Meet Toronto International Film Festival, a 46-year-old charity that delivered 60 events in 10 days with Hopin

Meet Toronto International Film Festival, a 46-year-old charity that delivered 60 events in 10 days with Hopin
PLANNING A NEW KIND OF EVENT

Celebrating the transformative power of film

Launched in 1976, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is the largest public film festival in North America, with year-round programming and a flagship annual festival every September. Their success is rooted in their charitable mission, which is to transform the way people see the world through film.

In 2021, the festival decided to break down geological barriers and add a virtual experience for its attendees for the first time. 

Their virtual ambitions needed the right technology to match. Instead of offering virtual festival goers a video stream of fireside chats and panels with high-profile industry leaders and celebrities, TIFF wanted them to feel like they were active participants and part of the festival’s vibrant community.  

"If there was a hill that I was going to die on, it was the choice to use Hopin, because I could see the vision of what it would look like once we got to the finish line really early on." –Brittney Filek-Gibson, Senior Manager of Implementation, Toronto International Film Festival

"We really did look at Hopin as a venue, as part of a larger footprint. And we felt we were really successful in integrating it into that footprint and making it feel like a cohesive part of our festival overall."

Brittney Filek-Gibson
Senior Manager of Implementation, Toronto International Film Festival
IT’S SHOWTIME

A star-studded festival for film lovers 

TIFF’s program of talks boasted Hollywood stars like Kenneth Brannagh and Benedict Cumberbatch. Actor Kristen Stewart took part in an ‘In Conversation With’ event, to discuss her experience starring in Spencer as well as her body of work to date. Panel discussions explored important film trends and issues, key pieces of work from the year, and celebrated the careers of figures within film.

Across all these different events, virtual attendees used Hopin to submit questions and engage with speakers via the event chat. TIFF moderators monitored the conversations and even posed playful challenges to boost interaction — like asking attendees to share an emoji that represents their favorite Benedict Cumberbatch film.

And with the help of Hopin’s in-event analytics, the events team monitored the engagement and interaction of every talk and film screening to deliver the festival experience TIFF is known for to their virtual attendees.

TIFF’s events team also made it easy for virtual attendees to find their way around the festival’s virtual venue thanks to Hopin’s automated emails and event-wide notifications that announced upcoming sessions. 

"Hopin provided a unique opportunity [to engage with] audiences, because our biggest cinema on-site, where we usually host these conversations, is 500 people. Through Hopin, we were able to reach a much wider audience." –Brittney Filek-Gibson, Senior Manager of Implementation, Toronto International Film Festival
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The Hopin features that made Toronto International Film Festival a success

  • Event stages: TIFF delivered high profile, high production value talks on Hopin’s event stages, inviting industry stars as well as up and coming talent to bring attendees inside the world of film.
  • Networking: Attendees used Hopin’s one-on-one and group video networking to connect — recreating the serendipitous interactions in-person attendees experience while waiting in line for sessions and screenings.
  • Sessions: Smaller breakout sessions gave attendees one-on-one face time with talent, and a chance to enjoy more intimate panel conversations away from the main stage.
  • Expo area: Long-standing TIFF partners and sponsors used their booths in the expo area to share content and promo codes with attendees. TIFF also used this space to share its internal membership and philanthropy initiatives.
  • App integrations: Virtual attendees customized their backdrops and photos using Hopin’s Snapbar integration to create more playful moments to the festival. Syncwords provided closed captioning to all talks, making TIFF more accessible to a wider audience.
  • StreamYard: TIFF quickly added branded overlays, backgrounds, and lower thirds into the festival’s live stream, creating a high quality and consistent look across all its event experiences.

"We had great feedback from our talent and guests about what the experience of getting backstage and interacting with us looked like from the front-end audience standpoint."

Brittney Filek-Gibson
Senior Manager of Implementation, Toronto International Film Festival
HOW IT TURNED OUT

A new global reach for Toronto International Film Festival

After the curtains closed, TIFF had delivered its program of 60 events to over 5,000 virtual attendees from around the world. And thanks to Hopin’s reporting, the festival gained a deeper understanding of its attendees that will inform future decisions.

"We really appreciated all of the level of detail that we were able to get from our Hopin reporting, especially as we consider where we might want to engage focus groups or key stakeholders to look at what could be an effective model moving forward." –Brittney Filek-Gibson, Senior Manager of Implementation, Toronto International Film Festival

The positive feedback from internal and external stakeholders also ensured that future festivals will embrace virtual, and the TIFF team are excited to explore the possibilities of hybrid events moving forward.

60

Events

10

Days of festival content

5,000+

Attendees

"We had a great experience working with Hopin, we believe in the platform, and in the value that it can provide to us. We will be continuing to look for opportunities to engage and deliver events digitally using Hopin, and continuing to iterate on what a digital event could look like in our industry."

Brittney Filek-Gibson
Senior Manager of Implementation, Toronto International Film Festival

Lots of virtual audience buzz

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