TIFF to unveil New Viola Desmond Cinema

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) unveiled the New Viola Desmond Cinema on November 8, 2023, to honor civil rights advocates and entrepreneurs.


The newly christened Viola Desmond Cinema at TIFF Bell Lightbox will host its inaugural screening with a special presentation of Ava DuVernay’s acclaimed film Origin, Cameron Bailey, TIFF CEO, announced on October 25.

Besides investigating the global phenomenon of caste and its dark influence on society, Origin showcases how a journalist faces profound loss and uncovers the beauty of love and human resilience.

Starring Academy Award nominee Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor (“King Richard”), OriginOrigin made its North American Premiere during TIFF 2023 and Inspired by the New York Times best-seller “Caste” and explores the mystery of history, the wonders of romance and a fight for our future. 

Inspired by Viola Desmond’s historic stand for her rights on the first floor of a Nova Scotia movie theatre in 1946, TIFF’s 2023 focus centers on the crucial concept of “Taking Up Space,” particularly emphasizing empowering Black women.

Joining forces with the Nia Centre for the Arts, TIFF presents a compelling public exhibition titled Here To Stay at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, which will reportedly  be on display from November 8 to December 10,

Also featuring in the Viola Desmond Day 2023 will be the official unveiling of the Viola Desmond Cinema plaque in the presence of members of Viola and Wanda’s family.

The cinema introduced two dedicated seats, each bearing the name of one of the sisters, in 2022.

TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey announced during the inaugural event in 2022 the commitment to name TIFF Bell Lightbox’s largest cinema, the Viola Desmond Cinema, alongside a $2 million fundraising campaign to champion Black women creators via TIFF’s Every Story fund.

This year, TIFF is proud to announce a lead gift from NBC Universal as the presenting partner of the Viola Desmond Cinema campaign’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in film as a founding fund partner of Every Story.