Even in a post-Breaking Bad and nearly-post-Mad Men landscape, television continues to assert its cultural dominance. More directors and actors turn to television for a chance to tell experimental or long-form stories, and the film world has unsurprisingly taken notice. In the latest sign of this explosive growth and relevance, the Toronto International Film Festival is changing tune and including television shows in its regular lineup for the first time.
TIFF is billing this new selection as Primetime, a roster of six shows from around the world that highlight the increasing quality of international television programming. TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey is direct in his praise of television, noticing that “film and television have been converging for years, with many filmmakers gravitating to television to experiment with that medium.” It’s a bold statement – both the words and the gesture – that suggests the staying power of television’s seeming golden age.
Submissions for TIFF are still open, so we can’t tell you what they’ll be highlighting just yet.
Television has come a long way in public and critical esteem since HBO premiered The Sopranos (many critics consider this the medium’s turning point.) We wouldn’t be surprised to see other festivals add television episodes to their lineups in the coming years.