Sunday, September 05, 2010

Countdown to TIFF: 2006 in Review

TIFF 2006

For me 2006 was all about the directors and a character named Borat. I not only got to see the latest films from directors such as Pedro Almodóvar, Darren Aronosky, Ken Loach, Tarsem Singh, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu ; but I also was fortunate enough to see one of my favourite independent directors, Hal Hartley, present his film Fay Grimm and conduct a question and answer session after the screen. The only thing that overshadowed the outstanding directors at the festival that year was Borat, a man who tops my list of the most memorable moments I have ever experienced at TIFF...but more on that later.

Total Number of Films Watched: 30

My Top 5:

The Lives of Others
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Pan’s Labyrinth
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Honourable Mention: Babel, The Last King of Scotland, The Fall, Fay Grim, Waiter, Bunny Chow, Death of a President, Day Night Day Night, Private Property

The Disappointments: The Fountain, Bamako, A Crime, Renaissance, Day on Fire, Cheech, One to Another, I am the Other Woman, Kabul Express.

The Whale Riders (aka. I regret passing on these films): When the Levees Broke, Rescue Dawn, After the Wedding, The Host, Paris, je t’aime, Little Children, Black Book, Away From Her, Dixie Chicks: Shut up and Sing

Memorable Moment: Borat’s Midnight Madness screening which ended up being the most talked about topic of the entire festival. While I knew of The Ali G Show, I had never seen an episode so the character of Borat was rather foreign to me. My selection of the film was completely based on the trailer I saw online. The night of the world premier screening, there was a deafening buzz building in the line. People were walking up and down the ticket holders line trying to get us to sell our tickets. One person was offering up to a hundred dollars for each ticket he could get his hands on. He ended up spending four hundred dollars to get himself and his friends into the screening. While the quick money was tempting, I held onto my ticket merely to see what all the fuss was about. When Sacha Baron Cohen arrived in full Borat character, on a cart being pulled by peasant women, the crowd went bananas. After a funny introduction from Borat himself, everyone settled in to finally see the film. After fifteen minutes, during a few big laughs, the theatre projector broke down. While the staff worked on fixing the projector, Cohen jumped back on stage and did his Borat routine for the crowd; his improvisation was fantastic and get the crowd in a positive mood. After ten minutes or so documentary filmmaker Michael Moore pops up to the balcony section, where I was sitting, and attempts to fix the projector. Shortly after Ari Emanuel, the agent Jeremy Piven’s character on the show Entourage is based on, shows up to get the status on things. Realizing that a special part is needed for the projector, Moore decides to conduct an impromptu question and answer session with Larry Clark, the director of Borat. After about an hour a festival staff member announces that the screening would have to be postponed until the next night. The following evening the screening is even more backed than before, as it was in a larger theatre, as even Dustin Hoffman and a few other celebs came out for the chance to see the much talked about film.

Random Star Sightings: James McAvoy, Forest Whitaker, Dustin Hoffman, Jeff Goldblum, Casey Affleck, Kerry Washington, Sacha Baron Cohen, Parker Posey, Saffron Burrows, Zach Braff, Rachel Bilson, Hal Hartley, Guillermo del Toro, Adriadna Gil, Jacinda Barrett, Michael Moore, Darren Aronofsky

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