Toronto After Dark Film Festival starts 12th year


The Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF) is an annual horror, sci-fi, cult and action movie film festival.

This year will have 20 feature films and 29 shorts. The festival runs from Oct. 12 to 20 at the Scotiabank Theater in Toronto.

Christian Burgess is the programming manager and is involved with the marketing for the festival. Burgess started assisting the founder of TADFF in 2008.

“I worked for a company that sponsored TAD in its first year, and attended because I enjoy those types of films. Outside of TIFF’s Midnight Madness program, there wasn’t another festival that screened “genre” films until TAD was born,” Burgess said.

This is the festival’s 12th year.

TADFF 2017 promo poster. (Photo from TADFF website)

“Every year our passionate team of staff and volunteers manage to showcase 19 feature films, and 29 short films to a rabid, fan-base that have also been coming for 12 years. They’ve seen the festival grow,” Burgess said. “Besides, there’s nothing quite like sitting with an audience of 500 people all there to collectively share the experience of seeing the latest genre film on the big screen, as they should be seen, to me, that’s important.”

“You simply cannot replicate that experience at home,” he added.

Although the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the biggest film festivals in the world, TADFF stands out because of the types of films shown.

“Every year TAD strives to do what we do best and what works for us. TAD is first and foremost, a fan-driven film festival. Our audience is important to us, so there’s this sense of camaraderie with them as I see familiar faces, and new ones, every year,” Burgess explained.

TADFF T-shirt design. (Photo from TADFF website)

Unlike TIFF, TADFF doesn’t have any government funding or corporate sponsorships.

“We have also remained fiercely independent, which to be honest, can make it difficult as you know, there’s a cost associated with planning any event. So, there’s something appealing about attending a festival where the focus is the films, the filmmakers and the audience, who aren’t drowned out or bombarded by corporate advertising and a presence,” Burgess said.

TADFF relies on volunteers to make the festival happen. Kevin Cormier has been volunteering at TADFF for seven years.

“As a fan of genre films, I had read online about the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, and was amazed at the large array of films they presented that I was very interested to see. Many of the films shown, rarely get a mainstream release, so the only way to see them on the big screen is with Film Festivals such as this. Since then I have never missed a year volunteering for it,” Cormier said.

He says volunteering for TADFF has been a great experience.

“The best part about volunteering for TADFF is the people that I meet from all walks of life that come together for the common love of these kinds of films. [I] have made many new friends, whether they be fellow volunteers, staff and regular film goers that come back year after year. It’s become somewhat of a second family,” Cormier said.

Any fan of genre films should check TADFF.

“TADFF is run by incredibly passionate people whose love of genre films is evident with the hard work that is put in by the staff and programmers to put on not just a film festival, but a genre film event not to be missed,” Cormier said.

“It’s that kind of atmosphere that makes me want to do all I can to help to make it a continued success,” he added.

TADFF will be showing films from the serial killer thriller My Friend Dahmer to the seventh Child’s Play movie Cult of Chucky.