View Full Version : TIFF '08

09-09-2008, 11:56 AM
So we're past hump day at the Toronto Film Fest this year... I'm working "red carpet" in the evenings down at the Scotiabank, basically rounding up the talent and programmers when they arrive and making sure they get where they need to go.... it's been a lot of fun this year, but very busy for me! This is about the first free moment Ive gotten to write so far, so i figured I'd post some of the highlights so far before writing my own little post-mortem...

Movies I've seen:

JCVD (Jean Claude Van Damme) - Brilliant and honest film. Highly recommend it. A very European-style drama that examines the nature of fame through the eyes of JCVD himself in an extraordinary situation where an aging actor/stuntman plays the human being behind the "name". Amazing monologue at the end. Must see.

Religulous (Bill Mahr) - Very funny and witty examination on the effect religion has on society. Bill Mahr spreads what could be surmised as "intelligent doubt" as he pulls back the curtains of ignorance that plague many of the world's religions. I think this is a MUST SEE for sure, as it sparks an excellent debate and shows the true colors of the mindless sheep VS the reasonably religious.

Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist (Michael Cera) - AMAZING! A sweet, good-hearted romantic comedy with that "indie" vibe that makes this a very unique movie. Great performances and a quirky script make this movie a prized gem in my eyes. See it with a loved one if possible!

Ghost Town (Ricky Gervais) - Funny as hell, mainly due to Ricky Gervais himself. Plot is a bit "studio comedy" and fairly predictable, but the dynamic between Greg Kinnear, Ricky, and Tea Leoni is really great. Ricky's character arc is the best part of the movie.

Three Blind Mice (Matthew Newton) - Aussie film about three naval officers on the last night out before going to Iraq. Amazing performances and extremely realistic in nature. I would call this the "perfect low budget indie flick". Very smart, witty, charming and human. The script comes together very well in the end as the antics of three very different sailors brings us to some very subtle yet profound (read- dynamic) realizations about the men behind the uniforms.

Blindness (Julianne Moore) - An adaptation of one of my favorite novels. AMAZING cinematography, and the direction really does wonders communicating to the audience the feelings and results of a world thrown into moral chaos after everyone (but Mrs. Moore) goes blind. Although I liked it quite a bit, it stuck very much with the novel, and I think I would have preferred to see it use the novel more as "inspiration", because the story didn't work as well in film then as a book. However, great performances and cinematography make it worthwhile!

Detroit Metal City - Again, AMAZING... one of the best so far! A hilarious Japanese comedy that is essentially the spritual successor to Detroit Metal City. Amazing performances by the lead characters drive the age-old story of a boy chasing his dreams and realizing even though they didn't seem to turn out as he imagined, they were still realized in the end. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. This movie will have a HUGE following I'm sure. The lead character plays an almost super-hero role, a nerdy geek with dreams of being a "trendy" (starbucks, fashion and bubble tea) musician while he moonlights in a Death Metal band singing about rape and murder... again, just an incredible pic!

And i think that's it so far... tonight I'm seeing "The Burrowers" (JT Petty), a monster movie (like Tremors) set in the wild-west. Then it's "Che" (Sodenberg), "Synechdote, New York" (Kauffman), "The Wrestler" (Arronofsky), "It might get loud" (doc on the electric guitar) and whatever else I happen to pick up along the way!

For now, I've got to shower and get to work! So for those who haven't been to TIFF before- what are you waiting for? It's amazing!

Over and out...

09-11-2008, 10:18 AM
2nd last day today... just about to go and try and get into Synechdote, New York.

So far life on the "red carpet" has been good... we don't actually have a carpet at our venue or anything, and last year we were getting more "hot talent", so this year it's been pretty neat because I get to spend more time talking to filmmakers, producers, programmers and fellow staff mates when the action slows down inbetween films.

Yesterday I got a business card from a Hollywood producer who wants me to send him some of my work once my latest projects have finished post-production. Basically, the party was there the night before and I had chatted him up about their film ("how's your fest going?" etc) and when they came back the next day, he asked me what I did in the off-time and I told him about a couple of my projects and without asking he offered the card. I honestly think this is the best way to go about networking at the Toronto film fest- make friends first, not business contacts. People here really do love film, and love talking about films... and if a spark is ignited, it can lead places!

A few nights ago we had Viggo Mortensen come to see a flick and I was doing our "lock and load" (escort) and it was pretty cool- he's the kinda guy who stops for all the photos and autographs with fans- very chill. At the end he gave me a thanks and handshake, which was kinda neat as well. We did the same thing for the Caulkin bros (not McCauly) a couple nights back. Also, a couple LOSTIES showed up (Evangeline Lilly, Dominique Monahan) and caused a bit of a fuss as we had to sneak them out the back door.

Other than that it's been very calm and smooth at our venue. We've had a lot of fantastic films and great people showing up, and all said and done, I'm quite sad that it all ends two days from now and I have to go back to normal boring life. Thankfully, this festival has ignited quite a fire of passion and haste in my belly and I think once I get my latest projects out of post-production I'm going to finish my screenplays and get some shit shot.... so the hope is I can have a short in TIFF '09 and get my directorial feature debut in for TIFF '10.

All in all, so far so good...

09-12-2008, 10:56 PM
So I'm officially at 10 flicks.

This morning I caught a 9am screening of "Che", which was AMAZING. The RED camera in action is a wonderful sight, and Del Toro does an amazing job jumping into the role. I only got to see 3/4 of "part one" (it's 4.5 hours long!), but what I saw was pretty good. One problem was that it never gives you Che's backstory- how he became a revolutionary figure- it jumps right into the fighting in Cuba... which was interesting for me to learn about and see. Maybe Part 2 covers that, but I dont know. I guess you'll have to see it for yourselves!

Then after my short last shift I hopped over to AMC and was generously given a ticket from a random saint while I was in the Rush Line for "Dead Girl", which is a disturbing but fascinating movie about some high school kids who come across a dead girl in an abandoned asylum. On ensues the necrophelia and such... only the girl is "not quite" dead, if you catch my drift. Pretty damn disturbing, but amazingly done little horror flick!

And tomorrow is the last day of the festival! I'm seeing "The Wrestler" (w/ Mickey rourke) at 9am, going back to AMC for "It Might Get Loud" (w/ Jimmy Page, Jack White and Edge) and topping the night off with hopefully either "The Martyrs" or "The Stone of Destiny" depending on which I can get tickets for. Then it's the staff party on Sunday night and that's a wrap!!!

The ten days of the fest go by so quickly when you're in the heat of it all- seeing flicks left right and center, putting in films, meeting talented people and passionate film lovers...,. the Toronto film fest is the greatest thing every year in this city. My sole regret is that this year I saw a lot of movies that are about to come out, or are in the mainstream.. next year, I might try and focus more on indie/foreign films that may be hard to find in video stores later. Because the 300 films the fest shows all have something great for everyone (unless you're totally uncomfortable with necrophelia, in which case, don't see Dead Girl), even if it's just exposure to cinema that you wouldn't normally be exposed to.

Wuzzah! If anyone gets the chance to come up next year, do it!

09-13-2008, 11:41 AM
Sounds like you had a good time. I am also looking forward to seeing movies shot on the RED camera.

Jon Paul Gottier
10-27-2008, 04:11 PM

I completely agree... The TIFF '08 was a fantastic experience. JCVD was fantastic and Blindness was stunning. Unfortunately, I never made it to "the Wrestler", which I was dying to see.

A few of these films were mentioned as one of the Top 10 Recent Film Posters, ...

10-27-2008, 04:23 PM
howd u get a gig up there?

10-27-2008, 05:13 PM
howd u get a gig up there?

I live downtown in Toronto and used to usher at a theater where I made a lot of friends who also worked the film fest, so I simply applied and got the job. It's a really friendly bunch of folk who run the film fest- I've had many chats with the CEO, Piers Handling when he shows up to my venue, and he couldn't be any classier- and that goes for pretty much everybody I've met in all departments. Except for this one guy, Ian, who's a bit shifty IMHO. hehe, just kidding Goudge.

TIFF also has like 2000 volunteers, many of which come in from foreign countries to practice English by helping out, and you can get some benefits volunteering.

If you want to apply to work the festival, just go to and submit your resume to the human resources for the position of "Theater Operations Representative"... but they usually do the hiring in the June before the film fest, so the best time to submit is in the spring when they begin to find out who's coming back from previous years. Training is only a few days in August and then the fest hits in early September like the hammer of a Peruvian war demi-god who kinda looks like Charlton Heston in a pink-spangled bikini.

10-29-2008, 05:01 PM