You know how there are some events that you know are going to be a smash hit? And then there are those underdogs that take you by a very pleasant surprise? OLG TIFF On Tour was somewhere in between. We knew the event would be good, we just didn’t expect it to be THIS good.
ICYMI, Ontario Lottery and Gaming, or OLG took the Toronto International Film Festival on tour to three Ontario communities— North Bay, Campbellford and Windsor. As part of the series, OLG hosted premieres of North of Normal, a Canadian film, in the said communities.
We witnessed TIFF in Windsor. And we are here to share with you what exactly happened at the event.
Consider this a complete guide to all the Whys, Wheres and Hows!
The big WHY
The first thing that came to our mind when we heard of TIFF on Tour was why would anyone want to take the fest out of TO. Turns out, to further share this amazing experience with those outside of the city.
“OLG is all about telling stories and giving back to communities. All of our profits go back to the province of Ontario, to all these communities. We always wanted to engage people, engage our customers and share these stories with them,” says Tony Bitonti, Director of Media Relations at OLG (and a fun storyteller himself BTW).
And so, they chose a film that received great appreciation at TIFF. But there was more behind the film choice. As Tony (we checked, he’s okay with us calling him that) explains, “This is a Canadian movie by a Toronto director. Plus, it was shot in Ontario which made sense since OLG is an ON-based corporation, we’re a government agency. Why not promote a film that was shot in Ontario’s backyards, in communities where we have our facilities? And the actors are from here too.”
As unique as the series is, it isn’t surprising that something like this would come out of OLG. They are, after all, a community-focused agency.
The fabulous WHERE
Ah! This was one of our fave parts of the night— the beautifully historic venue. Given that the event itself was this epic, it needed a venue just as iconic. And so, Windsor Capitol Theatre with a 102-year history of cultural excellence was picked out.
“This is an iconic theatre. It’s 102 years old. We wanted to share the TIFF experience with the Windsor community, but we also wanted to highlight [the theatre] with a special event,” quips Tony.
What added to the venue’s charm was the glam red carpet, which sure saw a fancy turnout.
As Bitonti put it, “People are coming here, they are getting a red-carpet treatment, they get the lights, they get asked the questions and they get to dress up. We’ve had people dress up in tuxedos, evening gowns, the gamut of everyone. So, it’s been wonderful.”
The old-world charm of the theatre coupled with the fancy red carpet definitely elevated the movie-going experience. As did the complimentary popcorn and drinks.
The wonderful HOW
Okay, so the film was great, the venue was regal, and the planning and execution were impeccable. But what really makes for a successful event is how the audience receives it. And from what we saw, TIFF On Tour received a pretty warm reception.
The theatre was packed despite it being a free event.
“If people buy tickets, they are more invested and they want to come. But these are free tickets. And at all our events, I’d say at least 99% of the people have shown up. That really does say something about the event itself. And also, about the excitement for people to get out and experience this stuff,” added Tony.
Well folks, that was how OLG TIFF On Tour concluded… on a high note. But can we expect more such events from OLG in the future? Bitonti promises, “We always want to bring special experiences to the people of Ontario.”
And we, for one, are looking forward to them!