TIFF Day Zero: Finally in Toronto!

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.

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I've been having a blast. Seeing George Clooney in person was surreal. And I was a little scared that I was within the vicinity of Javier Bardem after seeing No Country For Old Men.

Ethan on Sep 8, 2007


I'm curious as to why you're comparing TIFF only to Sundance?

James on Sep 9, 2007


Because North America's two biggest film festivals are Toronto and Sundance. They essentially compete and a lot of people work/go to both. They're both very similar film festivals... so why wouldn't I compare them??

Alex Billington on Sep 9, 2007


Valid argument, but do you expect them to be the same? I mean Toronto is a much bigger city so it make sense that it has a much bigger involvement from the public.

James on Sep 10, 2007


Well of course, obviously that is the case, but that doesn't mean I can't say that it isn't as good as a "host" city for that reason. I personally like Sundance better because I like the lower numbers of people...

Alex Billington on Sep 10, 2007

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