Film is at the core of the cultural work created and presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto (located at a 5-minute walk from the Toronto International Film Festival building). Screenings and film talks form a large part of the Goethe-Institut Toronto’s own initiatives, as does the annual free European Union Film Festival and countless co-presentations and collaborations with Canadian festivals, universities, micro-cinemas, and other exhibitors. Many of these projects are enhanced and contextualized via the institute’s German Film @ Canada blog, which includes original writing and interview. Film and media art is also being presented as gallery-based exhibitions in the Goethe-Institut’s own Goethe Media Space , which showcases research and archival projects (such as a collection of Weimar-era posters “Projecting Women” or material from Wim Wenders’ personal archive), and expands the idea of the moving image itself, most recently in a group show dedicated to transmediating stories in VR, AR and gif art.
The Goethe-Institut Toronto’s flagship project is GOETHE FILMS @ TIFF Bell Lightbox, which presents film and video all year long as part of curated programs which highlight contemporary and historical work by German directors and producers. Recent clusters have included focuses on seminal directors Ulrike Ottinger and Christoph Schlingensief, with films frequently contextualized by unusual guest speakers or artists like Barbara Sukowa. Thematic retrospectives have focused on documentary highlights from the iconic DOK Leipzig Film Festival and the productions of Tom Tykwer’s One Fine Day Films, which supports independent storytelling by African auteurs, with the series presented in partnership with the Toronto Black Film Festival.
As Toronto is one of the most vibrant hubs for film culture in North America, in addition to its original programming, the Goethe-Institut Toronto proudly collaborates with a diverse group of partners to host exceptional screenings of work by German artists and filmmakers or with thematic connections to Germany.
Among many others, the Goethe-Institut Toronto frequently works with some of Toronto’s most important film festivals, including TIFF, Hot Docs, Images Festival, Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival, and Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival. Other collaborations have taken place with regular screening series, like the annual Toronto Outdoor Picture Show, documentary series Vertical Features, and nomadic micro-cinema Pleasure Dome.
Several collaborations are emphasizing diverse diasporic communities around the world, as well as the richness of historical and contemporary co-productions, with the institute co-presenting short, docs, animations and feature films as part of festivals as diverse as the Reel Asian International Film Festival, the Italian Contemporary Film Festival Toronto, and the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. Past highlights includes Seung-Hyun Chong's Steh Auf, a rich portrait of a German-born boy of Korean descent presented as part of the Toronto Korean Film Festival, and acclaimed co-production The Boda Boda Thieves, presented in partnership with the Toronto Black Film Festival.
Goethe is a champion of Canadian-German connections and collaborations, and there have been special occasions that have permitted the opportunity to take screens outside the cinema. In 2017, through a remarkable commission to A Wall is a Screen, the Hamburg-based collective screened global Indigenous-made films as part of an unforgettable night at the ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, transforming the Toronto urban landscape with Indigenous moving images, which has led to multiple long-term partnerships. It was a joint community-building event that left audiences wanting more (and more is to come!). “Our partnership with Goethe is a special one, and they have consistently gone above and beyond in their support to ensure the links between Germany and Canada – including Indigenous Canada – remain vital, innovate and strong,” says Jason Ryle, former Artistic Director of imagineNATIVE. “Goethe is an essential link to German networks and a friendly face that guides you across a cultural bridge.”
The Goethe-Institut Toronto has a track record of bringing cinema to the city’s public spaces through collaborations with the Toronto Outdoor Picture Show (formerly the Christie Pits Film Festival). "The Goethe-Institut Toronto has been a great and enthusiastic collaborator over the past few years, supporting our various public programming initiatives, from live-score productions by local band Del Bel of silent classicNosferatu, to free outdoor screenings of Bob Fosse'sCabaret as part of our Cinematic Cities focus and Wanuri Kahiu's Rafiki as part of our Dynamic Duos series, encouraging us to share with the general public a wide range of depictions of German culture and artistic collaboration," says TOPS Festival Director Emily Reid.
“The Goethe-Institut Toronto continues to foster an enviable commitment to film culture in Toronto,” notes Scott Miller Berry, Managing Director of the Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival. “At RVMM we're grateful for the 2018 support of guest directors Gerd Kroske and Paul Poet and to have had them here for a week of conversations and presentations; on a deeper level we feel lucky that the Goethe plays such an important role in our city's active film ecology. “
The Goethe has also supported specialty programming at a number of Toronto and Canada’s key cultural institutions, and such collaborations have taken place across the country, including screenings of European shorts in partnership with the Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver and the Winnipeg Cinematheque as well as programming support for Edmonton’s Institute for Innovation in Second Language Education or curations for the Waterloo Centre for German Studies.
As Germany continues to produce sterling work in the realms of film and video, it remains the Goethe-Institut Toronto mission to share it, in collaboration with its diverse industry partners, with audiences across Canada, through programs, presentations, and conversations that are entertaining, informative, and passionate.
Selected past presenting partners include:
· AluCine Latin Film + Media Arts Festival
· Canadian Sports Film Festival
· European Union Film Festival Toronto
· German Films
· Hot Docs Cinema
· Hot Docs Film Festival
· Images Festival
· ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival
· International Disapora Film Festival
· Inside Out Film Festival
· Institute for Innovation in Second Language Education Edmonton
· Italian Contemporary Film Festival
· Nuit Blanche Toronto
· Paradise Cinema
· Planet in Focus Film Festival
· Princess Cinemas Waterloo
· Reel Abilities
· Reel Artists Film Festival
· Reel Asian International Film Festival
· Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival
· Revue CinemaToronto Animated Arts Film Festival
· Toronto Black Film Festival
· Toronto International Deaf Film & Arts Festival
· Toronto Japanese Film Festival
· Toronto Jewish Film Festival
· Toronto Korean Film Festival
· Toronto Outdoor Picture Show (formerly Christie Pits Film Festival)
· Toronto Silent Film Festival
· University of Toronto
· Vancouver Latin American Film Festival
· Vertical Features Screening Series
· Visible Evidence
· Waterloo Centre for German Studies