Toronto Outdoor Picture Show to host free film festival in Fort York

The outdoor screening series will celebrate 10 years over 10 nights beginning on August 21

Watching movies in public parks has become a tradition in recent years thanks to the Toronto Outdoor Picture Show.

However, organizers behind the screening series postponed their 10th-anniversary season – including the Christie Pits Film Festival – when COVID-19 lockdown measures began in March. Now that Toronto is in stage 3, outdoor movies are back.

Toronto Outdoor Picture Show is hosting a 10-day open-air film festival at Fort York National Historic Site from August 21-30.

As per the provincial guidelines for outdoor gatherings in stage 3, the event will have a capacity of 100 people. Patrons can book free tickets online in advance starting August 3. (Find out more about safety protocols here.)

To mark 10 years of TOPS, the festival will screen 10 memorable films from summers past alongside 10 Canadian short films.

The program kicks off with a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1954 mystery thriller Rear Window starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. The screening will also feature the premiere of two TOPS-funded short films: The Women’s Hour, a collaboration between The Templeton Philharmonic (aka comedy duo Briana Templeton and Gwynne Phillips) and director Allison Johnston, and director Trevor Anderson’s Tips Are Appreciated.

Residents in nearby condos preferring to watch from their windows or balconies can tune in to all 10 movies via a digital audio stream.

Other movies playing in the festival include Penny Marshall’s 80s comedy Big; a marathon screening of Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy; Wanuri Kahiu’s queer drama Rafiki; Spike Lee’s breakthrough film Do The Right Thing; Ridley Scott’s influential 90s hit Thelma & Louise; and the silent film classic Nosferatu, with a recording of a live score by musicians Del Bel.

During the pandemic, local cinemas and festivals have pivoted to VOD rentals and drive-ins. If you want a big-screen experience and don’t have access to a car or are still too nervous to attend an indoor movie, this festival is your best bet.

“Our programming has always served urban residents primarily, who attend our screenings on foot or by bike, and we’re thrilled to be able to continue this tradition,” said Emily Reid, TOPS artistic and executive director, in a statement.


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