It has been said that in real estate, the three most important words are “location, location location.” It’s thus safe to assume that the decision to put TIFF Bell Lightbox at the corner of King and John streets was not made lightly.
Speaking to a group of journalists gathered on the building’s sixth-story rooftop recently, the Lightbox’s artistic director, Noah Cowan, points out that the $196-million facility — which opens its doors on Sunday with a Toronto International Film Festival screening of Bruce McDonald’s new rock drama Trigger — sits in close proximity to many of the city’s most happening spots.
“This is the downtown hub,” he says, gesturing westward on King towards the club district and then south in the direction of the CN Tower. “We’re right where the action is.”
Of course, the most important action at Lightbox is going to be onscreen, and the premises are nicely tricked-out for those purposes. In addition to the multimedia gallery spaces on the first floor, the Lightbox houses five state-of-the-art cinemas, the largest of which is equipped for 70-mm projection.
Cowan admits that the large-scale screening possibilities are tantalizing, but he’s more interested in discussing how a couple of the smaller cinemas on the third level — which has been dubbed the “learning floor” — will be utilized. One plan is to use the facilities to host events held by the city’s various cinema studies programs.
“There’s never been this kind of shared space in Toronto, where students from different faculties can get together and just exchange ideas,” says Cowan, “and we think that’s really exciting.”