MCN Columnists
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

TIFF Dispatch Day Four: Mixed Bag

I ran into a friend today who mentioned that he was enjoying these dispatches and wanted me to keep writing them. So here you go, this one’s for you.

Today was a real mixed bag for me, screening-wise. I logged about four hours sleep last night and woke up with my head aching and stuffed up, which pretty much confirmed that it was, in fact, my friend’s cooties and not the Clint Eastwood film that was making me feel like crap yesterday.

I dragged my butt out of bed anyhow after repeatedly hitting “snooze” and somehow managed to get over to the Scotiabank in time for the early screening of the Julian Schnabel film, Miral. Miral was good enough, but not great. I think I would have liked for it to focus more specifically on the school for Palestinian orphans and the woman who founded it, Hind al-Husseini, but it is what it is. More on it later.

Next up was Africa United, about a group of young African kids who travel alone from Rwanda to South Africa for the world cup. I was pretty “meh” on that one, unfortunately.

I (and, it seemed, most everyone else in the packed theater) fared much better with the new Michael WinterbottomThe Trip starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon — which, as I learned over dinner tonight, is actually an improvised television series that was cut into the film for the fest. Lots of appreciative laughter during that one. I think we all needed it after seeing lots of dark, depressing films here.

Lastly, I caught Cool It, the new doc from Ondi Timoner (We Live in Public). This time around she’s focusing her camera on controversial environmentalist Bjørn Lomborg, who makes a pretty compelling argument that’s not against the idea that global warming is a problem, while also positing that the greater issue lies in how much we are spending for very small gain.

Good stuff, more of a follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth than an argument against it, and Lomborg is a pretty fascinating guy. Stylistically, it doesn’t look much like an Ondi Timoner film, but she does a good job of breaking down a lot of very complex information into more reasonable portions.

Couple of thoughts about Toronto and TIFF: First, the subway here rocks. We are staying up in Yorkville still because so many of the celebs are up this way and that makes it easier for David to haul all the crap they need to shoot all the DP/30s. But because we’re very near the subway, I can get down to the Scotiabank pretty quickly, and the subways mostly don’t smell too nasty. I’ve been on them very late at night by myself and never felt at all unsafe.

Also? The people here are very politely Canadian and if you are directionally challenged as I happen to be, they are unfailingly helpful in pointing you the right direction, or telling you where the nearest open coffee shop is at 11:30PM. I do need to spend my Canadian coins, though, because I always forget that the coins are actually money, too, and right now I have maybe $20 in Loonies and $1 coins weighing down my wallet.

And lastly, can I just say: Please be nice to the volunteers. I’ve seen a couple of press and industry folks (I’m not naming names, but you know who you are) being a bit pissy with the volunteers and really, that is so not cool. I’ve noticed that at the public screenings people applaud the volunteers very enthusiastically, and that the volunteers seem pleased when that happens.

But at the P&I screenings there’s maybe a smattering of appreciative clapping; I think we folks who work in this business can sometimes get a little too full of ourselves and feel entitled, and we forget what a privilege it is not only to BE at this fest but to be paid by someone to be coming here.

If you are here at TIFF for work, you have a Very Cool Job and you are lucky as hell not to be mining away in a cubicle farm or flipping burgers or whatever, and the volunteers at this fest are here giving their time for free to make OUR jobs easier. So be nice, greet them when you walk in the door of the Scotiabank as if they are actual people who are just as important as you are (because guess what, they are), thank them for volunteering, applaud them. That’s all.

Be Sociable, Share!

2 Responses to “TIFF Dispatch Day Four: Mixed Bag”

  1. Andy says:

    As a Torontonian, I don’t think I’ve ever thought to myself that our subway system “Rocks” 🙂 but you are right that it is very safe, at any time of night, and mostly doesn’t smell too bad!

    Loved The Trip (loved Tristam Shandy as well) I could stand to see a Steve and Rob movie every couple of years forever, they are just good fun together. I was pleasantly surprised to hear it will be a TV series on BBC2 (looks like its airing later this month or next month), I will be sure to seek it out for a rewatch.

  2. Del Anneler says:

    Hey awesome, this has been a awesome help to me, I have had some really hard trouble in my personal life recently and it is strange how certain things can really pick you back up or make you look differently on the rubbish stuff and get busy with the other things in life. Anyway thank you.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon