The world’s most important film festival is starting, and I am excited again!

The Toronto International Film Festival has overtaken Cannes in recent years, not just for attendance, but as the proving grounds for the Academy Awards. The past four Oscar winners for best picture bowed here – The King’s Speech, The Hurt Locker, No Country For Old Men, and Slumdog Millionaire. Departed snuck in between those four and another TIFF entry, Crash.

Picking which films to attend is always problematic, as early indicators of popularity or importance are unreliable. Actually getting tickets is trickier yet. The arcane and incomprehensible system has you pick time slots you wish to attend in early July, and find out the movies in those slots in late August. yes, you can pick up tickets for the daytime showings, but all the high profile films are exempt from those packages.

Still, despite the uncertainty, or perhaps because of it, TIFF is exciting. You don’t really know when you will see a gem or a stinker. Last year, the very first movie I saw was The King’s Speech, and I knew then it would at least be nominated for best picture. You get surprises and disappointments, and with a few of them, indelible memories. Hearing the film makers and stars speak about the films is enlightening – Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and director Tom Hooper were fascinating. Others, the stars show up for the galas, then merely wave. Last year long time faves Clint Eastwood and Woody Allen took to the mike – who cared that it wasn’t for their best work. I finally saw them in person!

This year my friend Chuck Kahn & I will hear a talk from Francis Ford Coppola before his latest – Twixt – is screened. Chuck is the perfect person to see these with as he is a noted film and TV editor (Away From Her, Paschendale, Being Erica), and frequently sees/interprets films differently from me – which makes for better conversation. Coppola’s string of 70s movies alone make this an event I’m eagerly anticipating.

I will be making up for my negligence in blogging here for the past few months while moving (buying, selling, renovating, going broke in the process) by doing so regularly over TIFF. 

Alright, off tonight to see Willem Dafoe in The Hunter….

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