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Colin Geddes: Programmer for TIFF’s Midnight Madness talks what’s in store for audiences this year

Follow along as Andrew takes an intriguing person out for a night on the town, visiting some of Toronto’s newest hot spots and offering tips on how you can create your own date night.

This year Colin Geddes will be the last TIFF staffer to head to bed and last to get up in the morning. His professional excuse: “I’m the programmer responsible for Midnight Madness.”

I was looking forward to going on a date with Geddes, a self-described “sommelier of horror films,” to learn more about the wild and wacky cinema he programs each year.

We met at The Royal York Hotel’s Library Bar, a property known for its spooky history, where we tipped our hats to Douglas Coupland’s Pop Culture Cocktail and Mordecai’s Spiced Manhattan.

The film buff reminisced over his memorable first week in Toronto. “I had just moved to the city and found myself standing in a line at the Bloor Cinema for Midnight Madness. It was at that moment 25 years ago that TIFF became my film school,” he said.

Geddes now watches more than 250 films each year in order to program a total of 10 for Midnight Madness audiences. The program has a cult following with directors like Quentin Tarantino checking out screenings throughout the duration of the festival.

“Every night we show wild and wacky films from around the world, which fall into the horror, black comedy, sci-fi, action and thriller categories. The audience here knows to expect something different. The rest of the festival is about glamour and art while Midnight Madness is pure fun,” he said.

So how does Geddes program the festivals most thrilling nightly premieres?

“I’m looking for something new, with a twist. It’s the last film of the day and I need to either wake up audiences in the first 15 minutes or keep them on the edge of their seats until 2 a.m.”

Geddes shares a few tips for those looking to find inspiration at the stroke of midnight. Two films not to miss: Tusk, American director Kevin Smith’s first departure from the stoner/comedy genre (made so famous by his cult classic Clerks) and What We Do in the Shadows, a mockumentary from New Zealand about four roommates who are also vampires.

Most might stray from taking a date to a spooky horror film, but Geddes offers sage advice for Toronto’s young couples: “Go on a first date to see a horror film. You’ll both put yourself in a vulnerable position; sometimes that’s the best way to break the ice.”

For more on Midnight Madness visit

Where to go before, after

Pre: Head to the Queen and Beaver Public House before the show and be sure to indulge in a juicy burger. Pair with a sudsy local brew.

Post: After the show head to the Park Hyatt’s Rooftop Bar to enjoy pretty views over the city while sipping on a classic Manhattan.

Watch for daily updates on celeb sightings and tiff parties from Andrew during the festival at

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