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Cinematheque offers an ambitious selection of screenings

Cinematheque Ontario, one of five divisions of the Toronto International Film Festival Group, is a year-round screening programme dedicated to presenting the history of world cinema on the big screen in carefully curated retrospectives.

From mid-October to mid-August, the Cinematheque offers an ambitious selection of approximately 395 screenings in one of the city's finest cinema facilities, Jackman Hall in the Art Gallery of Ontario. Programmes include director retrospectives, special guest appearances, national and regional cinema spotlights, and thematic series. Cinematheque Ontario is membership-driven and relies on support from individuals, foundations, corporations, and all levels of government funding to maintain its high standard of excellence. Each year tickets are sold for a diverse selection of classic and contemporary films showcasing Canadian and international cinema, including archival material and many new prints.

Cinematheque Ontario has enjoyed spectacular growth since its inception in 1990. From a total of 700 memberships and more than 4000 tickets sold in 1991, Cinematheque membership has risen to over 2,700 memberships and 55,800 individual tickets sold in 2001 - an increase of over 270% in memberships and over 1,318% in individual ticket sales!

In its sixteen-year-history, Cinematheque Ontario has spotlighted filmmakers from Aki Kaurismäki to Agnes Varda, from Nicholas Ray to Satyajit Ray, and programmed thematic series on such topics as martial arts films, opera as cinema, and Dante and the cinema. Canadian filmmakers such as Larry Kent, Guy Maddin, and Michael Snow have been featured, and extensive retrospectives of great Hollywood directors such as Budd Boetticher and Leo McCarey have been mounted. Since Fall 2001, we have shown films from close to 40 countries. The ongoing free series The Free Screen features the works of a wide range of independent film and video artists, such as Jonas Mekas and the late Stan Brakhage, as well as offering many personal appearances by leading artists.
Cinematheque Ontario has helped find audiences where many believed none existed. In 1992, it launched Peter Cohen's THE ARCHITECTURE OF DOOM, which eventually became one of that year's most successful small market releases. In 1993, Cinematheque Ontario premiered Atom Egoyan's CALENDAR, which went on to become Egoyan's most successful film prior to EXOTICA. In 1997, Cinematheque Ontario and Mongrel Media collaborated on the release of Mohsen Makhmalbaf's GABBEH, helping to make it the most successful Iranian film ever released in Canada. The Cinematheque's recent series, Best of the Nineties, helped to finally secure North American distribution for Victor Erice's luminous DREAM OF LIGHT. In the Spring 2001, Speak Memory: Proust on Film series, five screenings of Raul Ruiz's TIME REGAINED completely sold out. The film was subsequently picked up for distribution and chosen for many Ten Best Films lists, including critics' polls from the Village Voice and Film Comment. More recent examples include the success of Aleksandr Sokorov’s RUSSIAN ARK, ZhangKe Jia’s THE WORLD and Michelangelo Antonioni’s THE PASSENGER, all of which have screened at Cinematheque Ontario. In the spring of 2006, Hou Hsiou-hsien’s THREE TIMES enjoyed amazing success at Cinematheque Ontario, and as a result received major theatrical distribution.

Cinematheque Ontario has organized and executed several international tours, including retrospectives on Robert Bresson, Kon Ichikawa, Shohei Imamura, Kenji Mizoguchi, Joyce Wieland and Mikio Naruse. We also regularly undertake programming partnerships with organizations such as the British Film Institute (London), Harvard Film Archive (Cambridge), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley), Pacific Cinematheque (Vancouver) and UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Since 1997, Cinematheque Ontario has produced publications to accompany our international touring projects, which have traveled to many prestigious venues in North America, Europe, and Asia. Titles include Robert Bresson, Kon Ichikawa, Shohei Imamura, and The Films of Joyce Wieland. The Films of Jack Chambers monograph was not attached to an accompanying film tour. Three of these monographs were edited by Cinematheque Ontario Senior Programmer James Quandt.

In 1995, Senior Programmer James Quandt was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government for contributions to French cinema. Quandt received a Special Citation from the National Society of Film Critics in 1999 for his work on the Bresson tour, and for the standards set by his writing in Cinematheque Ontario's Programme Guide. In 2001, he was honoured by the Toronto Film Critics' Association with the Clyde Gilmour Award. In 2004, Quandt was awarded the prestigious Special Prize for Arts and Culture from The Japan Foundation for his outstanding contribution to international cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and other countries.