TIFF Picture Palace Exhibit Brings the Making of Cinema to Life

The TIFF Picture Palace exhibit explores how movies are actually made behind-the-scenes and the origins of the moving picture as it relates to our current technology.

TIFF Picture Palace is the brand new interactive exhibit at TIFF Bell Lightbox, created by TIFF-appointed curators and local film professionals including production designers Marian Wihak and Arv Greywal, set designer Ashley James, and retired cinematographer Bert Dunk ASC, CSC.

At one time TIFF Bell Lightbox was home to more than just the Toronto International Film Festival but also the best film exhibitions that came to Toronto if not all of Canada. These exhibits dedicated to the likes of Stanley Kubrick, James Bond, Tim Burton, and David Cronenberg were the stuff dreams are made of- exhibits where you could get a real taste and feel for how the very best filmmakers were inspired to create their masterpieces.

Sadly these exhibits proved too costly, and they were understandably discontinued. TIFF then created a smaller annual exhibit entitled digiPlaySpace- a playful exhibit for children to understand digital space.

Now with TIFF Picture Palace, the evolution of digiPlaySpace, they open a window for people of all ages to understand the joys of filmmaking and the processes behind the making of your favourite films and television shows.

The interactive nature of this exhibit allows for the exploration of filmmaking to be ‘Instagram-rich’ which is a growing trend around the city with other exhibits and installations like the AGO’s Yayoi Kusama exhibit, Happy Place, and the Museum of Illusions creating fun and colourful photo opportunities. It’s a bit meta when you think about it- an exhibit about the making of moving pictures encouraging and creating opportunities for the making of more moving images.

TIFF Picture Palace focuses on three critical aspects of movie making: Camera, lighting, and sound. I do wish they had also put an emphasis on production design and costume design, but it may have muddied the waters. Keeping it paired back to these three categories allows the novice to explore these easily understood concepts in fun and exciting ways.

I do like the subtle nod to the history of production design with their premiere photo opportunity set outside the exhibit showcasing the oft-used technique of forced perspective. So at least there’s that.

After exiting this exhibit, I can say I’ve operated a camera while moving on a dolly track which I’d never done before. I now also understand the difficulties of sound mixing. Sound mixers have so many choices, and each can drastically change what you pay attention to in any scene of a film. The more you know, the more you’ll respect the craft.


What to Expect

TIFF Picture Palace- Forced Perspective Buildings

TIFF Picture Palace | Forced Perspective Set | Production Designer: Marian Wihak

Click Photo to Enlarge:

TIFF Picture Palace Trailer


The exhibit runs from March 2 through to July 28 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Visit TIFF Picture Palace online for more details.

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Posted by Rose Lagacé

Rose Lagacé is a production designer for film & television by day and an emerging filmmaker by night. Rose is also the creator and editor of Art Departmental where she celebrates the art and craft of production design.

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