The festival has been saved!
It’s Sunday! TIFF’s first weekend wraps up with more high-powered premieres, the final day of activities on Festival Street, and the point where you can start to see which films are going to leave Toronto possessing that coveted #OscarBuzz.
What Were People Talking About Yesterday?
“We can map the genome, but we can’t fix an escalator” tweeted one TIFF attendee as the saga of the broken Scotiabank Theatre escalators dragged on. This is a good example of the pitfalls of corporations paying for the naming rights on buildings; Scotiabank would probably rather see their company name invoked in social media (and in the Hollywood trade papers) for better reasons. Oh and yes, there is now a @TiffEscalator twitter account. But now the escalator has been fixed! All is well with the world.
This may come as a shock to some, but TIFF isn’t all about the fans, movie buffs and #popcorn; beyond all the public hoopla, there is also an industry component behind the scenes, with film buyers looking to snag the rights to finished films or strike deals to pre-buy films that are still being developed. But The Hollywood Reporter says the marketplace has been a little quiet so far, with distributors cautious to make any big moves, though surely some major news on that front will come along before Tuesday (when the majority of visiting press and industry start to return home, and the festival starts to feel less manic).
And just when it looked like no one in Toronto was going to ask director Nate Parker any questions about the news of his 1999 rape charge, for which he was acquitted, and how that might affect the release of his film The Birth Of A Nation, the CBC’s Eli Glasner tried to get him to comment on it during their sit-down. Parker cut the interview short.
As I monitored Film Twitter™ last night to see how things were going, it seemed the festival’s programmers chose wisely when they scheduled their big Saturday night events. Two in particular stood out in the flowing #TIFF16 Twitter feed: the world premiere of Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe with Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo knockin’ em dead on the Red Carpet and at the post-show party, and Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight, which floored everyone in attendance and was followed up with an emotional Q-and-A.
What’s Going On Today At TIFF?
The twentieth feature film from the great Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar has a North American premiere tonight, and a Canadian connection: Julieta is based on three short stories from the book Runaway by Alice Munro, the Canadian Nobel Prize-winning author. Julieta is Spain’s official submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar this year and Pedro almost always delivers a movie worthy of your time and attention. It plays at 6:00 pm tonight at the Elgin.
Chilean director Pablo Larrain is one of the best directors working today; I thought his 2012 film No was particularly smart and well-made (he shot the film with cheap video cameras to blend his fictional material seamlessly with period news footage of the 1988 referendum campaign in Chile). Larrain has two films at TIFF this year, his biopic Neruda and tonight’s premiere, his English-language debut Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy in the days leading up to and following the assassination of the President. This sounds like a semi-safe choice for the generally provocative Larrain, but Jackie is one of the 12 films in the festival’s Platform a juried programme that champions international film direction, and these titles tend to be the cream of the crop of TIFF’s lineup, so this should be worth seeing. It screens tonight at the Winter Garden at 8:30 and will feature a post-show discussion on stage.
Tom Ford’s second feature, the thriller Nocturnal Animals, won the Silver Lion yesterday at the Venice Film Festival and along with Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams, stars one of the biggest names in the world of Film Twitter™, Michael Shannon. It has its North American premiere tonight at the Princess of Wales Theatre and the rush line for this one might be as long as the ticketholders line, so wear sensible (yet fashionable) shoes. Showtime at 10:00 p.m.