Friday, 31 August 2007

Box 66

According to this note at TIFF Reviews, Box 66 is the pick for TIFF 07, and there was a total of boxes. This information is now confirmed and on the TIFF07 website.

I went down at about 9am on Friday Aug 31/07, there was just a bit of a line up* if you wanted to get your choices double checked by a staff member. You could also place your envelope in a box without waiting to have it check. I waiting and had it checked, just in case. Then my picks were placed in box 41 which places me in the 50th out of 75 boxes. Ouchies. I'm glad I added some 2nd choice selections.

How did everyone do?

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Note: Above picture is from the Festival Box Office at College Park Friday Aug 31/07 around 9am. There were 2 line ups, and a volunteer manning a box for dropping of envelops without checking.

* I'd recommend always asking the staff where to go to get into the correct line up (look for someone with a clipboard and/or headset), until you get the swing of things. I'm sure by day 4 we will all be versed in where the box office, ticket holders and rush lines are.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Charts and graphs, oh my!

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Now that I've plotted out and filled out the forms and double checked all my first choices, the question is - to pick 2nd choices or not? I'm so stumped. It took me ages to come up with my list, to do it all over again the logistics of that make my brain hurt! We shall see.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

My list so far

After much deliberation and head scratching moments I've come up with my hopeful list of films to see. I've not yet picked my 'second' choices yet. Considering the films are predominately not star studded, and I've only picked 2 Gala's I have my fingers crossed that my first picks will make it in.

Âge des ténèbres, L
Beyond the Years
Blood Brothers
Cèdre penché, Le
Contre toute espérance
Encounters at the End of the World
Flash Point
Forever Never Anywhere
Gentle Breeze in the Village, A
Glory to the Filmmaker!
I am From Titov Veles
Jar City
Love Comes Lately
Man of Cinema
Mother of Tears, The
My Winnipeg
Nos vies privé
Paranoid Park
Sad Vacation
Shake Hands with the Devil
Stone Angel, The
Sun Also Rises, The
Thousand Years of Good Prayers, A
Trap, The
Under the Same Moon
Voyage du ballon rouge, Le
Wild Horse Redemption

Program breakdown:
12 Contemporary World Cinema
6 Special Presentations
5 Masters
4 Midnight Madness
3 Real to Reel
3 Discovery
3 Vangard
2 Visions
2 Gala
1 Canada First

Country breakdown:
9 Canada
7 European co-pro's
5 Japan
3 France
2 South Korea
2 Asian co-pro's
2 Austria
1 India
1 Ireland
1 Ireland/UK
1 Mexico/US
1 The Netherlands
1 Thailand
1 Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
1 China

As I found a lot of the films I've noted have French titles, here is a quick tip to others
I found really helpful. Some shortcuts to common letters with accents:

â - alt+ 131
é - alt+ 130
è - alt+ 138
ö - alt+ 148

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

First Line up of the Year for TIFF 07

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I arrived bright and early (ok, 8:30am isn't that early...) at College Park to pick up all the things for the next step in the planning process! There were a fair amount of people there, but I arrived 1/2 hour early and once they started letting the line in it only took 20 minutes to get my stuff. Oh, what a happy camper I was to have the official film guide as well as the program book!

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I was floored that when I bought my book I was handed this huge bag and there was all this stuff inside. A co-worked was thrilled and say "Oh! Can I look through your swag?" Swag eh? Sure. Some of it was great stuff like a yellow/green highlighter which you need to fill out your advance order forms, Lindt chocolates and a $5 Starbucks card. There was also a great little put together about the Canadian films at the festival. Top points for that! There was a lot of promotional stuff as well. Here's a picture (I was only expecting the three things on the very left)

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The cat wasn't in the bag, he just likes to be near, in or on them.

Well I know how I will be spending my night, I've got the all the essentials out and ready. All I need now is a cuppa tea.

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How I pick my pic's

I was all ready to set out this post with some complicated reasoning, numerical and colour coded system when I realized something very simple: I haven't made my selections yet so it's a little tough to share how I'll make them.

I've prepared as much as I can til this point. I have my graph paper chart that starts at 8am and goes til 1am, with the dates along the top and each square down represents 15 minutes. I've blocked off the one film I know I am planning on attending (a Midnight Madness) and I've marked off the following morning. I've notated how many films I will attempt to see each day, as well as any other possible scheduling issues in pencil, as well all know it's hard to do anything else when you are trying to pack in 40-50 films in 9 days. I don't include the first day as there isn't a ton showing.

I've made a list of: must see's, looks interesting and research more. I only came up with 28 or so and I'm planning on seeing 40+. Then again, a few things missing before I can make any more progress. Those are....

The official film schedule and the program guide. There are a few sites that have done an amazing job at covering the films including: TIFF Reviews and TOFilmFest. I did pan through both of them but nothing really beats sitting with a cup of tea, a good amount of table space, pen, pencil, paper and highlighters and then cracking open the program guide and looking at each and every page. I think of it as being akin to getting a calendar for a school, many of which are online but it feels different when you hold it in your hands and you can smell the paper and ink. It's a beautiful thing. I'll admit, the photo's also really influence me. This has not always served me well in the past, but remains to be a strong factor in choosing.

In general, I think I will start with the 'must see's' and plot around them. I've realized that one of the driving forces behind my decisions is I want to see films that aren't likely to make regular circulation. After years of writing the weekly newsletter Film Fan Fridays, I've really started to develop the sense of what will make it to regular theatres. I also live in Toronto where we do get quite a large and varied selection of films. Check out the list of 2007 releases so far to get a hint of the variety. I also know that I'm willing to give a film I know nothing about a chance. Some of my favorite festival moments are when you are in a room full of die hard fans but I've known nothing about the film, and then to see those fans when the director comes out? The energy in the room is amazing, there really is nothing like it.

A note on those working on their timing between films - make sure you give yourself a good amount of time between films, especially if you want to stay for the Q&A if there is one. Nothing is worse than feeling rushed when you are already in a hectic situation, and it's really a treasure to get the opportunity to hear what the people involved in the film have to say.

Well, now it's less than 12 hours until the schedule and books are available which means it's time for some shut eye. Sleep well my friends; there is a wild ride ahead.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

How to pick.. the pic's?

Previously I have always made my screening selections at TIFF almost exclusively with respect to time - and time constraints. This year, it's WIDE open and with so many possibilities it's made me think about what I want to see and why. This has also been on the minds as many others (what else are we suppose to do before we get the full schedule anyhow?), and my favourite description this year by far is Crunchy Squirrel's post here.

I think the most important thing to consider when making your selections, is to know yourself and to know what you want to get out of the festival this year. I'm sure that sounds like common sense, but sometimes we forget. We think "Oh, yes.. I *will* get up early and get to that 8am screening" when we know we are really a night owl and this is unlikely. Or "I am going to do whatever it takes to see the new super cool thing, even though I have no interest in the content" now, are we really going to like it? It is possible, but is it worth the risk?

So, I suggest think about what you want. Do you want to see the stars? Gala's are the way to go. Want to see films before they hit the regular theatres? Check out the Special Presentations. Looking to see up and coming talent so you have those great stories and memories later? Check out Canada First! and Discovery Programs. Want a taste of worlds near and far? Contemporary World Cinema is the way to go.

One method a colleague of mine shared last year was that she sees no American releases. I thought that was quite interesting way to do it. Another person I spoke to mentioned not watching multiple subtitled films in a row. Fascinating. We are all different people and have different rational behind what we want to see and what we are willing to do to see it.

There are many methods of choosing and many factors to consider when pulling together your picks. In my next post, I will let you know how I make my selections.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Monday, 20 August 2007

TIFF Memories

After pouring through the TIFF 'Your blogs', I've been fascinated by hearing all the stories of the past and the building of anticipation for this year. Coming in this year I thought of myself as a bit of a veteran but then I read this post at Hana's Dreaming and well, it will be a while before I can say it's my 17th festival. Kudo's to you!

Now, that got me thinking about memories of the festival and the most recent ones come to mind. In the past five years three of those have been spent working at the festival and believe me there are many memories during that time. 2007 marks the first year that I'm going where I have no other time obligations for the duration of those early September days. However, I think one of my fondest memories was my first time at TIFF.

I remember there was a huge crowd. I had no idea what we were seeing. No clue. I don't even remember having a ticket (I'm sure I did though!), but just waving through the crowds in the Cumberland and everything felt so wild. It felt more like theatre than film. There were reserved seats - in a movie theatre! Who could they be for? I don't think at this time I really knew what a film festival was, and back then it was still called The Festival of Festivals. When the crowd finally settled down and the film started rolling - it was in black and white. What is this I thought? I thought it was going to be something new. But it was new, and hilarious. One of the funniest movies I've seen. It was Kevin Smith's Clerks. At the time it was such a perfect fit for comedy for me as I was working retail and had me in stitches from laughter. I'm not sure when that would have been but seeing as has it at 1994 were are talking quite a while ago. Who knew it would be the beginning of what is happily becoming a yearly ritual?

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

More Midnight Madness!

The titles of the 2 films rounding out the Midnight Madness schedule have been revealed and I couldn't me more excited!

First up: The Mother of Tears (dir: Dario Argento). It's the third in The Three Mothers trilogy which also includes Suspiria and Inferno. How exciting. I still remember watching Suspiria for the first time as a part of an Italian Film Class at OCA, and during the discussion my fellow students were just tearing it to pieces. I couldn't disagree with them more, and I had no quams saying so! I thought it was great film, it presented itself for exactly what it was: a campy horror flick. Was it predictable? Yes! Was it funny? Yes! Was it scary? Yes! Would I see it again? Yes! Needless to say I'm excited to see The Mother of Tears.

Second Up: Sukiyaki Western Django (dir: Takashi Miike). A spaghetti western Takashi style, in English? I can't even imagine what that will be like, other than: wild! I think instead of trying to imagine it, I'll just go see it!

Another two phenomenal films to add to my 'to see' list.

Click here for more info on TIFF 07

Click here for TIFF 07 Midnight Madness films
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