TIFF Bell Lightbox to Offer Tim Burton Exhibition and Retrospective

     October 5, 2010


Tim Burton fans in the Toronto area have cause to celebrate and rejoice.  TIFF Bell Lightbox will be offering a major exhibition and retrospective on the director’s work.  The exhibition will hundreds of pieces of Burton’s artwork going back as far to work he did as a teenager.  There will be more than 700 items including paintings, drawings, puppets, costumes, storyboards, and maquettes from Burton’s personal vault, studio archives, and private collections.  There will also be an “extensive film retrospective spanning Burton’s 27-year career, including his early shorts and a related series of films that influenced, inspired and intrigued him as a filmmaker, will run parallel to the exhibition.”

Hit the jump to check out the full press release.  The exhibition will run from November 26, 2010 until April 17, 2011.  Tickets go on sale October 26th.

tim_burton_drawing_01Here’s the press release:



Hundreds of artworks and Burton’s cinematic oeuvre on screen offer a unique look inside the mind of one of the most influential artists of our time

Toronto – Noah Cowan, Artistic Director, TIFF Bell Lightbox today unveiled Toronto dates and special programmes for Tim Burton, the blockbuster exhibition organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. This major exhibition explores Burton’s creative vision and his artistic development from early significant drawings he made as a teenager to sophisticated renderings used to create effects for his most treasured recent films. Delving deep into Burton’s visual imagination, the exhibition brings together more than 700 items including paintings, drawings, puppets, costumes, storyboards and maquettes drawn from Burton’s personal vault, studio archives and private collections. The exhibition also includes seven new sculptural commissions created for The Museum of Modern Art and one new display-window commissioned specifically for TIFF Bell Lightbox. Tim Burton will open on November 26, 2010 and run until April 17, 2011.

Exhibition tickets go on sale on October 26.

“We are absolutely delighted to bring this extraordinary exhibition to Canada,” said Piers Handling, CEO and Director, TIFF. “This is the first MoMA show to come to Toronto in over 20 years and we look forward to continued partnership with them as well as cultural organizations around the world to present such exciting world-class exhibitions in Canada.”

“Tim Burton’s visual style is unquestionably unique, loved by millions of fans and has been highly influential in multiple creative spheres. When we first heard of the show, we were convinced it was the perfect marriage of film and the visual arts and the perfect way to bring new audiences into our major exhibitions space,” said Noah Cowan, Artistic Director, TIFF Bell Lightbox. “TIFF Bell Lightbox will offer even more, supplementing this incredible exhibition with a significant companion film programme and innovative family activities offering audiences a unique opportunity to connect with Burton’s creative process.”

An extensive film retrospective spanning Burton’s 27-year career, including his early shorts and a related series of films that influenced, inspired and intrigued him as a filmmaker, will run parallel to the exhibition. A week-long run of Burton’s most iconic film, Edward Scissorhands, will open the retrospective, followed by a holiday engagement of The Nightmare Before Christmas. TheBurton Blitz” is a unique experience for Toronto audiences: Burton’s films will screen consecutively in a back-to-back marathon over the course of the show’s opening weekend.  Also included in the retrospective are 16 double bills, pairing Burton’s films as both director and producer with their influences. The film programme is curated by Jesse Wente, Head of Film Programmes, TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Special programming will include multiple weekend drop-in and registered workshops for families and youth and in-person events. Both the film programme and the exhibition will offer audiences of all ages a chance to see the influences that helped shape one of the most important creative forces in modern cinema.

Burton will also contribute a major original commission to the exhibition, transforming the King Street windows of TIFF Bell Lightbox into a seasonally-changing window display beginning with a Christmas theme.

Tim Burton will be at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto for a number of special events to be announced at a later date.


Tim Burton has been completely redesigned for TIFF by Barr Gilmore and Michel Arcand. Focusing on Burton’s film career, it will transform the gallery spaces of TIFF Bell Lightbox into a magical journey through the creative vision behind films such as Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street with side chambers to explore the forces that shaped Burton’s creative mind.

Also featured are Burton’s student and early non-professional films; his long-unseen television adaptation Hansel and Gretel (1983); examples of his work for the flash animation internet series The World of Stainboy (2000); a selection of the artist’s oversized Polaroid prints; graphic art and texts for non-film projects, like The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories (1997) and Tim Burton’s Tragic Toys for Girls and Boys (2003) collectible figure series; and art from a number of early unrealized projects.

Film Programmes

The film retrospective presents Burton’s cinematic oeuvre, from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) to Alice in Wonderland (2010). Audiences will have at least two opportunities to see each of the films, and one of the screenings will be double-billed with a film that has influenced, inspired and intrigued Burton as a filmmaker.

Burton Blitz

To celebrate the opening of Tim Burton, Burton’s films will screen back-to-back on the weekend of November 26 to 28 in the ultimate endurance test of unadulterated Burton love. From Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985) to Alice in Wonderland (2010), follow the evolution of one of the most creative visionaries of modern movies in a single marathon event.

Exclusive Engagements

Starting November 25, 2010, an exclusive engagement of Burton’s defining film, Edward Scissorhands (1990) will be presented, followed by a holiday engagement of The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Exclusive engagements will run for at least one week.

Double Bills

Burton’s 14 feature films as director plus two as producer will have a double bill screening with a film that has influenced, inspired and intrigued him as a filmmaker. All films are directed by Tim Burton unless otherwise noted.

  • Alice in Wonderland (2010) followed by Desperate Living (John Waters, 1977)
  • The Man Who Laughs (Paul Leni,1928) followed by Batman (1989)
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Richard Fleischer, 1954) followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
  • Ed Wood (1994) followed by Bride of the Monster (Edward D. Wood Jr., 1955)
  • Marty (Delbert Mann, 1955) followed by Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  • Gojira (Ishiro Honda, 1954) followed by Mars Attacks! (1996)
  • Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922) followed by The Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Selick, 1993)
  • First Men in the Moon (Nathan Juran, 1964) followed by Planet of the Apes (2001)
  • Horror of Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1958) followed by Sleepy Hollow (1999)
  • Artists and Models (Frank Tashlin, 1955) followed by Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
  • Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, 1963) followed by James and the Giant Peach (Henry Selick, 1996)
  • Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965) followed by Batman Returns (1992)
  • Theatre of Blood (Douglas Hickox,1973) followed by Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
  • The Lost World (Harry O. Hoyt, 1925) followed by Corpse Bride (with Mike Johnson, 2005)
  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1947) followed by Big Fish (2003)
  • 8 1/2 (Federico Fellini, 1963) followed by Beetlejuice (1988)

tim_burton_drawing_02Weekend Family Activities

Celebrating the imaginative and creative works of Tim Burton, TIFF will host a wide variety of Burton-themed drop-in and registered workshops. Starting November 27, every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm, parents and children can drop by to participate in the following free activities. Age recommendation: 8 and up

Crafty Characters – Create your own Burton-inspired creatures and characters from quirky parts, pieces and craft supplies.

Animation Station – Design and bring to life a favourite toy or creature through the magic of stop-motion animation.

Be in the Scene – Through the wonder of green screen technology, immerse yourself in the stunning sets of Tim Burton’s films.

Registered Workshops – Age recommendation: 12 and up

December 4 and 5

Tall Tales – Work with a professional screenwriter to develop your simple script idea into a magical masterpiece.

December 11 and 12

Micro Set Construction – Learn to build small sets (stop-motion appropriate) in the style of Tim Burton.

December 26 to 30

3 Days to Make a Movie (Live Action) and 3 Days to Make a Movie (Stop-motion) – Participants will work as a team to script, storyboard, set design, prop design, costume/craft, edit and screen a short film in 3 days of fun, fantastical filmmaking.

January 8 and 9

Quirks & Chords – Learn how to enchant a listener by exploring and emulating the musical stylings of Burton’s longtime musical

collaborator Danny Elfman.


The exhibition and film retrospective will be accompanied by a new, TIFF-produced version of MoMA’s Tim Burton publication that will include a new essay by Jesse Wente, Head of Film Programmes, TIFF Bell Lightbox. Tim Burton traces the evolution of Burton’s creative practices, following the current of his visual imagination from his early childhood drawings through his mature work. Essays by MoMA curators Ron Magliozzi and Jenny He consider Burton’s career as an artist and filmmaker, shedding new light on his singular aesthetic. Richly illustrated with film stills, drawings, paintings, photographs, maquettes, and graphic work for both his film and non-film projects, the book presents previously unseen works from Burton’s personal archive. Tim Burton will be available at TIFF.Shop.

Exhibition Ticket Policy

Gallery occupancy is limited and timed-entry tickets are in effect. Starting October 26, timed-entry tickets for the Tim Burton exhibition will be available online at tiff.net, and at the box office at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Ticket prices are $22.75, includes HST. A timed-entry ticket will guarantee visitors entrance at the chosen time.

Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Saturday – 10 am to 7 pm, Sunday – 10 am to 6 pm, Monday – closed.

TIFF Membership

The opening of TIFF Bell Lightbox has inspired TIFF to create a new membership programme that offers audiences exciting opportunities to experience year-round programming in unique and special ways. TIFF members will enjoy priority access to programming including Tim Burton film programmes, discounts on select screenings, free entry to the exhibitions in the galleries, regular TIFF insider updates, invitations to exclusive members-only events, and more. To learn about all the benefits of being a TIFF member, please visit tiff.net/membership.

Visit tiff.net or call 416-599-TIFF (8433) and 1-888-599-8433 for more information. TIFF Bell Lightbox is located at Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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