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.

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