PRESS: The Toronto Star – Choir! Choir! Choir! on the tiff MainStage

Photographs by Malcolm@TIFF, Brendan Kergin, and ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE

"While big-name stars will fill the screens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this week, there will be plenty of action on the street out front.

As part of a new Toronto International Film Festival initiative, five blocks of King St. W. will transform this weekend into an outdoor TIFF playground, complete with a giant chessboard, nightly performances and a scavenger hunt.

“If you took all the best elements of every street festival you’ve ever been to, that’s ‘Festival Street’ right there,” said the Street’s organizer and “pedestrian in chief” Nobu Adilman.

Festival Street, which stretches from University Ave. W. to Peter St., will be car-free Thursday through Sunday. And to any Torontonians feeling disenfranchised by the star-studded glamour of the event itself, Adilman has a message: “We know this big festival is a bit of a monster,” he said with a laugh. “It takes over the city, but really this festival is for you.”

Near Peter St., a stage still being built Wednesday afternoon will feature a range of artists: everyone from local teen poet Mustafa Ahmed to musician Maylee Todd and Canadian indie rock band The Dears.

On Sunday, in special collaboration with the National Film Board, avant-garde pop group Absolutely Free will perform original scores in a live screening of animation pioneer Norman McLaren’s short films.

Elsewhere on the street, there will be space to roam, pop-up performances, extended patios and art installations of all sizes.

“We want to expand the festival’s vibe to the street,” said Adilman, a co-founder of Toronto’s Choir! Choir! Choir!, which will perform on Festival Street on Saturday…."

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