2005 is a bit of a landmark year for me in that I saw my first Toronto Film Festival film like, ever. What follows is not a review of the film I saw, but rather of the festival experience itself…
If you can believe it, the last time I tried to see a festival film was back in the 80s when I was still studying film at York, and the stupid lottery for tickets they had was infuriating enough to make me pass on the whole affair. Though the lottery still exists, now you can at least buy last-minute tickets on the web—which is exactly what I did. Note that you pay a premium for the convenience, though—and to add insult to financial injury, you’re asked on the checkout screen if you want to make a donation. What the hell?! Like Bell and Volkswagen aren’t giving you enough money already?
So I printed up a confirmation email and exchanged it for tickets at the same venue where the movie was playing. Nice. Although I have to say I was a little irked by the hardcore festival goers already lining up almost two hours before the screening. These people looked like they could’ve put that time to much better use working on their social contact and/or personal grooming skills. Me? I went off to lunch with some friends and returned at a less ridiculous hour.
At the appointed time the auditorium was awash in a sea of turtlenecks and the combined aroma of a hundred bagged lunches. Watching the film was actually quite pleasant, as folks actually turned off their cell phones and paid attention for the duration, but the Q&A afterwards was pretty much a bust. It was a documentary that we all had just seen so folks were eager to demonstrate their own breadth of trivial knowledge on the subject matter at hand.
All and all, I can best describe the experience as not horrible. I’m definitely not the red carpet gala type—why pay a hundred bucks for something you can see in the theatres next month, and on DVD two months after that? But I would be interested in seeing more international films that might never show up on this continent again. If they’d only fix that stupid ticket lottery…
3 responses to “My Toronto Film Festival Review”
I would recommend checking out the hot docs festival if you haven’t already. It’s a little festivally but you’re sure to see things that you probably wont ever see again, although some of it is for good reason. Having said that I’ve seen a few things there and enjoyed a lot.
I remember hearing that the “War Room” doc premiered there, and regretted missing it… I’ll keep it in mind for next spring; thanks for the tip!
I have only been to one TIFF film: the free showing of Chaplin’s City Lights at Nathan Phillips Square (in 1992, I think). It was the best movie-going experience I’ve ever had, but they stopped doing the free showings either the following year or in ‘94. I tried to get into a couple of films that year but didn’t get tickets. So I’ve never been back and won’t be back until they send a car around to pick me up….