Toronto 2008 Day 1 - Day 3: The Busy Life of Festivalgoers
by Alex Billington
September 7, 2008
I've been up here at the Toronto Film Festival for nearly four days and haven't written one of my typical daily updates yet. I'm going to try and give you a good excuse, because I think everyone deserve one, so let's get down to it. Film festivals are not only time-consuming and exhausting, but there are so many things going on that it's hard to find extra time to even sit down and write. When I'm not writing or watching movies, I'm traveling between screenings, attending parties, eating, or otherwise trying to find a suitable place with electricity to work. It's an exhausting life but I love every last minute of it. Toronto this year has actually been fantastic - I've seen a total of eight movies so far and have nearly seven days left.
So far I've seen: Leo and Edison, JCVD, The Skycrawlers, Me and Orson Welles, Burn After Reading, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Blindness, and Deadgirl. It's been very exciting and I've seen some great films and some mediocre films, but overall the festival has still only just begun. I'm in line to see Darren Aronofksy's The Wrestler right now, one of the films I'm probably most excited to see, and will hopefully catch another film later tonight - possibly Not Quite Hollywood. There's so many more good movies left to see, so don't lose interest just yet. If I had to name my current favorite, it would be Nick and Norah, just because it was such a sweet and entertaining film that left me in such a great mood when I walked out. And although I saw it at Telluride, Slumdog Millionaire also remains one of my favorites.
There is one quick story I've got to tell. I never actually got a press pass. I didn't get one last year either, and I'm not entirely sure why, but this year they gave me a reason. After telling me that I am allowed to write whatever I want about their fest, I was told that because I wrote negatively about Toronto last year (calling it very unorganized, which it still is), I wasn't allowed to get a press pass this year. What happened to freedom of speech? Once I flew out here I realized that I could just pick up an "industry" pass, so for $700 I was able to get pass that gave me the same access. I probably won't be able to pay my rent this month, but at least I'm able to attend Toronto like I should be attending it - and that's what counts the most.
Toronto is a very mainstream festival that caters more to the public than the industry. I don't have a big problem with it, because seeing movies with crowds is always a better experience, but sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming. The are a lot of great venues here in Toronto and I admit that I'm honestly having a great time, although I really didn't enjoy it last year. Their are so many great films and it's set in a city that I love being in, so I don't know how I wouldn't be able to enjoy it. Being here reminds me of being at Sundance, my all-time favorite fest, but without the snow. So even if I say that there were some complaints throughout the week, I still love attending them. Toronto, even with its flaws, is still a fest I enjoy attending.
Considering this festival has only just begun, there are still plenty of good movies coming up. I'm excited to see Steven Soderbergh's Che, which has a screening tomorrow. Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York, which I'll see later this week, Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno, which I'll see on Tuesday, and so much more. I haven't even planned out what I'm going to see tomorrow, because that's how the life of a festivalgoer is - I work day-by-day. In fact, all I know I'm doing is watching The Wrestler and heading to the afterparty, but beyond that, I'm still waiting to figure out what's next even tonight. Hopefully I'll be able to bring you more daily updates throughout the week - as long as I find the time to do it!
"What happened to freedom of speech?" Dude, your in Canada you have no rights. We should pull a Canadian Bacon ala John Candy and take Canada out.
dac_fan on Sep 7, 2008
Yup that comment makes a lot of sense, especially since in many ways Canada is more liberal than US.
Mike on Sep 7, 2008
I want everyone to know that I used to work at the AMC in that photo.
DCompose on Sep 7, 2008
Why don't they just step up their fucking act and get organized instead of making you pay for accurate journalism. That pisses me off. With so much media coverage bought out and edited, accurate, unabashed, uncensored journalism is something we desperately need. We shouldn't be afraid we'll be ostracized for being truthful. And the expense you made to get in and bring us the news is appreciated.
JL on Sep 7, 2008
I suspect they revoked your press pass because of all the spelling and grammatical errors. Unorganised? Come on.
Grammar Police on Sep 7, 2008
Out of subject : FIrst look to Gatchaman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOu7TAZUmhc 😉
Flo on Sep 8, 2008
"I suspect they revoked your press pass because of all the spelling and grammatical errors. Unorganised? Come on." Best feedback ever. Accurate too.
mrbobbyboy on Sep 8, 2008
...but the fact that you think Toronto is unorganized questions your validity as a journalist. Unorganized, seriously? TIFF is renowned for it's professionalism and extreme organization. I've been going to the festival regularly for 20 years and each year they improve on the previous to the point where festival going is a complete no-brainer. For a festival that has so many films screening on so many screens in so many parts of the city, it is exquisitely well run. Don't blame TIFF's wonderful organization when you obviously don't have the patience or the where with all to figure out what is quite an elegant and simple system.
Pdorwick on Sep 8, 2008
what a world we live in. everybody bitches, fights, and argues with everybody. I think I am going to grow a beard and live out in the wilderness like Grizzly Adams... "take me home.. take me hooome" Yeah baby.
Hulk on Sep 8, 2008
Hey Alex, I said this last year when you put up your post but I'll say it again. It really bugs me the sense of entitlement press and web guys feel when it comes to the festivals. I would love to get a press pass for TIFF but I never expect one. The same went for Toronto After Dark last year. I asked for one, was turned down initially but then while I was doing the coverage Adam liked what I was doing and personally came over and gave me a pass and the money back that I had initially paid. TIFF is huge and has a limited number of passes... I even know they cut back this year on the press passes as it was getting a bit out of hand. For me personally TIFF and any other festivals I go to are for the experience and for the fun. Sure it would be nice to get into movies for free but really I've had more fun in the line ups and hanging out with everyone else than I ever would in the press screenings.
John Allison on Sep 12, 2008
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