MCN Columnists
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

TIFF Dispatch Day One: Ups and Downs

I’m starting to feel settled and in the groove now that I’m getting acclimated to being back in Toronto. It was just about a year ago that I attended my first day of the fest going full force and then wound up being taken by ambulance to the hospital on Day Two, where I spent the duration of the fest.

Given how grim things looked when I was finally discharged and allowed to return to Seattle for medical treatment at home, it feels good, really good, to be fully back on my feet immersed in covering Toronto just a year later.

I think this year’s slate is one of the best they’ve had since I’ve been coming to Toronto, and I am excited to see the many potentially great films on my slate and to dive into the fest routine of seeing as much as possible and writing as much as possible, hopefully mostly coherently. And, of course, I’m looking forward to catching up with friends I haven’t seen since last year.

We headed downtown to the new fest headquarters at the Hyatt Regency (more or less) bright and early — adjusting to the East Coast time change is always a bit of a bitch the first night, so I did sleep in just a wee bit after a late night of writing and listening to the rowdy frat party across the street.

We grabbed our badges and headed to the Scotiabank for some screenings, where my day kicked off with some action and laughs courtesy of Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen, which I enjoyed the hell out of. Went straight from that into Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu‘s relentlessly dark and depressing tragedy, Biutiful, which I loved, but … MAN.

Hoping to bang out reviews on both of those before I crash for the night, and finish watching a screener, too. Then I have to pack it in and get a few hours sleep, because tomorrow I have four, maybe five films that I really want to catch, plus, of course, lots of writing. Will be fueling on energy bars and coffee most of the day, but there might be time for an actual dinner later on, hopefully with friends. Stay tuned … more TIFF coverage coming.

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One Response to “TIFF Dispatch Day One: Ups and Downs”

  1. Senh says:

    Good to hear you liked Legend of the Fist. I’m looking forward to it, when it comes out on DVD.

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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