As the saying goes “you always remember your first time.” Having just graduated from university, with no job lined up, I decided to do what any unemployed movie lover would do...drop a bunch of money at the Toronto International Film Festival. Okay, it might not have been the most sensible move for a person as cash strapped as I was at the time. Yet I figured it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I just could not pass up. It was a crazy move but ultimately one of the best decisions I have ever made.
As it was my first year at the festival, I leaned a little more towards the star driven films (a common rookie mistake!) As the festival went on it became clear that the smaller films were the ones that left a lasting impression.
Total Number of Films Watched: 25
My Top 5:
In the Bedroom
No Man’s Land
The Son’s Room Waking Life
Honourable Mention: The Grey Zone, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise
The Disappointments: The Piano Teacher, Training Day, Enigma
The Whale Riders (a.k.a. I regret passing on these films) : Y Tu Mamá También, Mulholland Drive, Amélie, The Devils Backbone, Lantana
Memorable Moment: September 11, 2001, the moment when the modern world stood still. This was my official “Hollywood Day” at the festival as I had several big budget studio films to see. When the first plane hit the tower I was in line to see John Dahl’s film Joyride. I was not aware of what was going on in the world until I made my way to the Uptown (a wonderful theatre in that is no longer around) for a noon screening of the Johnny Depp film From Hell. As I talked to more and more people in line, a large number of which were Americans, the sense of fear and uncertainty was everywhere. As reports of airports and train stations shutting down started to surface many festival goers had no idea how they were getting back home once the festival was over. Heck, we did not know if the festival was even going to continue. We were advised before the screening started that the festival would be shutting down for the remainder of the day immediately following the From Hell screening. As we sat in the theatre, one man who had a walkman was providing our row with news updates on the latest events. It was only later that night did the news channels report that the film festival would in fact resumed the following day but on a much more sombre note.
Random Star Sightings: I had purchased a festival day pass which meant my chances of seeing famous folk was slim at best. The stars only come out a night for screenings as they are being interviewed by the press all day. Regardless I still got to see the likes of Molly Parker, Atom Egoyan, Antoine Fuqua, Todd Field, Danis Tarnovic, and Tim Blake Nelson.