Tuesday, 20 September 2011

TIFF 2011 Wrap Up

The dust has settled and I'm looking back of the experience of this year's TIFF. I saw 15 films this year and had a really high success rate on films to enjoy, appreciate and discover. Many will stay with me forever (Snowtown and Tyrannosaur), many I look forward to seeing again and again (The Raid) and many have been added to the want-to-see-list that I'll have to keep an eye out for as the year goes by. Now let's look at of my favourite moments and films of this year's festival.

Favourite Film: The Raid

Overall Stand out Films: Snowtown, Sleepless Night / Nuit blanche and Tyrannosaur

Best Performances (ladies): Olivia Colman in Tyrannosaur, Cherry Pie Picache in Fable of the Fish / Isda and Simone Jackson in Wuthering Heights

Best Performances (gents): Peter Mullan in Tyrannosaur, Daniel Henshall & Lucas Pittaway in Snowtown, Nopachai Jayanama in Headshot / Fon Tok Kuen Fah, Nick Stahl in 388 Arletta Avenue and Jonny Powell in Wuthering Heights

Arthouse Awesome: i am a good person i am a bad person, Swirl / Girimunho and Headshot / Fon Tok Kuen Fah

Hardest Film to Watch: Snowtown

Biggest Surprize: Extraterrestrial / Extraterrestre not being a science fiction film, but a romantic comedy (and actually was really funny).

They made my cry: I think I was tearless this year.

They made me laugh: Extraterrestrial / Extraterrestre

Standing Ovations: Tyrannosaur

Best Experience: Midnight screening of Sleepless Night / Nuit blanche and daytime screening of The Raid.

Best Q&A's: Extraterrestrial (frantic), Headshot (dry & hilarious) & The Raid (enthusiastic audience)

Weirdest Q&A question: Did you know it would end that way? (Answer: Yes, it was in the script) in the Fable of the Fish Q&A.

Still has me thinking: Snowtown

Most impressive first feature: Paddy Considine's Tyrannosaur

Weirdest reoccurance in the films: Cut up animals. And not just in the Midnight Madness films, in several others as well.

Go Audience: Someone during the screening of The Incident came over to the guy texting in the second row and asked him to turn his phone off, and he did. Thank you guy! The guy who spoke up, not the texter...

Odd collective experiences: I'm surprized the anti-piracy 'Arggggggg!' still has it's hold outs. I wonder if they will always be there. And the sort of less enthusiastic clapping for the volunteer promo, because there isn't a moment where it says 'show appreciation for', which is usually does, but people still clap out of the ritual of habit.

Fullest Screenings: Most screenings were pretty packed, but 388 Arletta Avenue and Trespass were the fullest.

This looks familiar: I oddly ended up almost exclusively in the same theatres: AMC 2 & 7, Ryerson & The Elgin.

Random Learning: If I don't have a ticket, I won't go. I planned on seeing the free screenings of The Story of Film during the week, but even after hearing the screenings weren't full I didn't make it out.

New this year for me: Going to a 'Big Hollywood Movie'! at the festival with Trespass, which confirms it's not worth doing - especially if no one from the film is there. I also snuck out on the festival to see the regular releases of Warrior and Drive (which played at the festival but I saw it in the regular theatre), which felt like cheating on the festival.

Favourite Program: Midnight Madness and Vanguard, and I continue to find great Canadian films in the Contemporary World Cinema program.

Wish I hadn't missed: With only seeing 15 when I normally see 40, there are so many I wished I saw at the festival including The Hunter, Pina, First Position, The Day, You're Next, Lovely Molly, Kill List, Keyhole, Coriolanus, Juan of the Dead, Lena, Undefeated, Doppleganger Paul, UFO in Her Eyes, The Moth Diaries, Sons of Norway and the entire Canada First! program.

Unbelievable Moment: Being literally a few feet away from Indonesian martial artist Iko Uwais as he shared he's moves during the Q&A for the afternoon audience of the screening of the Midnight Madness film The Raid (see video here).

Overall it was quite a different year for me but still got to see a lot of amazing films. The first film I saw was The Raid and from my Day 3 Vlog I thought it would be my favourite and that held true after seeing an additional 14 films. I had lots of learning this year from not sitting super close at Scotia 2 if I want a good view for the Q&A to knowing I won't go to a screening without a hard ticket in hand. I did have a great time, especially watching the Midnight Madness films which most of which I went to daytime screenings of and it might be fun to try and see them all during the day to see what that is like as an experience. Ah, the dust has barely settled and I'm already planning next year's experience....

The Toronto International Film Festival 2011 ran from September 8 - 18, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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