By Karen McDevitt, CBS Detroit Blogger
I arrived late Wednesday for my third Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and headed straight for the box office on King Street.
Lines were long outside the door, and longer once inside!
Everyone is nice, though, friendly and helpful. We’re all talking movies, tickets, directors, last year’s hits, this year’s hopefuls. Still in line after 45-minutes, but having a blast.
Fortunately, I am here with 51 fellow Friends of the Detroit Film Theatre, the Detroit Institute of Arts Auxiliary, and we are guaranteed tickets to at least six movies. I’m very glad that one of our films, “Something in The Air” (which I will see on Sunday morning), is on the list of “The 10 Most Important Films of the Festival” according to today’s Toronto’s Globe and Mail.
Am I excited? Yes, indeed! It’s not just the films, it’s the festival experience that makes this trip one of the best. The fact that Detroiters are only a four-hour drive away from this beauty is simply icing on the cake.
If you’ve not been to Toronto, well, that needs to be rectified immediately. If you’ve not been to TIFF, start planning now for 2013. Considered by many on the film festival circuit to be second only to Cannes, this year over 370 films will be screened in Toronto, beginning tonight and running through next week.
Here’s the coolest part: Started in 1976, TIFF has grown in size and stature but maintains its movie-goer-friendly attitude. Sure there are stars – tons of them, including Bruce Willis, Ryan Gosling, Gwyneth Paltrow, Johnny Depp, Kristen Stewart, Robert De Niro, etc. — but here at TIFF #37, the filmmakers are equally featured attractions while filmgoers have the opportunity to mingle with many and vote for the best.
At TIFF, it’s the People’s Choice Award that rules. Yes. The people. We rate the feature-length films we see. Past winners include none other than The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, American Beauty, Strictly Ballroom, The Princess Bride, The Big Chill, and Chariots of Fire.
This year I am especially hopeful for Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” Mira Nair’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” and Robert Redford’s “The Company You Keep.” Flipping through my 456-page catalogue, I find myself wishing only for more time here at this unbelievably fantastic film event. I want to see Mike Newell’s “Great Expectations,” starring Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter, and Ralph Fiennes. And Liz Garbus’s “Love, Marilyn” with Elizabeth Banks, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei, Adrien Brody. And, oh my, so many other greats.
The Wachowski brothers of “Matrix” fame, along with Tom Tykwer (who directed one of my all-time favorites, Run Lola Run) are premiering their production of “Cloud Atlas,” a super hot ticket at TIFF. And the Dustin Hoffman-directed Quartet with Maggie Smith and Billy Connolly is also having its world premiere. There is so much more, and all of these screenings will be taking place in walking distance from my hotel. How great is that?
It all starts today. I’ll be heading out to the beautiful Elgin Theatre for the 9:30 screening of “Rust and Bone,” directed by France’s Jacques Audiard. Am I excited? Well, along with tens of thousands of other film cinephiles who are here at TIFF 2012, I can’t wait to get going. After all, I take my voting responsibilities to heart.
Karen McDevitt, Ph.D., is a professor of film studies and journalism at Wayne State University who’s blogging about the Toronto Film Festival for CBS Detroit.