TIFF Special Report

TIFF Special Report from Marguerite Pigott:

Hi all, and welcome to Super U’s first blog from TIFF.  The festival has been going for a few days now, and I honestly don’t know when other folks find the time to blog!  TIFF has been fast and furious, and Canadian films are front and centre. 

I particularly loved Atom Egoyan’s latest, Adoration, and Philippe Falardeau’s film, It’s Not Me, I Swear!  Adoration is, I think, the most emotional film Egoyan has made.  It is vintage Egoyan – cerebral, inquisitive, philosophical and highly original.  But where previous films had an emotional restraint that some find cold, Adoration does not.  The ending was genuinely moving.  Okay, I’ll admit it; Atom Egoyan made me cry.  Whodathunk? 

And Philippe Falardeau’s latest is a wonderful extension of his previous films.  I was a big fan to start with.  I loved Le Moitie Gauche du Frigo and Congorama, so my expectations were pretty high.  As always, he exceeded them.  The story is beautifully balanced between sorrow and comedy, and the performance of the boy at the centre of the film is absolutely remarkable.  When the young actor came on stage after the screening, he got a long, loud standing ovation from the 900 strong crowd. 

Bruce McDonald’s film Pontypool is also getting a lot of attention.  Last year he set the Festival on fire with The Tracey Fragments – an innovative and totally compelling film  – so I couldn’t wait to see Pontypool.  Clearly, a lot of other people felt the same way.  The industry screening was this afternoon, and for the first time, I was turned away from a TIFF screening because the theatre was filled to over capacity.  And there was already a long line of industry types outside the theatre, hoping that people inside might leave, so they could grab their seats.  Brian DePalma got turned away too, so I was in pretty good company.  I’m going to try again on Friday, but if you’re not at TIFF, or if you are at TIFF but you’re averse to line ups, you’ll be able to see it on Super Channel, so keep an eye out for it.

Of course a huge part of TIFF is the parties.  One of the parties I look forward to every year is the Canadian Film Centre barbecue.  In twenty years of CFC barbecues it has never rained, but the CFC’s luck ran out today.  It rained and rained, but the party was still great.  Everyone crowded into a few big, white marquees, and those used to ‘working the room’ learned to ‘work the tent’.  The grounds got very muddy very fast – women wearing high heels gave up and went barefoot. The ankle deep mud in the field-turned-parking lot was evocative of the fields of Passchendaele, so I suppose it was kind of appropriate.  In any case, the party was as great as it has ever been.  The food was good, the company was even better, and maybe the fact that we all defied the weather made the party even a bit more special than usual. 

One of the things I love about the festival, and about the parties in particular, is that they remind me why I work in Canadian film – not always an easy gig, as you know.  Everywhere I turn at the festival, I see people I genuinely care for; people I’ve worked with, people I know from ‘around’ or people whose work I’ve admired for years.  We’ve all made an investment in this industry and in each other, and even when it rains like hell, we all keep showing up. If I have to be soaked with rain and crowded into a tent, I can’t think of a bunch of people I’d rather be with.

I’m going to keep blogging from the festival, so please keep an eye out.  I’ll be posting a ‘market update’ with insight from international sales agent Mark Horowitz of H2O, and at the Strategic Partners conference at the Atlantic Film Festival, I’ll be interviewing Niv Fichman  and Don McKellar (Producer and Screenwriter of Blindness, respectively) at a luncheon sponsored by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.  If you have a question you’d like me to ask Niv or Don, please let me know.  I’ll be posting here after the interview, and I’ll let you know all about it.

Thanks for reading, Marguerite

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