That’s A Wrap

Fourteen films in 10 days – it’s over too soon and not done soon enough. The Toronto film festival is always a blur of excitement and always welcome at the end of the popcorn season. Every year we get to see films way before they are widely released and some that never again darken a theatre. It’s all part of the fun, as we often know little more than the description in the TIFF guide when we pick them. But by the time it is over, we’re ready to spend a little time on the couch watching the small screen.

I read that the few honours awarded by the festival are from panels with as few as three people on them, so I figure the Popped Culture Awards, with a panel of two is almost as legitimate. (The PCA’s have no monetary value and even less prestige and are ranked by our enjoyment of them and little else. And each film is awarded, so they are a lot like the Gemini Awards.) Check out everyone we saw over at my Flickr site.

Fido – Our first film of the fest and our fave. A zombie comedy, it was not typical film fest fare, but stuck with me long after. It may have a chance at commercial success.

The Fall – A wonderful adult fairytale and the most visually stunning piece we saw this year. Look for it in theatres.

Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing – I wasn’t expecting much from this and it turned out to be a fascinating look at the hell the band went through for the heresy of saying war isn’t the best option.

Everything's Gone Green – Like Garden State set in Vancouver, but with more laughs and less melancholy. Plus it has a kick-ass indie Canadian soundtrack.

This Is England
– Another moving film by Shane Meadows as he mines his childhood for great stories.

Red Road – The last film we saw at the festival and I was impressed that the director was there on a Saturday morning. A Cannes winner, it follows a woman who works in the Glasgow closed circuit TV control room and spots a man she recognizes. How does she know him? What is she going to do? It has some truly uncomfortable moments as the story unfolds. “A real downer, you’ll love it,” said my friend James. He’s right.

Sharkwater – A passionate plea to save the shark population that has been cut by 90% since the 1950s. You’ll never eat shark fin soup again.

Citizen Duane – I didn’t see it as I was off blogging for the Schmooze Party so I missed it, but Gill said she had a good time.

Kabul Express – A political road movie, with more slapstick than insight, but fun nonetheless.

Congorama – An interesting take on nature versus nurture from a rising Quebec director. The province has a fantastic movie culture that we’re lucky to have.

Invisible Waves – A slowly paced, Thai yakuza film with little dialogue and less action. I’d hoped for more, but whatcha gonna do?

The Fountain – Darren Aronofsky’s follow up to Requiem For a Dream left me cold. It’s not a bad film when compared to most, but is pale when compared to his own work.

D.O.A.P. – This won the TIFF critic’s prize and I have no idea how or why. All concept and no follow through, Death of a President had one interesting idea – the assassination of the sitting president – and had little follow up as to what the consequences were. A huge disappointment that is getting by solely on controversy.

A Stone's Throw
– A crusading photographer returns home to Nova Scotia to reconnect with his family as he is losing his eyesight. Far too long and painfully slow, it certainly puts the art film back into the festival.

Of course we had the problem with the no Q&As at the Elgin Theatre - and we're not done with that campaign. And the festival was getting a little harsh with fan photos inside the theatres. I had a staff member tell me to erase my pics of the director of D.O.A.P., though they were hardly consistent in applying it. I know there are piracy concerns, but if stop fans (and bloggers) it will only hurt the festival. Maybe they need to put up shots fron the Q&As up on a website for all to access. It's a thought. Anyway, a great festival – I can’t wait until next year.


  1. Impressive and varied list. Thanks for the recap. I'm miffed at the picture incident though. That seems a bit over done. Any worry from you that TIFF is getting too commercial and unaccesable for the little film lover?

  2. I think that commercialism is there, but you can pick your films to avoid it. Most other years I have avoided picking films with a release date of the same year and this time round I ignored that rule and got The Fountain. Look where that got me.

    The best films are the smaller ones, without distribution, without a huge budget - not because indie is better, but because the filmmakers are almost always there and excited about their work. It makes for a better festival experieice.

    The benefit to TIFF's size is you can make the festival as big or as little as you choose. I lookm forward to reading how the Vancouver festival goes for you.