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TIFF releases attendance numbers during pandemic-tailored festival

TORONTO — The Toronto International Film Festival has released attendance figures for last month’s slimmed-down, pandemic-tailored event.

In a statement provided to The Canadian Press, the organization says 48,280 public tickets were scanned for the festival’s mix of online and in-person screenings.

Organizers stress that in a regular year, one ticket represents just one person.

But this year, with the drive-ins and digital home viewing, they note there were often more than two people watching with just one ticket.

Attendance for last year’s regular, in-person event was 307,362.

This year’s 45th edition of the festival ran from Sept. 10-19, adhering to COVID-19 pandemic protocols.

Limited screenings took place at TIFF Bell Lightbox, two drive-ins, an open-air cinema and a public online platform geoblocked to Canada.

A total of about 60 features and 36 shorts screened, which is drastically fewer titles than in a normal year.

Last year’s festival, for instance, had 245 features and 82 shorts.

TIFF organizers and many filmmakers said this year’s online platform helped to make the festival more accessible and opened it up to a wider audience.

Outside of the festival, TIFF will use the digital platform to offer film rentals, talks and interviews.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2020.

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

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