100 key films, as voted on by our stakeholders and TIFF experts, as well as the accompanying items and objects that make them “essential”; Tim Burton, a major exhibition and retrospective showcasing one of the great creative geniuses in modern cinema; and The Rob Brooks Mary Pickford Collection, celebrating one of Canada’s most beloved stars of the silver screen. Initial programme descriptions are provided below, with details to follow through the next several months.

“Today’s exciting announcements position Bell Lightbox as the key force in cementing TIFF’s reputation as a global leader in the discovery and understanding of film,” said Piers Handling, Director and CEO of TIFF. “Huge congratulations to the Bell Lightbox programming team. To create and secure gallery exhibitions and retrospectives of this calibre would be impossible without the confidence our partners in Canada and around the world have in the TIFF family, especially the 20-year foundation built by TIFF Cinematheque and The Film Reference Library.”

“The partnerships that allowed these initiatives to happen – with donors, major museums, our government supporters and our incredible audiences – augur well for our ability to create and attract to Toronto the most exciting programming in our field for years to come,” commented Cowan. “We look forward to remaining in constant dialogue with our audience as we continue to build this internationally significant cultural institution; one that celebrates both our Canadian film heritage and the creativity of cinema artists worldwide.”


Beginning in early September 2010, TIFF will present THE ESSENTIAL 100, a film and gallery tribute to the 100 films that represent both the “best” and “most influential” films of all time. The list was created by marrying one 100 film list voted on by over 2,000 stakeholders and another created by TIFF’s expert curatorial team (film lists attached).

TIFF intends to screen the films from the show's opening through December 31, 2010, in multiple combinations and featuring numerous "mini retrospectives" and guest speakers to inspire greater appreciation for the history and culture of cinema. Simultaneously, a major gallery show of objects, props, costumes, storyboards, posters, clips and visual art work related to the Essential 100 will launch in the Bell Lightbox atrium and gallery spaces. Objects will be brought in to Toronto from all over the world and sourced from our own Special Collections, including those donated by David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan and collector Barry Avrich. Collateral events are planned for other nearby locations and a significant publication will accompany the show.

Programming will be activated within Bell Lightbox, on the building’s exterior and in the surrounding neighborhood, turning the corner of King and John Streets into downtown “Film City”. Programming initiatives for youth, visual artwork and special concerts will electrify the city as it celebrates its new home for all things cinematic. Additional details and launch date will follow in early 2010.

“The primary curatorial mission of Bell Lightbox is to reinforce the value of cinema’s history and culture to our contemporary age,” remarked Cowan. “This cross-media, new technology-infused celebration of film’s power to influence every aspect of our world is a great example of how our serious purpose can also be great entertainment.”

The Essential 100 is curated by the Bell Lightbox programming staff, individual credits and key financial support to be announced.


From November 18th, 2010 through April 2011, Bell Lightbox will host TIM BURTON, the major gallery and in-cinema retrospective recently organized by The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. More than 700 items form the core of the show, which traces Burton's development as a major creative force from his earliest drawings and paintings to the sophisticated maquettes, paintings and storyboards he created for some of the world’s most treasured films. A full film retrospective will accompany the show, as well as collateral learning opportunities for all ages.

The exhibition will contemplate Burton's career as a director, producer, writer, and concept artist for live-action and animated films, along with his work as a fiction writer, photographer and illustrator. The exhibition will also feature the development of Burton’s visual imagination from his earliest childhood drawing through his mature work.

“There is no other living filmmaker possessing Tim Burton’s level of accomplishment and reputation whose full body of work has been so well hidden from public view,” said Ron Magliozzi, Assistant Curator, MoMA. “Seeing so much that was previously inaccessible in a museum context should serve to fuel renewed appreciation and fresh appraisal of this much-admired artist.”

Tim Burton is organized by Ron Magliozzi, Assistant Curator, and Jenny He, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film, with Rajendra Roy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film, all Museum of Modern Art, New York. TIFF programming credits and key financial support to be announced.


In January 2011, TIFF will proudly launch the ROB BROOKS MARY PICKFORD COLLECTION, which will be housed in the Canadian Film Heritage Gallery, a recently redesigned facility located in Bell Lightbox with a mandate to provide continued free access to media-related objects of national importance. The show will be on display for six months. Amassed over a 30-year period, this stellar collection of approximately 1,900 items was privately acquired by Toronto area resident Rob Brooks and is generously being donated to TIFF and will be unveiled as part the inaugural programming lineup in Bell Lightbox. The collection celebrates Toronto-born Mary Pickford, an internationally beloved actress. Pickford was a pioneering business woman and controlled a massive fortune from her work in films and from the films produced by United Artists which she co-founded with Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Charlie Chaplin, and D. W. Griffith.

“Thirty years ago, I knew Mary Pickford was Canadian, but did not know she was from Toronto, or how important she was in the history of film,” said Mr. Brooks. “That led to a passion of collecting material on her storied career. It has been my hope, that some day this material would be on public display, and available to students, scholars and the general film fan alike. We should all be proud of what Mary accomplished and I think the Toronto International Film Festival is the right home for this material, to keep her spirit alive for future generations.”

TIFF's Film Reference Library will archive and make accessible the posters, lobby cards, photographs, fan magazines, personal items, promotional materials, glass slides, sheet music and more.

“Rob is a film fan and a Mary Pickford fan whose collecting, over the years, has created possibly the most valuable and rare collection of Pickford memorabilia and production art in the world,” said Hugh Munro Neely, Curator of the Mary Pickford Institute for Film Education in Los Angeles.

“We are thrilled that Rob has generously donated such a significant collection to TIFF for display in our new Canadian Film Heritage Gallery,” said Cowan. “This collection is sure to introduce audiences to a whole new aspect of one of Canada’s best known actresses and reinforces our role as an organization to expose film lovers of all ages to the rich history of Canadian cinema.”

As well, visitors to this year’s Festival will receive a sneak peek of this collection; selected works from the collection which will be on display throughout the Festival (September 10-19) in the Palladian lounge at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre (189 Yonge Street, Toronto).

The Rob Brooks Mary Pickford Collection show is curated by Rob Brooks.

About TIFF

TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. Its vision is to lead the world in creative and cultural discovery through the moving image. TIFF generates an annual economic impact of $135 million CAD and currently employs more than 100 full-time staff and 500 part-time and seasonal staff, and counts upon the largesse of over 2,000 volunteers yearround.

About Bell Lightbox

Bell Lightbox, a breathtaking five-storey complex located in downtown Toronto will provide a permanent home for film lovers celebrating cinema from around the world and will propel TIFF forward as an international leader in film culture. Designed by innovative architecture firm KPMB, Bell Lightbox’s fluid design encourages exploration, movement and play. The campaign to build Bell Lightbox is generously supported by founding sponsor Bell, the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario, The King and John Festival Corporation – consisting of the Reitman family – acclaimed filmmaker Ivan Reitman and his sisters Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels – and The Daniels Corporation, RBC as Major Sponsor and Official Bank, Visa, Copyright Collective of Canada, NBC Universal Canada, The Allan Slaight Family, The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation and CIBC. The Board of Directors, staff and many generous individuals and corporations have also contributed to the campaign. For more information on the Bell Lightbox campaign, visit


For further information:
Jennifer Bell
Vice President, Communications
[email protected]

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