Packing ten days of multiple screenings, often three or four a day, is not for wimps or sensible people.
The civic ambassador in me replies,
Are we embracing a significant cultural event that brings millions into the city’s coffers? One that places us firmly as a leader in global arts? All good, no?
Fellow parents get this:
September back-to-school time.TIFF is my school.
Here’s a quick field guide to puzzled new friends (the old ones already endure).
Prepare for pain along with pleasure.
Unless you’re one of the posh, do plan on standing in line. Fortunately, fellow nerds are in the line-up with you and want to talk movies too.
Endure delays that screw up your carefully planned schedule.
Sit through inane queries during post-film Q&A sessions.
Suffer the disappointment of a film that didn’t live up to the buzz. What the hell were they thinking?
Eye strain, leg cramps, caffeine overload. No, I can’t do laundry. Screw the mess.
But who’s bitching?
If you love movies, this is what heaven looks like. So let’s call it what it is—a love affair.
Slumped there in the dark, sharing a spectacular vision with others, lifts carries and sustains a creative flush within me. I forget to eat. Sleep is limited. What there is of it is wretched.
Outside the theatre, this former film student is distracted, dreamy and no, I don’t care about the red carpet. I’ve met and interviewed these people once upon a time, although there are a few I would love to invite…let’s say dinner, shall we?
Making a film takes great courage. The writers and directors, dissecting their art in brief tidbits, bring out the fangirl, gobbling up their flashes of brilliance, hoping it will inspire me on flat days when a blank page is just an empty page. To discover a clever piece of filmmaking, whether lurking within a messy script, held together by a majestic score or whispered by a raw, exposed-to-there actor, is to forget your pathetic self. Then find yourself, seconds later, touched by something, by everything.
Exit the theatre from a sleek thriller; the thunderstorm outside is surreal. Encounter an attractive stranger after a steamy love story and think, Take me, take me right here, right now. Luckily, the Friendly Greek is my companion for most of my films. Film geeks excel in restraint.
Travel across the planet and experience stunning vistas. Your streets have new colours. Homeless forms have faces. Peek in at your sleeping children when you stumble home after a midnight screening and know that mother in the Congo shares all your anxieties.
TIFF is the stuff of life, friends. I’m here to gulp it up. Feel free to join me.