Wednesday, November 27, 2013

2013 Toronto Film Festival, part 2

With only three tickets left and hundreds of films to choose from, I was in a quandary.   What to see? Well, there was a panel discussion called “Class of 2013: New Canadians Directors to Watch, around noonish, which the home office had  sent me an invte for and  they kind of wanted me to go, so I had to work around that.
So looking at the schedule, I had to find something that wouldn’t conflict, and after discovering that 12/12/12 hade been postponed for my convenience, I found a harmless enough romantic comedy called The Right Kind of Wrong, directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik, and starring Ryan Kwanten  as Leo Palamino, who’s backstory is ripped off from Woody Allen’s Manhattan. Leo, a failed writer turned dishwasher falls in love with Colette (Sara Canningon) the day of her wedding - to another man, the seemingly perfect but demonstrably evil Danny Hart (Ryan McPartlin).
Y’all out there in Internet land know how this thing ends. This sort of thing has been done before dozens of times. However there is some snappy dialogue and the scenery (Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies) is totally spectacular.  It’s almost worth the price of a ticket to see that alone.
So with that bit of fluff over, I headed to the Filmmakers’ Lounge at the Hyatt Regency Hotel for that panel discussion. ..
Throwing temper tantrums usually end in one of two ways, victory or jail. I had the invite on my hard drive. I showed it to them as well as my credentials, but since my creds were of the third rate variety, they wouldn’t let me in. I argued, I cajoled, I tried to call  the people inside (damn you Virgin Mobile!)  and it looked like it was getting hairy (and late, it had started) when  divine providence intervened.. One of the people who were hosting the thing was just walking by and heard me raising my voice at the security guard.
They weren’t very happy, but I was.
I was then treated to the final fifteen minutes of how to get a grant from the Canadian Film Board. That’s socialism for you. Down here we get to go to banks and have to pay all the money back.  One of the directors was one of the most beautiful women I’ve seen all year, and the rest looked like me. Oh well…
When that was over, I found out where the free soda was before heading back to the multiplex to see the next film. A Buffy parody called All Cheerleaders Die, which wasn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. Okay, it WAS, but nearly not exactly, which is what makes the Midnight Madness section of the festival the best part.
Now comes the logistics part. The home office had sent me an invite to a regular screening of a documentary called Mission: Congo, which was one of the most important films of the entire festival, but more on that later.  First I had to sneak in.
Now you may be wondering why I had to sneak in if I already had an invitation…well, this was a regular screening, which meant that without the right creds, I couldn’t just hang around the area and tell them I was on the list. So I had to sneak around and find who and where the publicists were and get a hard ticket. This was harder than it sounded. First off, they weren’t there just yet, and when they got there, they didn’t have my ticket.  They called their people back at the office and yes, I was on the list and someone somewhere hat the ticket.  UG. Happy ending: just as the lights were going out, they found the damn thing and I got in.
Lara Zizic and David Turner's engrossing documentary lays a well-deserved sucker punch on Televangelist Pat Robertson. It seems this thieving shit conned millions of people into financing his Congo diamond mines by disguising it as aide for the victims of the Rwanda genocide back in 1994.
The film reports that Robertson’s “Operation Blessing” is still soliciting donations to operate Congo hospitals and schools never actually built, Disgusting.
Robertson threatened a lawsuit. I don’t know whether or not he will….
So there was one more ticket left. I wanted to see Gravity, but it started too late. So , instead I took in Peter Landesman’s Parkland, which played out as an episode of  Law and Order: JFK. The acting was fine. There was nothing wrong with the film per se, but this story has been done over and over and over again so much, that it feels like it’s sleepwalking. True, it’s about the ordinary people who somehow got caught up it the whole thing , like Oswald’s brother(James Badge Dale) or the doctors at the Parkland hospital emergency room. The Kennedys, LBJ and Oswald seem to be totally out of place in their own story.  I expect it’ll come and go without much of a trace.
With that over, and the Festival barely started, I went back to my hotel, got my stuff, and left Canada.  Maybe next year, I’ll get to do it right.

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