By John H. Foote
After two years of a virtual film festival, meaning most of we critics saw the films via the internet in the comforts of our offices or homes, TIFF is gearing up for the festival to be as it always has been. The Scotiabank Theatre will again be humming with screenings and its lobbies jammed with [press and industry folk wandering from screening to screen from dawn to nighttime. Galas will be held at the Roy Thomson Theatre, and further press and Galas will be held at the Princess Diana, the Winter Garden Theatre and a new venue this year the Royal Alexandra Theatre.
Once again Hollywood will be here is full using TIFF as the years first official Oscar launch. So many of the festival’s films have gone on to Oscar nominations or the Best Picture prize itself. The little Festival of Festivals, brashly launched in the seventies with Bill Marshall leading the way has become arguably the finest film festival on the planet, even days of movies, movies, movies.
I am looking forward to TIFF more than ever because I truly missed it the last two years. You see I discovered it was more than just the films, I missed the energy of the city during TIFF, the explosive energy of the Scotiabank lobby in between screenings when everyone is talking film, what they have seen, what is hot, what is not, it is a huge part of the TIFF experience. God I even missed the annual breakdown of the Scotiabank cinema’s escalator, essential to one handicapped as I am, as getting up three stories to the theatres is a challenge. What always angered me was the second the escalators went down there was a rush of able bodies running for the elevator, making it difficult for us handicaps to get in. Nice. I braved the stairs a couple of times and paid for it dearly all day with explosions of pain up and down my legs, no thanks.
TIFF will be bittersweet this year as the in 2017-2019 I attended with my colleague and friend Nick Maylor, and this year he will not be with me. Nick, battling demons most of his life, took is life in 2020, ending his suffering forever.
I loved Nick as though he were my own son. It will not be the same without him this year.
But I am attending as much for Nick as myself. He would not hear of me not going.
The announcement of the films will begin later this month and as usual great cinema from around the globe is expected. Will Steven Spielberg be here with his The Fablemans? Scorsese with Killers of the Flower Moon? Sarah Polley with Women Talking?
We will know soon enough!
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.