TTC misery alleviated (kind of) by nifty urban film fest

Anything that lessens the agony of Toronto’s subway system at rush hour – alleviating the flat-out anguish inflicted by assorted seat-hogging, loud-talking, grease-eating doorway blockers - is aces in our books.

So we welcome the news that the fifth annual Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF) – which brings various silent, one-minute films by filmmakers to 300 subway platform screens in 60 subway stations across Toronto – will once again be running from September 9 to 18, not coincidentally complementing another festival you may have heard of called TIFF.
Unique in North America, this groovy public film festival reaches an estimated 1.3 million daily TTC riders (all wearing gargantuan backpacks, it often seems), bringing them urban-themed films from across Canada and around the world.

Cool huh? There is also a contest component; this year’s celebrity judge is homegrown director Atom Egoyan (Exotica, Chloe, Sweet Hereafter etc etc and pictured above), who will select the top three films of the festival as well as the winner of something called the “Naish McHugh Award,” an annual cash award from the City of Toronto to an emerging GTA filmmaker.

TUFF showcases all genres of film, video and animation from both professional and emerging filmmakers; the deadline for submissions was last month. Several films from last year are posted at the TUFF site and augur well for the overall quality and imagination of the entries.

So when going about your daily TTC zombie march September 9 to 18, keep your eyes on the screens for visual delights other than weather stats and grim bus diversion notices.

And for the love of Pete please remove your backpack from your back and carry it; your fellow commuters are weary of being pummeled and pushed around by your bulging sack of books. And if there is deodorant in your bathroom cabinet at home, kindly apply it before leaving the house.