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Toronto Urban Film Festival returns to subway platforms for 7th year

Don’t forget the popcorn on your way to work.

The Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF) will make its way to TTC platforms across the city starting Friday.

More than 80 silent, one-minute films from across the globe will play at Bloor, Dundas and St. Andrew subway stations uninterrupted during the 11-day festival. TUFF will also play the films every 10 minutes on 290 TTC subway platform screens.

Organizer Sharon Switzer says there is something for everyone at this year’s festival.

“[There’s] a real range of stories that are going on. Some are more challenging — you have to think about it — a little more artistic. Some are instantly accessible for kids,” she said.

“There’s a lot of really interesting stuff.”

A TUFF spotlight on experimental Canadian filmmaker, Christina Battle, and a feature called For the Love of Animation are just two in a series of programs the festival will host.

Some of the submissions are a bit too risque to be screened in public.

“We get submissions from all around the world, and not everything ends up being appropriate for screening in such a public place like the TTC,” Switzer said.

“So, we’ve created a little section called ‘Too TUFF for the TTC’ that we only screen on our website.”

The filmmakers were given strict criteria to keep the submissions to one minute and without any dialogue.

Filmmaker Elene Mekete admitted adhering to those restrictions was quite a challenge.

“It’s a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. It’s hard because you want to get a story in there, but at the same time you don’t want to seem too rushed. And you don’t want to lose your audience either. It was a little bit tricky, but at the same time, I thought it was fun,” she said.

TUFF — in its seventh year — is the largest commuter film festival in North America with 1.3 million viewers daily.

The festival runs until Sept. 16.

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