Monday, September 6, 2010

TIFF '10 - The mixed bag results of the ticket draw

Apparently it’s a bit harder this year to keep the blogging momentum going. I suspect that in previous years I’ve nattered on far too much and no longer feel the need to chronicle every last firing of the synapses as pertains to the festival. As well, this year has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start in terms of the ticket draw, and my heart’s in it all maybe 15% or so less than usual.

So I’ve got my schedule worked out for the most part. Bad news first: I rolled snake eyes in the draw again this year. My form was in box 3 and it was box 9 that was chosen to start the processing. I still had hope for a while, though, considering that in 2008 I was in the dead-last bin to be worked on and still had a pretty stellar year. And who knows, I could well look back on TIFF ’10 on the evening of the 19th pleasantly surprised at some unexpected treasures that fell into my lap. Thing was, the festival two years ago had a couple of things going for it. First off, aside from Adam Resurrected, there were no absolute must-see screenings that year (and that one was more for the presence of Paul Schrader than the film itself; the fact that the movie was terrific was a bonus) so among my 18 picks (two 10-packs and two tix for a pair of titles) there was little heartbreak ultimately even with my lousy positioning. Plus, as is no doubt often the case, some of my second picks wound up knocking my socks off. To this day I have no idea how It Might Get Loud wasn’t completely sold out in the first round of picks.

This year, I only bought one ten-pack so the margin of error was a bit slimmer. And I must say I’m sorta glad I did because even if I had twenty slots to play with, I seriously don’t know if I could have banged together a screening schedule. Are there twenty movies at TIFF ’10 I’d love to see? Easily. Do half of them all seem to be screening simultaneously? Yup. Sunday at 8PM there were four movies for which I wanted tickets. So I got six out of my top ten picks, and due to the backups I was forced to settle for, the volunteer ticketers gave me overlapping screenings, so I was making trades the next evening. And worst of all, my absolute top pick of the year, Winterbottom’s The Trip, was not one of the ones I got. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon onstage for a Q&A (I imagine) would be the funniest evening of the festival. Keep your Springsteen, this is one I would have camped out for. And it was going to be on my birthday, no less, almost as fortuitous as the Lou Reed concert movie being the bestest present ever at the 2007 fest. I also didn’t get Brighton Rock or the opening night of the new Mike Leigh. I know the latter will inevitably play the Cumberland this fall (if the theatre is still standing by then) but on the off chance Leigh, one of the reigning masters of the form, would be in town, opening night was worth shelling out for.

Sigh. So the only Can’t-Miss I did get was the premiere screening of Womb, which I’m intrigued about for casting reasons only: Eva Green and Matt Smith. Considering I’m proudly both a James Bond geek and a Doctor Who nerd, the merest possibility of Vesper and/or the Eleventh showing up for a Q&A makes me all Quigley down under. What weekend kicks off with Daydream Nation, which is apparently a bit more press-worthy than I’d figured, as Kat Dennings is on the cover of both Now and the TIFF Now insert this week. Then I’ve got nothing on my b-day for the first time since, I think, 2003, and though I’m being taken dancing at Synthpop Saturday that night, I’m still going to check in at the box office off and on in case any Trip tix get released. Beginners (Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer); Machete Maidens Unleashed! which I’m actually quite looking forward to as I saw Mark Hartley’s earlier appearance at TIFF two years ago and Not Quite Hollywood was one of my favourite movies of that fest; three Midnight Madness flicks this year as, like I’ve mentioned, it’s a much better crop in that program than there was last year; and I went by the BO this morning and picked one up for The Big Picture which brings my total to eleven, unless tix for Jucy, Brighton Rock, Lapland Odyssey or Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame come back into availability.

So that’s where it stands right now. Three days until TIFF ’10 begins, four days until my first screening. Come on Festival...there’s an uphill climb ahead to win my heart back, but I have faith.

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