TIFF Today: September 10, 2007
A look at the news and events surrounding the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, and a very quick look at one Canadian short film every day.
I've often heard TIFF being referred to as "the buyer's festival" on account of the big deals and acquisitions that often occur here. The sheer fact that everyone I happen to meet at the Varsity seems to be wearing an 'industry' badge is a testament to that nickname, and the money has already begun being thrown around. The buzz on the street (or at least during the industry screenings at the Varsity) is that Jacques Nolot's Before I Forget has already been picked up by Strand Releasing, and that THINKFilm just paid almost $3 million for Helen Hunt's directorial debut, Then She Found Me.
Not entirely festival-related, Miramax has just acquired the US rights to Fernando Mireilles' new movie Blindness, which just wrapped up shooting in Toronto earlier this month. The film is based on the novel by Nobel-laureate Jose Saramago, and features a great cast including Canadians Sandra Oh, Don McKellar, and Torontonian Amanda Hiebert.
The festival in Toronto also marks the real start of Academy Award speculation season: the name Oscar is being thrown around in lines around Toronto. Cate Blanchett and Javier Bardem already seem to be festival favorites for the acting categories, while the Coen Brothers, Ang Lee, and Gavin Hood are all being mentioned in best film rumors. The buzz is so palpable here that the International Herald Tribune recently ran an article about all the Oscar talk in Toronto so far this year.
While Reuters has been quick to feature the political dimension of the films at this year's festival, one major piece of news that has shaken the political structure of the Canadian film scene was the revelation that one of the nation's top commissioning editors, The Documentary Channel's Michael Burns, has been let go. Rumors among the city's documentarians have it that Burns was let go as part of a corporate shakeup when the channel was acquired by the CBC. I'll have more information about the situation once details are made public.
If you're set on spending a lazy Monday away from work in order to do some celeb stalking, here are some of the big names that will be arriving in town today:
As you can see from the list above, former US president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn will be in town today, and will be talking about their community work, new projects, and their sixty-year marriage as part of Everything to Gain happening at the Ryerson Theatre at 1pm this afternoon.
At the Cumberland at 3:30pm today, Ken Loach will be introducing a screening of Jiri Menzel's 1966 classic Closely Watched Trains. Loach, who has two films at this year's festival, will talk about how this Oscar winning movie and Czech film from the sixties has influenced his work.
And now, a short (100-word) look at a short:
A Short Film About Falling
Celebrated Toronto filmmaker Peter Lynch has teamed up with visual artist Max Dean to create A Short Film About Falling, and experimental film that juxtaposes scenes of various people and things in various states of suspension that can be jarring while evocative at the same time. Everyone and everything in the film seems to be teetering on a precipice or peeking over an edge, to the point that I felt a small sense of vertigo. While I'm sure Lynch and Dean's film says much more than I got on one viewing, I'll have to admit that it's the first time I've ever gasped in horror at the breaking of a chair, and the first time I've ever cheered aloud when that same chair got back up again.
While all the screenings for Max Dean and Peter Lynch's A Short Film About Falling may be done (it screened as part of the Short Cuts Canada 1 programme) you can find out much more about the film at the Eyes Post Group website.
(Image: Still from A Short Film About Falling, via TIFF.)
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