Midnight Madness Blog

- 2008
- 2007

Over the course of the days leading up to Midnight Madness 2007, I've asked some of the directors who have had films debut in the series to send us their reflections and memories of being in TIFF. First up we have Jonathan Levine, director of ALL THE BOYS OF MANDY LANE, a sleeper hit of 2006, although I don't remember the leggy supermodels and drugs the night we went to Ted's Collison before the Fest started...

"The night my movie ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE screened at Midnight Madness was the craziest, greatest, most overwhelming and fulfilling night of my life. I had heard all sorts of great things about the Midnight Madness crowd prior to my arrival. They were a legendary bunch, lauded for their energy, their love of groundbreaking genre work, and their film savvy. In my mind, they would have to be a crazy hyped-up motley canadian crew to live up to these expectations. I was skeptical, to say the least.

After meeting Colin Geddes, Midnight Madness' resident emcee and impresario, I began to change my tune. Colin was a down-to-earth guy whose love of film was clear from the get-go. Joe, one of MANDY's producers, and I got to toronto like a week early cuz we were so psyched and nervous about our screening. But Colin didn't hold our inexperience and zeal against us. Rather, he took us out to the coolest Toronto hotspots where we canoodled with leggy supermodels and did drugs off the nether-regions of a Canadian TV personality whose name I will not sully by identifying him here (but it rhymes with Malan Thicke). In all seriousness, Colin was incredibly warm and gracious. And we immediately felt at home in the Festival.

Anyway, when the night of our big screening came around, I was paralyzed with nerves. Would people show up? Would they like it? When I arrived at the theater, freshly shaven (someone on Aintitcool said I looked 12 years old, which is not accurate), I saw a line around the block. Outside the theater, the buzz was palpable. As I hid in the green room with my parents, my production team, and many cast and crew. I knew that I would never forget this night. And when I entered the theater, packed with people, and walked to the stage for my Q&A with Mr. Geddes, I looked out into the crowd and saw a sold-out sea of friendly faces. I was so overwhelmed, I had never seen anything like it. I had to take their picture.

And when the lights went down, the crowd had my back. They laughed, screamed in terror. They fucking applauded! And I sank in my seat, my cloak of self-loathing slowly slipped off of me as our screening turned into a blood and guts filled love-in. I wish I could hug every one of the people who saw my movie that night. Since I have a picture of the entire crowd, I intend to return to the festival next year to track all of them down, whether my new film is accepted or not. So watch your back, Toronto. And if a clean-shaven 12-year-old looking Jew tries to give you a squeeze, look kindly upon him, for he's just filled with a love of cinema, and of people, that only Midnight Madness can inspire." --- Jonathan Levine

ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE: Director Jonathan Levine (R) rocks the Q&A
with writer Jacob Forman (L) and actress Whitney Able (taken by Derwin Mak)

Within hours of the world premiere of MANDY LANE, the film seemed to have found a home at The Weinstein Company, who bought worldwide rights for over $3.5 million and promised to release it on at least 800 screens. This was the start of a troublesome journey for a film that seemed destined not to get the chance for love with audiences outside of Midnight Madness.

For an inside look at what happens when the curtains close on a TIFF premiere, read this fascinating piece in the L.A. Times about the bittersweet affair that MANDY LANE had with Harvey and Bob (registeration might be required to read the article, but it is worth it). The good news? ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY is now scheduled to hit cinemas in 2008 distrubuted by a company that truly believes in the film.

And what is Jonathan up to now? He just finished shooting principal photography on THE WACKNESS, his second feature, shot on location in NYC, starring Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Josh Peck, Mary Kate Olsen and Method Man (!).

Here is a great piece that Netscape shot last year covering Midnight Madness. Can you see yourself in the line-up?

Netscape at ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE premiere

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I didn't like the film myself, but Levine captured the enthusiasm of the crowd that night. Creepy that I found myself within 2 second in that shot (helps that I always sit in the same spot in the Ryerson)...but creepier that I am wearing that exact same shirt today!

Best of Luck Jonathan!
Comment By Kurt At 15/08/2021 2:33 PM
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