Tuesday, 26 August 2008

TIFF'08 - Scheduling Considerations and First Film Selections

Tomorrow the public film schedule will be announced for TIFF'08 - are you ready?

I certainly thought I would but after lots of print outs, a numbering system and a spreadsheet later I'm feeling a little more lost than normal. Last year I wrote about How to pick the pics, How I picked my pics and finally Why I picked my pics, and the info there all still stands up well.

Initially my plan was to see all the Midnight Madness, Canada First! and as much other Canadian, Asian film as I could and of course, anything martial arts or science fiction that is included in the line up. That was my plan when I applied for media accreditation, but I didn't get in this year so we are back to no limitations. I think I'll still hold true to most of that pattern but likely will not see 'all' of any one program. There are also many more documentaries that I'm interested in that I had anticipated. Although

First, lets look at some considerations in terms of scheduling/timing.

Sunday morning - Subway opens at 9am
If you are travelling by TTC, remember that the Subway opens approximately 9:00am on Sunday mornings. If you are planning to go to an early screening make sure you can get there. There are many 24 hr streetcar routes including the 501 Queen, 504 King, 505 Dundas and 506 Carlton.

Midnight Madness films - Subways close approximately 1:30am
If you are going to check out the Midnight Madness screenings (and you should - they are a lot of fun!) remember to plan your trip home. If you are a TTCer, make note that the subway closes approximately 1:30am daily. There are many 24 hr streetcar routes including the 501 Queen, 504 King, 505 Dundas and 506 Carlton.

Know what you can and can't see as per your pass
Many of the patrons who purchased passes have noticed that there pass will not get them into premium screenings. This includes Roy Thomson Hall (same as last year) and the Elgin "Visa Screening Room" (change from 2007). If your pass has limitations, and most of them do (i.e. 1 ticket per screening, 4 tickets per order, start time is prior to 5:01pm), make sure you know what they are so you can get the full benefit of your pass. Read everything that comes with your tickets and packages.

Decide what you want to see / what experience you want to have
Everyone will have a different TIFF experience, so think about what you are looking for. Do you want to see the filmmakers? Then try to see those films early in the festival. Looking for celebrites? Roy Thomson Hall and the Elgin have the big names at their screenings. Want to see things that are obscure so you can wow your friends? Browse the lists until you find it! Want a wild and crazy crowd? Go to Midnight Madness - there is nothing like it!

Know your strenghts and limitations:
If you aren't an early bird, this likely isn't the time that you can change your pattern so schedule films not first thing in the morning. Some thing with piling on the films in one day, if you don't think you can do more than two - don't! Enjoy those two and save the rest for later. But, if you know you can sit through a whole day at one theatre, go for it. If you are willing to run out during the credits then schedule films tightly, but if you want some flex time to stay for Q&A's give yourself more of a buffer between films.

Now, the next big question is - what to see?
What I did was went through a printable film list by program from over at TOfilmfest and gave each film a number based on interest and how available I thought the film would be:

1 - Must See
2 - Strongly interested
3 - Mildly interested
4 - Wouldn't not see
5 - No, due to content or assumed tickets not available.

The plan was to only have about 5 must see's but currently the number is sitting closer to 25. I'm planning on seeing about 40 films so it seems unlikely to get all 25 of those in just in terms os scheduling constrants alone - but I'm open to the possibility.

A little explantion for "Wouldn't Not See" means that the films didn't grab me, but there was no indication that the film included content that I would find disturbing or regret to see later.

Here are my current 'must see's'. All may change in a mere few hours when the scheudle is available but here's to hoping! The rationale is a mix of films that will likely only be available to see at a festival, a strong leaning to Canadian films and Midnight Madness films. I also like to see a film from a country that I've not seen any films from before. I also like to take a chance on a few films that I know almost nothing about because you never know when you will find a gem. I've excluded the majority of Gala/Special Presentations as they appear to be mostly screened at Roy Thomson/Elgin which I can't see on my pass.

Must-See List:

The Good, The Bad, The Weird
Dir: Kim Jee-woon
I've been talking about this kimchi western for ages and I do not want to miss the opportunity to see it. The trailer is awesome.

Ashes of Time Redux
Dir: Wong Kar-wai
I'm a huge Wong Kar-wai fan and therefore really looking forward to his latest film. My only hesistation is that I've not seen the original Ashes of Time.

Dir: Atom Egoyan
I'm not sure there will be an available screening for this but I can always hope. Atom Egoyan films always thought provoking as well as beautiful, which is a lovely combination.

Dir: Matt Tymauer
Anything about fashion will peak my interest. Again, I'm not holding my breath that the film will be available to passholders.

Achilles and the Tortoise
Dir: Takeshi Kitano
This is the third film in Takeshi Kitano's trilogy which also included Takeshis' and Glory to the Filmmaker - both films I saw at previous TIFF's so I can't imagine letting this one pass by without seeing it.

White Night Wedding
Dir: Baltasar Kormakur
This is my 'country to explore' choice as it's from Iceland.

Été sans point ni coup sûr / No-Hit No-Run Summer
Dir: Francis Leclerc
French Canadian film set in 1969 starring Roy Dupuis from the director of Looking for Alexander / Mémoires affectives in a film about family and baseball,

Toronto Stories
Dirs: Sook-Yin Lee, Sudz Sutherland, Davide Weaver, Aaron Woodley
You can't get more Toronto than a film about Toronto. I'm really looking forward to this one which is a film of four stories each shot by a different Toronto director.

Dir: Bruce McDonald
Small town Ontario zombie movie by Bruce McDonald. Need I say more? Didn't think so.

Dir: Hajime Kadoi
Japanese film about a prision guard who goes on vacation.

Dirs: Ingrid Veninger, Simon Reynolds
Two 12 year olds in Northern Ontario embark on a journey. Sounds good to me!

Blind Loves
Dir: Juraj Lehotsky
Documentary on blind people finding love.

At the Edge of the World
Dir: Dan Stone
Eco-warriors on a pirate voyage. Current day. Yep, I'm in.

Dungeon Master
Dir: Keven McAlester
Documentary on 3 D&D players. Films about gaming are an automatic 'yes' for me.

It Might Get Loud
Dir: David Guggenheim
Documentary on guitar players Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White.

Mémoire des anges / Memories of Angels
Dir: Luc Bourdon
Documentary of the NFB and their role in Canadian film and including numerous clips from NFB films.

Real Shaolin
Dir: Alexander Sebastien Lee
Documentary following four students as they go through training in the Shaolin temple in China.

Yes Madam, Sir
Dir: Megan Doneman
Documentary on th efirs woman police officer in India: Karin Bedi.

Dir: Mabrouk El Mechri
Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as himself in a comeback story that appears to blend truth and fiction. Opening night Midnight Madness Film.

Dir: J.T. Petty
Western with possible supernatural tendencies, in a reinvention of John Ford's The Searchers.

Eden Log
Dir: Franck Vestiel
Midnight Madness + Science Fiction = yes.

Dir: Prachya Pinkaew
Woman martial artist Jija Yanin kicks butt, from the director who brought us Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior and The Protector / Tom yum goong. Closing night Midnight Madness Film.

Those are my front runners! How about you, any must sees itching on your list?

The Toronto International Film Festival 2008 runs from September 4-13/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Jamie said...

Omg, there's so much that looks good. No wonder your must-see list got big! I'll be crossing my fingers for you.

And thanks for all the tips and insights into things to consider. That's so helpful.

Bob Turnbull said...

Damn straight I'm ready...I'm heading down to the lineup in about half an hour. Can't wait to start perusing the book. Like you I already have a bunch of preferences picked out, but the scheduling will throw that for a loop. I expect that the screencaps for films I didn't even initially consider will likely give me new ideas too.

See ya in line!

Anonymous said...

And I thought 25 tickets would be enough!

Good luck getting your top picks!

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Well, the big dissapointment is that The Good, The Bad, The Weird is only playing 2 times are both are 'Premium tickets'. I'll likely shell out the cash just because I do want to see it that much.

Bob - I musta missed you in line! There were tons of people there when I got there at 8:30AM. They opened early at 9 instead of 10. I can't wait to read up on .. well.. everything!

Bob Turnbull said...

Ah, I figured they must've opened early. I got there about 9:40 or so and was done within 15-20 minutes. Line moved fast. I think there was an indoor line too, but likely not as long (though I must say, the outdoor one was only a couple hundred people - much better than I expected).

Of course pickup will be something totally different...

Daniel said...

What. An. Event.

Maybe some day...

Good thoughts about working the schedule!

Anonymous said...

Oh my. All of the titles on your list sound interesting. Good luck with the scheduling and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!

theonlysandman said...

Saw JarCity, same director as White Night Wedding, last year and it was awesome.

Definatly seeing White Night Wedding!

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