All the tears and snot that will surely be flying during screenings of Francis Lee’s Ammonite should be reason enough to require masks in theaters at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. But the festival — which is going forward with in-person screenings along with virtual ones — will allow attendees to “remove their masks once they are sitting in their assigned in-cinema seats.” TIFF’s safety policy is much more lax than those of major American cinema chains, which require masks in seats, as well as other festivals, including Venice. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Toronto organizers insist they’re strictly following the advice of public health experts, which limits the Bell Lightbox venue to 50 socially distanced patrons per screen, among other safety precautions.” Even though masks are required when “moving through TIFF Bell Lightbox,” the option to take one’s mask off in the screening has raised concerns from regular TIFF attendees. The Hollywood Reporter quotes Ryerson University’s Ramona Pringle, who says, “’Unfortunately, I fear we’ve tumbled into this situation where you could have one of those superspreader events.’” If it could happen at the Brass Rail, it could happen at the Bell Lightbox.
Miffed, more like! Photo: Brian de Rivera Simon/Getty Images