Soulmining reports from the Toronto International Film Festival
6th Sep 07
Starting today, we will be publishing daily reports from Soulmining (one of our regular contributors), who is currently out in Canada alongside many of the top people from the film industry. Over the next week or so, he'll be watching many films and partying away the nights whilst reporting for us on TIFF.
Now one of the biggest and best international film festivals alongside Cannes, TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival) runs from September 6th through to the 15th, and top genre films playing this year include (largely thanks to Colin Geddes' superb Midnight Madness section) world premieres of George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead, Dario Argento's Mother of Tears and Adam Mason's latest, The Devil's Chair.
Check back daily for Soulmining's reports on all the parties and film screenings as they happen. Lucky bugger!
Day One The journey over here was pretty smooth, all things considered. I met up with Ian Rattray, Paul McEvoy, Joanna (Paul's girlfriend) and Alf (Ian's Dad) in the check-in queue okay, although somehow avoided trashing the Southern Comfort stand in the Departure Hall (more by luck than judgement) as I sent a bottle flying in my eagerness to get a free shot - amazingly I caught the bottle as it deflected off my shoulderbag, phew!
The flight was fine, the only amusing incident coming when the old fella sitting adjacent to us thought that Paul and I were dancers travelling to some kind of dancing show. Quite.
The Cromwell Furnished Suites
We got a cab to our accommodation, rather worried that the driver had no idea where he was going (which seems to be a recurring theme here...) but we got there eventually. The Cromwell Furnished Suites is an excellent place to stay; it's about three times the size of the room I had in Kings Cross last week at FrightFest, and I also have my own en suite and fully equipped kitchen, plus sofa and desk - oh, and a balcony view!
After a quick freshen up Paul went AWOL so Ian, Alf and I did a quick circuit of the nearby streets then holed up in the nearest pub for a few drinks before bed.
I need to get into the habit of getting up early each morning (since the TIFF screenings start at 9am) so was up early yesterday and got officially checked in at the Cromwell. We're well located for the TIFF screenings, the majority taking place at the Varsity on Bloor Street which is a mere 5 mins walk away. I also had a quick look in a few of the record shops, the only confusing thing being the whole Sales Tax thing, whereby they add taxes to most items so you always have to keep that in mind when you're shopping. The staff are all genuinely friendly and helpful though.
Ian & Paul perusing the film schedule
I met up with Ian and Alf around 1pm and we walked down to the Sutton Hotel which is the central base for TIFF. Ian and I picked up our respective passes (although why Industry folk get an Official Programme book and Press don't, I don't know...) and then went up to The Foxes Den pub to meet up with Paul and Joanna for lunch.
In the afternoon Paul took Joanna and I downtown to his favourite movie theatre in search of a good movie to watch. We were in luck - Rob Zombie's Halloween was about to start, so we got our tickets ($12) and went in. Now, I thought we'd left chav culture behind in the multiplexes of the UK, but no... a couple sat directly behind us and continued to talk loudly during the film despite three attempts by me to shut them up. In the end we moved seats.
The film itself was okay; Paul and Joanna generally liked it and thought it was better than they'd anticipated, for me it was a mixed success - Malcolm McDowell is excellent and Tyler Mane certainly looks the part as Michael Myers. It's also pretty full on for an R-rated horror, with quite a lot of sustained nudity and violence.
However, there's very little suspense and the ending is a little drawn out. Zombie populates the film with his favourite actors (Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, Tom Towles, Danny Trejo etc) which is cool, but more often than not they're minor parts.
After the film we walked around the hip Queen Street area of town (imagine a much larger sprawling version of Camden Town) and then headed to a bar / restaurant called Musa to hook up with Ian and some others. This was a pre-TIFF gathering arranged by Colin Geddes, the Midnight Madness programmer so it was great to finally get to meet Colin in person and his charming assistant Chris.
Sheitan director Kim Chapiron
We were joined for our meal by the writer and director of Sheitan, and then as the evening went on, more and more people dropped by until there was around thirty people gathered together in all.
I chatted to one of the local boys Dev Khanna who has a short film screening at the festival, plus Sue from Eye Weekly (the Toronto equivalent of Time Out) and Bruce Fletcher who runs the Dead Channels festival in San Francisco. A good introduction to the madness to come... and quite amazingly we were quite restrained and back home before midnight.