26th Toronto International Film Festival Coverage

The 26th Toronto International Film Festival was held from September 6th to the 15th, 2001. The DigitalHit team covered the annual event from the early mornings to the late nights.

Sadly, the Festival was cut in half by the tragic events of September 11th. We had literally covered five days and our first press event on Day 6, the 11th, wasn’t until late in the afternoon. Our decision to sleep in was interrupted by a phone call. “Turn on the TV!”

With images of destruction washing over the television we were too stunned to do much except watch. We checked the Festival web site a few hours later and learned that all the screenings had been canceled that day and a press conference would be held the next morning.

The press floor at the Toronto Hyatt was packed the next day as we waited for the press conference. Reporters from all continents crowded around the television in the Press Office to watch the latest from the CBC and CNN. Finally, we headed over to the press conference.

A festival is supposed to be a joyous occasion, but the events of the 11th had knocked the wind out of everybody. The Festival organizers decided to go ahead with the screenings as the films might be able to provide some relief from the constant stream of bad news. They decided, however, to cancel the “festive” elements: the parties and the red carpets. Filmmakers could go ahead with press conferences if they wanted to. Many were canceled.

It’s our belief, and most of our friends in the press pool agreed, that the Festival did the right thing.