MCN Columnists
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

TIFF Dispatch Day Three: The Best Laid Plans

I’ve finally gotten myself to the point of feeling more or less fully immersed in my Toronto routine (read: catching my sleep in four hour power sessions, fueling on coffee and Balance bars all day when there’s no time to eat between back-to-back screenings and Starbucks runs out of paninis, spending so much time in dark screening rooms that the sunlight, when you do come out, hurts your eyes) and have mastered the subway. I’ve seen 11 films in three days, and it’s getting to be kind of a blur (thank you, publicists who hand out press notes for us weary film crickets).

As those who know me best can attest, I can be a wee bit OCD about certain things, and one of them is my schedule — once I’ve sat down and figured out what my plan for the day is, I really don’t like it to change. But as anyone who attends a fest like Toronto regularly can also attest, the best laid plans at any major fest not only can go awry, they almost certainly will. So I try very hard to adopt a Buddhist-inspired detachment to preferring my schedule to not change here.

So I had my schedule for today pretty much nailed down on the flight here, and then last night it got all kinds of screwed up. First, I realized the Hereafter screening was today, and I wanted to see that which meant missing the Mike Leigh which means I now have to find a way to work that in. So I squeezed in Hereafter following the screening of Let Me In.

I have a full review of Let Me In coming shortly, but first I have to say: Honestly, how is it possible that any press or industry person attending that screening would NOT know that it was a remake of a vampire film? It must be possible, because the woman two seats from me kind of freaked out, and there was a flurry of sudden walkouts after the first big blood scene. Hello, folks, you work in this business, right? … So maybe do a bit of research next time, eh?

Then I got an email from a publicist friend about a 6PM public screening of the Nigel Cole directed, Sally Hawkins/Bob Hoskins starrer Made in Dagenham, which I’m glad I made room for because I really enjoyed it. Great empowering movie about women, with a vibe reminiscent of Cole’s 2003 film Calendar Girls. Very fun film, and I’d love for my teenage daughter to see it.

The most unusual change I made today, though, was to do something I never do at a fest — see a movie a second time. Last night I saw It’s Kind of a Funny Story — directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, whose previous work I’ve greatly admired. And yet after last night’s screening I felt very mixed on the film. I laughed, a lot, but there were moments that made me groan as well. I pondered it over dinner and on the way home and as I wrote up some other reviews, and finally emailed the publicist to ask for a ticket to the public screening so I could give it a second chance.

Suffice it for now to say I’m glad I did, and a full review will be forthcoming.

< rant >I also feel the need to say a few words here about press and industry people who continue to use their damn cell phones at screenings, and those words are: Stop it. Just stop. I have now had to ask people more than a dozen times in three days to please turn their phones off, and I know I’m not the only one. One guy actually answered his phone and started TALKING during Never Let Me Go. Seriously.

So please, if you are so very busy and important that you just cannot go “dark” for 100 minutes at a time, do the rest of us a favor and stay away from the screenings altogether and go about your other terribly important business. Because You. Are. Annoying. No, really, you are. Even if you’re just checking the time, or you got a message, or whatever. I don’t care, and neither does anyone else around you. You are pissing the rest of us off, so please stop it. < /rant >

Anyhow … it was just one of those very long days that happen at TIFF — hit and miss on the films, no time to eat, tired from getting four hours sleep a night, waaaaay to much caffeine so I am all hopped up and jittery, and on top of that I do believe a friend I sat with at a screening infected me with his cold. On the plus side, I’ve seen many of my good friends who I haven’t seen since last year … and one person who thought I had died after last year’s fest and was surprised to see me.

There’s no crying in film fest coverage, though — unless it’s the good kind from a movie — so onward.

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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