Record-Breaking TUFF Entries

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Toronto Transit Commission commuters will have a chance to see even more short films on subway platform screens this year, with the Toronto Urban Film Festival, known as TUFF, having received a record breaking number of entries.

When the streets of Toronto are engulfed in what most city-dwellers refer to as TIFF’s festival fever, (ie. the 35th Toronto International Film Festival) so will the underground tunnels of the TTC with TUFF playing on hundreds of Onestop’s digital displays on the subway platforms. Helping the record breaking number of entries are more than double the International submissions than last year.

TUFF is an award winning event, and the only true ‘underground’ festival in North America, reaching an audience of over 1 million daily commuters on Onestop’s TTC network of digital displays on subway platforms across Toronto.

TUFF producers are anticipating a fierce competition and an exciting season full of entertainment for TTC commuters and its online fans.

Sharon Switzer, director of TUFF says, “IIt is very exciting to be able to add powerful and beautiful gems from film and video artists in 25 diverse countries to the abundance of local talent that we showcase at TUFF. It looks like this will be our strongest year yet.”

TUFF received 355 submissions this year from 25 countries, including Canada – a 43% increase from 2009 and a 118% increase in international submissions.

TUFF is a unique festival that requires no tickets, no line-ups, and is fused into the daily commute of TTC riders.

“TUFF gets ‘shared’ far beyond the subway platform because of its digital nature.” says Michael Girgis, CEO and president, Onestop Media Group. “We are excited to see and share new TUFF films with the community and encourage fans to visit the new mobile compatible website, search the new film library, leave a comment, vote for the best, join our Twitter and Facebook groups, and so much more.”

Since its launch in 2007, the festival has grown in both size and stature, currently featuring 80 ultra-short films and over $15,000 in cash and prizes. Deepa Mehta, whose dazzling film trilogy, Fire, Earth, Water, captivated audiences worldwide, will be this year’s TUFF guest judge.

TUFF is co-produced by Onestop Media Group and Art for Commuters, and funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. TUFF features seven different urban-themed categories of one-minute silent films, running every 10 minutes from September 10 – 19, 2010. This year, TUFF will include more specially designated screening areas called “TUFF Film Zones” at select downtown stations, where the festival will screen nonstop for 10 days.

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