This will be the first time we cover the Toronto International Film Festival (aka TIFF) here at Screen Rant. We’ve been growing a lot lately and are getting to the point where we can bring you more expanded coverage of events like this one. While I can’t attend personally (yet) we have been fortunate enough to snag John Foote, a long-time veteran of the festival to bring us coverage and movie reviews from the festival over its 10 day run.
Here’s his introductory post, giving you a bit of a taste of what it’s like to cover an event like this…
My suitcase is packed, my backpack loaded down with the fat program book that lists the more than 300 films screening at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and in the morning I will drive the fifty or so miles into Toronto to check into my hotel for the next ten days of movie madness.
I have been covering TIFF (which I consider to be the finest film festival on the globe) for the past fifteen years. From humble beginnings in the mid-seventies as “The Festival of Festivals” (a gutsy name to say the least), the film festival was created by three film junkies in Toronto, and became an international event in the eighties, renamed in the nineties under the guidance of Piers Handling, arguably the finest leader TIFF has had.
Now for 10 days every September, the eyes of the cinema world are aimed at Toronto, as Hollywood unveils their major fall releases, smaller films seek buyers for distribution, and films from around the world are screened for the more than 700 critics here in town for the event. For a film junkie, the film festival is an addiction as films start at dawn and screen until midnight.
In fact it’s really hard work.
The average day begins at 6AM when the alarm goes off, and after a shower, breakfast and three cups of coffee, I am in a cab heading towards the Varsity Cinemas for the day’s first screening at 8AM. I will likely see four to five films on any given day, trying to work interviews and press conferences in there as well, making hard decisions about who to meet with, which films to see, and who to annoy by telling them “no.” The danger of not attending an interview is that you make an enemy of the publicist and they have long memories, making it tough to get interviews in the years to come. I try and please everyone, but I do only interviews I am interested in doing, in that sense I remain true to myself. By 10PM, I walk into the hotel room and write for two hours, putting my thoughts down about the films I saw or transcribing the interview(s) I did. By midnight I am done, exhausted and headed to bed.
It begins again at six the next morning…
My girls come down on Saturday each year. My girls of course are my wife Sherri, my oldest girl Aurora, 17, and my little girl Ariana, 9. We as a family have been through so much the last year, as Sherri was diagnosed with a brain tumor, malignant in May of last year. They managed to take half of it out but there is still cancer in her brain, and we deal with that every day. Right now we are in a good place, but at some point, of this there is no doubt, it will rear its ugly head and we will be in trouble. I feel better coming to the festival this year than I did last, which was very difficult. The girls will come and turn my room upside down in a few hours, have a swim, shop, and so some star searching. They may get to see me for a couple of hours, they may not, but when I come in the room to sleep that night, they are there, and for a few hours we are together… and that is all that counts.
This is my first time covering for Screen Rant and I thank Vic for the chance. It is my hope he is happy with my work. I do write regualrly for InContention.com, the top awards site on the net, and am writing for them again at the festival, and for the magazine Filmstar.
Reviews will start tomorrow… hope you enjoy, and please, comment back at me, I love reading what people think, even if you disagree. OK, especially if you disagree!!
For more info about the Toronto International Film Festival, including what films will be premiering there, head over to their official website.