This week saw the kickoff of the Toronto International Film Festival and all the line-ups, cameras, parties, celeb sightings (and stalkings), road closures, red carpet poses, and chaos that go with it. There's something special about TIFF, no question. When else can you walk down the street in this town and overhear two separate conversations about Jim Jarmusch within a single block? It's craziness. But I've got to admit it: TIFF usually makes me cranky. The whole lining up for tickets you've already bought thing makes no sense. (Hello? Ticketmaster somehow deals with you printing off your own concert and theatre tickets at home without the world coming to an end.) And why the herding of audience members outdoors in inclement weather? These people have already paid good money, and waited in good lines, for their tickets. Can they not be trusted to sit in the theatre, rather than queuing up outside like kids waiting to ride Space Mountain, before the movie starts? What's the point of the whole thing, I sometimes wonder.
Enter HuffPost's Spotlight on TIFF blog series. Hearing directly from actors and directors -- from masters such as Atom Egoyan and Alanis Obomsawin -- has been a refreshing reminder of what the festival is really about. It's not just a venue for waiting around and celeb stalking (though Vicki Hogarth can help you with that if legally stalking celebs happens to be your thing). It's the place an incredibly creative, hardworking group of people get to share their deeply felt visions with an audience for the first time. They've put years of energy and emotion into most of these projects. And they've chosen TIFF as the spot where they'll put these projects out there to be judged and sized up, embraced or eaten alive. Looked at that way, TIFF starts to feel more like a privilege than a hassle. More a true celebration of film, and the creative aspirations it reflects, than just a locus of poor customer service and star-worship. I hope you'll keep checking here back in the days to come for more stories from (and about) the minds behind this year's TIFF selections in support of this point.
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