I received several emails this week from folks who wanted to know more about my experience at the Toronto International Film Festival, so I thought I would offer a few insights:
1. TIFF, like most film festivals, hands out a lot of credentials to journalists and industry personnel. With the explosion of the blogosphere, there are quite a few web-only reporters but unfortunately many of them are only looking for “celebrity” news. During the press conference for Ides of March, George Clooney embarrassed one reporter who asked the star about his romantic life.
“Go tell your editor that you asked that question,” said Clooney. The reporter shrunk to a few inches tall.
2. "Industry" personnel include producers, distributors, theater owners and people who buy films for cable television and airlines. Industry folks easily outnumber press.
3. There are parallel schedules for press/industry and the public. Press/industry screenings are held at different venues, far from the public screenings. It’s a shame. I always make certain to divide my viewings to include as many public screenings as possible. It’s wonderful to talk with people who have taken a vacation day to stand in line for two hours to watch one movie. Their love for film is infectious. Conversely, the press are usually blase about the experience and readily complain about everything.
4. You would be surprised how accessible TIFF is. There are more than 200 films showing and fans have just as much of a chance to see a world premiere as the press does.
5. The volunteers at TIFF are the backbone of this world-class affair. They’re always smiling, always helpful and they volunteer to stay on their feet 10 hours a day for10 days straight. Amazing.