Dont you love ‘Eve’s? You know…the eve of Christmas, the eve of New Years, and now…the Eve of the Toronto International Film Festival. Anticipation is in the air, the hype has been building for months and the flights from LAX to YYZ have been booked.
For the next 10 days, Toronto is the cultural epicentre of the world. Do you think that sounds a bit over-dramatic? Well, it’s not. Think about it. Unless the Louvre is holding a 2 week ‘take your picture with the Mona Lisa festival’… this IS the place to be. Unless Greece is holding a 2 week reading and discussion of the Illiad…this IS the place to be.
Get into it Toronto!
Maybe you’ve never experienced the festival, and wonder what all the hullabaloo is about every year. Maybe you’re saying “I hate subtitles….so what’s the point?”. Or maybe, you think there is no way you could bump into Clint Eastwood at the Starbucks across from the Hazelton (true story!). I am here to tell you, my friends… this is YOUR year.
I’m just a filmy. A person who has a degree in film studies and film production. I have worked at TV and Film production studios and I have been in ‘the cutting room’ and swept the floors. But most importantly, I am a purveyor of all things entertainment. And I am just like you. I am a suburbanite with an insatiable Hollywood obsession. I’m not a big shot, but I’ve met them, so please take that into consideration as you take my advice.
In 2007, I worked as an assistant at the TIFF Press Conferences. It may have been a less than sexy position…but it gave me some serious insight to the people that grace our presence at the festival. The hottest stars, the unkowns faces about to be HUGE, the cocky directors, the artsy-fartsy ‘auteurs’ and the talking heads.
These press conferences host the biggest names and house the most press every day. Watching as clamboring press and shutter camera cram into one room for a half hour question session and photo-op is exhilerating. Getting ice chips for Sean Penn is humiliating, yet strangely thrilling. But the best thing about this…is that the guy in the convenience stand in the lobby sees just as many celebs as the press does. Seriously. So my advice? Get yourself into the lobby of the official hotels.
Alot of people complain about the elitest attitude of film festivals. TIFF has in the past few years tried to re-brand itself as the ‘People’s Festival’. The Joe-Blo from Leaside could get into any film and appreciate it along with the hoity-toit from Bloor West. That’s not entirely true. Subscribers and donators get first shot at the big films, and unless you pre-order tickets, you wont be getting into any film with buzz.
But don’t fret! Listen, the movies with Clooneys, Eastwoods and DeNiros in them, will be out in theatres within a month. Nation-wide. This festival is meant to see the films that you will NEVER have the chance to see at your local AMC. That’s the beauty of the next 10 days. So pick a film that appeals to you based on plot, not on star power, and you might just find a gem. Scratch that, you WILL find a gem. And every movie I’ve ever seen at TIFF is playing to a packed house…no matter how small and unknown.
Take a chance, commute into the city one night this week or next, and see something you will never see again. Support the independant film industry, and revel in the fact that YOU live THE greatest city for next 10 days.
www.tiff.net for tickets!