TIFF Day Zero: Finally in Toronto!
by Alex Billington
September 8, 2007
After a long day of grueling flights and traveling through customs, I've finally made it to Toronto! I know everyone is excited to hear about my adventures in the airport - so I'm going to skip right to the good stuff, the movies! I barely made it in time to see Gavin Hood's Rendition and after that made it over to a late night screening of Jason Reitman's Juno (reviews are pending for both). It's the first day and I'm trying to get in the groove (and get caught up) before diving headfirst into a full 7 more days of endless movies live from TIFF.
My biggest observation after spending some time at two theaters around downtown Toronto - this isn't Sundance, and I don't mean that in a good way. The Toronto Film Fest is the big, ugly step brother of Sundance that's way too commercial and much less personal. The crowds who swoon around the limousine drop off waiting for a glimpse of a celebrity number in the thousands, where at Sundance it's just a small crowd. It seems the number of press here is nearly 10x that of Sundance, but the films that are showing are much more commercial and/or international - it just doesn't make sense.
At Sundance, seeing a movie in the biggest theater, Eccles as it's called (which was a converted high school auditorium) meant a personalized viewing with the celebrities in your same row and top notch audio/visual. At Toronto it means sitting in an orchestra hall's top balcony 200 feet from the floor looking downwards at a tiny, off-axis screen. It's way too commercial and way too public, something which I just don't think is the right feel for what is supposed to be one of the best film fests in North America.
Hopefully my second day here in Toronto will prove to be much more exciting and entertaining. I'm looking forward to seeing quite a few great films as well as the sites and sounds of Toronto and even some interviews. I'll give TIFF another chance to prove my original observations wrong and show me how good it really is. Stay tuned as our coverage here at TIFF really starts to kick off over the weekend.