TIFF 2011 – The Year Without a Pass
As the summer has stumbled to a rainy, muggy finish, the plethora amount of tweets about #tiff11 this year has left me with a bit of a lump in my throat and I have to admit I feel a bit left out. For the past five years I’ve been a TIFF Staff Member during the festival, cavorting each year in a different venue with different staff and new friends.
I began in 2006 in the extremely glamourous Phone Room (aka, the Fish Bowl) in 2007 I graduated to the Manulife Box Office (R.I.P) then in 2008 I nearly quit after my experiences at the atrocious AMC Festival Box Office (good riddance) 2008 was the year I somehow turned into a Gate Scanning supervisor and lived like a troll in the basement of the Cumberland and last year I was in charge of the AMC Venue Box office and ate schnitzel from Pumpernickels every other day.
In all this time, I took full advantage of my staff access to see as many press screenings and public screenings as I could, while working 8-10 hours a day for the entire festival (and the pre-festival!) and for the first few years, trying to fit university courses into account as well. (In all honesty, I rarely attended those weeks of school, but I already have my degree now so nyah nyah nyah.)
My first year of working at TIFF (not my first year of attendance however!) I strapped myself into a 4 hour double bill of Johnnie To’s Election & Election 2 at the Al Green Theatre (which is no longer a TIFF cinema) and spent a good number of my other vouchers in the dank basement of the ROM for films such as Abeni and Macbeth. It was my first year doing the full festival and I was a little bit of a novice when it came to long nights and schedule cramming, but I would improve! I In 2007 I remember being enthralled by Stuck, Sukiyaki Western Django,Flash Point and Dainipponjin at Midnight Madness. In 2009 I was the last person admitted in a rush line for I Am Love and felt my world melt away and then, in contrast, was presented with a different kind of parent in Mother. All these memories and more are with me as I attend screenings in the future, they build upon each other like titles in a collection, memories in my catalog.
But this year I will be embarking on a new adventure this September, and while I’m not leaving TIFF behind entirely, it will be on the backburner for me. I’m starting a post-graduate program at Centennial for Corporate Communication and Public Relations which requires my full attention until early Spring when I embark upon an internship. My goal is to hopefully have some sort of role at TIFF next year or at least have enough savings to do the festival up properly with a festival pass of some sorts. While this year will be a bleak one, it’s just one year.
Thankfully Colin Geddes has saved the festival for me by programming a fantastic Midnight Madness lineup full of extraordinarily awesome films such as the Indonesian action film The Raid, The Incident a terrifying thriller about three people locked in a mental asylum during a power outage and horror film You’re Next about a family-reunion-turned-murderfest by the director of A Horrible Way to Die which was one of my FAVOURITE surprises from the 2010 festival. With these and the seven other awesome films in the package, I’m sure to be at least somewhat satiated for this year. But until then, the hunger will remain.