Festival Daily

By Ghita Loebenstein


As TIFF nears its curtain call for 2008, Festival programmers tell us what shocked, who enthralled and what kept them up all night.


Jane Schoettle (International Programmer)


I was impressed by how many actresses wore towering sadistic heels and yet managed to stay upright.

I was inspired by how articulate Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy) is about filmmaking.

I was star-struck by Shohreh Aghdashloo from The Stoning of Soraya M. because of her dark beauty, husky voice and deep passion for art.

I was surprised that the content of the Q&A; for Zack and Miri Make a Porno matched the content of the movie.

I was shocked by how many people wanted Nati Baratz to voice his personal religious views in the Q&A; for Unmistaken Child.

I was enthralled when Sima Urale from Apron Strings began her Q&A; by saying, “I am not a drag queen.”

I lost sleep over something I don’t want to admit.

When the Festival is over, I’m going to put on yoga pants, cook real food and walk my dog on the beach.


Andréa Picard (Programmer, Wavelengths and Cinematheque Ontario)


I am thrilled that Wavelengths has become a hot ticket, having sold out all six shows for the second year in a row. Seeing colleagues fight over a ticket for James Benning’s RR brought gratification and perverse joy.

I was delighted that a giddy Michael Snow attended and had lavish praise for this year’s work.

I was impressed by the serious and discerning consideration given Wavelengths by members of the press.

I was moved by Joan Dupont’s lovely tribute to David Overbey and extremely grateful to have seen Lino Brocka’s Bayan Ko.

I was sweatin’ it when Skúli Sverrisson, the talented composer-musician accompanying Jennifer Reeves’s When It Was Blue, had his connection from Miami cancelled on account of the hurricane. He flew in just in time to perform for the closing night of Wavelengths.

When it’s all over, I’m going to fly to New York City with Nobu to see the Morandi show at the Met.


Colin Geddes (Programmer, Midnight Madness)


I’m always pleased with audience receptions to the films. Even though they screen at midnight, the Midnight Madness audience is the perfect audience to embrace these films. Often they give the film a second chance, particularly with the French films like Martyrs and JCVD.

I was over the moon to see the response to Detroit Metal City and to have a sold-out screening for a film that no one knew outside of Japan. At the second screening for DMC, the director asked the audience what was the difference between Japanese comedies and American comedies, and I was running around like Jerry Springer with a microphone.

I was really surprised to see two little old Italian ladies at a comedy about death metal at that DMC screening.

I loved taking Mark Hartley, the director of Not Quite Hollywood, to a place called Cinecycle – a bicycle repair shop by day and by night a fully functional cinema space, run by Martin Heath who started our revision department. Martin showed us his own private film vault full of rusty old cans. It’s always a delight to show filmmakers the real Toronto.

When it’s all over, I can’t wait to get a good night’s sleep.





The Daily staff share some of their standout moments of this year’s Festival.


Kate Lawrie (Editor-in-Chief)

Agnes Varda’s Les Plages d’Agnès. It’s a film full of gifts, invention and gorgeously executed moments of play. I’ve never, ever seen another film that approaches its sheer cinematic celebration and emotional candour. That it is the work of a living legend of the art form makes it all the more inspiring. It quite honestly left me breathless.


Nicholas Davies (Director, Publications & Print Production)

Hunger provides an intersection for my fascination with self-sacrifice for the greater good and (me being Welsh and all) a somewhat morbid fascination for the particularly rabid oppression of the Celts by the Saxons. It’s a precise, extremely moving film, and I especially enjoyed it for the contrast between the violent, frenetic pace of its first sequences and the sense of peace and quiet that accompanies the decision to start the hunger strike in the latter half.


Hailey Eisen (Editor)

The Mavericks presentation of The People Speak was an incredible opportunity to see some of Hollywood’s finest discussing American history and politics in a lecture-style setting. The 30-minute screening of the film exceeded expectations, and I can’t wait to see the whole thing. Believe it or not, Howard Zinn is even more impressive in person, and I could certainly listen to Viggo talk politics all day.


Neil Karassik (Staff Writer)

The spirit of Randy “The Ram” Robinson is the ingenious culmination of a dramatic, humorous, suspenseful and utterly harrowing performance by one of Hollywood’s forgotten legends, Mickey Rourke. A career high for both Darren Aronofsky and the entire cast of his film, The Wrestler hits it out of the park in every respect. It’s a perfectly contained, raw work of art that demonstrates the maturation of a young auteur and an aged performer reaching the pinnacle of their respective careers. When can I see it again?!


Ghita Loebenstein (Staff Writer)

Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom is a really savvy update on the adventure film. Packed with nods to heist films, buddy flicks, classic globe-trotters, film noir and classic cons, it’s like taking a whirlwind class in film history – with the delightful Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo as very able guides. Johnson is such an intelligent and whimsical filmmaker. He really takes advantage of the solipsistic experience of cinema.


Eleni Deacon (Copy Editor)

Synecdoche, New York is a film that is both hysterical and horrifying. It was fascinating just to watch Charlie Kaufman’s immense mind at work – even when you’re lost in the chaos. It really pushed my brain.


Caley Moore (Copy Editor)

I loved Waltz with Bashir, an animated documentary about the filmmaker’s personal experience of the 1982 Lebanon War. Full of haunting images, it sifts through long-repressed memories to reach a devastating end.


Tony Halmos (Art Director)

I’ve seen a lot of great films at TIFF this year, but I feel confident that the best is yet to come, because tomorrow morning I’m going to see Soul Power. I just hope we’re going to get on scene like a sex machine.


Liam Willis (Production Manager)

Favourite movie: It Might Get Loud. Reason: Fucking Jimmy Page was there!


Bohdan Chreptak (Photo Editor)

I had a tear-jerk moment which lasted for 10 minutes during Miracle at St. Anna. The end of the film left me emotionally stunned.


Craig Caron (Production Coordinator)

I really liked Adam Resurrected. While I saw a bunch of great flicks, this was the only one that had Jeff Goldblum in it.


Sarah Kim (Production Coordinator)

Synecdoche, New York. How can you go wrong with tiny paintings, excrement and burning buildings?


Elizabeth Beddall (Sid Adilman Mentorship Fellow)

Of all the incredible films I got to see before and during the festival, Maman est chez le coiffeur by Léa Pool stands out as the most unforgettable and the most moving. Pool often turns out films that convey a great respect for children and for their massive – if not overlooked – strength of spirit, but this film does so with a newfound sense of grace and sincerity. In short, it warmed my cynical old heart, and made me cry a bucket of tears – a beautiful little experience.





We just took our chances and bought tickets when we got to Toronto, based on what was available. So we ended up seeing Lost Song, a Canadian film in French. I was shocked that such a poor film could have earned a spot in your schedule - are there some kind of Canadian content requirements that would force the inclusion of such a low quality production? I knew we were in trouble when the introductions before the film began included the cameraman. Singular. The TIFF programmer urged us to have our Kleenexes handy to watch this film. We would have been better advised to have little paperbags at hand - you know the kind I mean, they have them on airplanes.
Comment By Diane Koert At 16/09/2021 6:53 PM
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