TIFF 2011 Survival Guide: Staying in Touch
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TIFF 2011 Survival Guide: Staying in Touch

It's easy to get sucked into the tempest that is TIFF: Here's how to avoid everyone thinking you're dead for ten days.

One of the trickier parts about TIFF is figuring out how to harmonize it with the doldrums of your day-to-day, non-TIFF life. You could be seeing as many movies as possible on nights and weekends. Or you could have booked a block of vacation days so you can really lose yourself in the festival whirlwind of screenings, parties, and celebrity-sightings over the course of ten days (well, eleven if you count the electric eve before TIFF as a day of TIFF-mas, which we do). Whatever the case, we’ve prepared a handy-dandy guide for making sure your family, friends, and loved ones don’t think you’ve disappeared or been body-snatched and replaced with some glassy-eyed victim of the undead movie-going hordes.

Don’t Fall Off the Face of the Earth

We’re sympathetic to how myopic you can get during the festival, but try and stay in touch with your friends. If you have buddies going to the films, make sure to pencil in time to grab a drink or some food (speaking of which, here’s our guide to restos in the TIFF vicinity, in case you missed it). If your friends hate movies, you should probably consider getting new friends. Alternatively, you can just make an effort to stay in touch with your existing network of philistines. Fire them a text with a mini-review (i.e. “OMG Tresspass is liek Nic Cage DOING Nic CAge”), a celebrity spotting (i.e. “OMG Brad Pitt just bought a can of coke in a store like A REAL MORTAL!!!”) or some other message that proves you’re still alive (i.e. “Am Not Dead. More Later”).

Don’t Act Like a Total Schlub

There’s obviously a good deal of glitz, glamour, and other razzle-dazzle swirling around TIFF. But if you’re seeing 40 movies, there’s a tendency to, well, dress for comfort. Again, we feel you. There’s something perversely satisfying about buying a brand new pair of grey track pants and then proceeding to burn through them in ten days, wearing them so much that the ass wears right out, the fibres of the drawstring start fraying like those of a rickety rope bridge in an Indiana Jones movie, and the polyester/cotton blend starts to bond with your flesh in some sort of weird Cronenbergian transmutation. But come on, class it up once in a while. It’s nice to look “red carpet–ready” for at least a few screenings. Try sporting a shirt with a collar, or shoes with laces. Bust out that clip-on necktie. Leave your fanny pack full of Visine, multivitamins, cigarettes, and Mallomars at home. There’s no better way to trick your brain into believing you’re not some sort of dumpy bum than dressing to the nines. Or at least the sixes.

Account For Your TIFF Mistress

If you’ve ever watched that Cheaters show, then you know that no matter how discreet you think you’re being, you’ll always get caught sneaking around on a spouse, partner, or significant other. Sure, you think you’re being all clever about it, but then one night you come tip-toeing into the bedroom and WHAM! The lights flicker on and your spouse/partner/significant other sees the smear of clarified popcorn butter on your shirt collar and flips out. “Oy! Where you been the past eight days, eh? Sneakin’ around with someone else, are we?” (This scenario presumes that your spouse/partner/significant other talks like some bellowing shrew from an Andy Capp comic.) To avoid such scenes of domestic unrest, make sure you prep your loved one for the festival. Explain that this is your Fashion Week. Your NXNE. Your Monterey Pop, Bonnaroo, and Woodstock ’99 rolled into one. And be sensitive, birdbrain. Don’t say stuff like “Babe, you know I love you. It’s just that I’m in love with movies.”

Call Your Mom

This goes without saying. If you grew up heeding Mr. T’s proxy-parenting raps, then you know well enough to treat your mother right. Give her a ring during the festival. Do you have any idea how excited and proud parents get about stuff like this? For people living outside of the city, the media tends to present TIFF as if it’s just throngs of Clive Owens, George Clooneys, and Nicole Kidmen bustling about the streets. Celebrities pouring off the streetcars in droves and riding up and down in hotel elevators just to give you the chance to spot them. So call your mom. It’ll make her day. And if for whatever reason you can’t call your mom, call some other loved one whom you can gush to. Also, if you see the harrowing nursing home doc Patron Saints, you’ll probably want to call your grandmother as well.