By John H. Foote
At the end of it all, I would be lying if I said I had the slightest enjoyment of TIFF this year. I missed the energy of the cavernous, crowded Scotiabank Theatre or the spacious, still new Lightbox, the many busy conversations in the audiences before each film, other critics picking your brain, and of course the films, played to absolute, respectful silence. It just was not the same heading into my office, clicking on the TV and choosing my film.
I missed everything about TIFF … everything.
The buzz of the city, encountering former students as I made my way to the screening, finding them in line, waiting patiently, seeing the many friends I have made through the years attending the festival. I miss staying with my daughter and her guy, talking film, being woken by Cheddar, their pesky cat, I missed the memories of previous festivals.
Dropping from over 300 films to 50 left a lot to be desired. So many films could have been here but, for whatever reasons, were not. Why could Wonder Woman 1984 have not premiered here, forgetting the release dates, or Sofia Coppola’s new picture On the Rocks? So many other great films, many from Netflix, expected to dominate the Oscar race once again were available yet chose not to be here.
I wonder why?
The organizers did a terrific job, even making the festival happen, but truthfully it was a pale shadow of previous years. Though I appreciate that TIFF was even held this year, sadly it will not be one for the books, highly unmemorable.
But now that it can be done virtually, is this a preview of the future? I hope not.
Truly, I hope not.
Everything tiresome about a TIFF, even the annual breakdown of the escalator at Scotiabank, yes, I missed.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.