Thirty-five films is apparently my limit. It is the morning of the last day of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and technically, I still have two more films to go but I just can't do it. I have been in TIFF mode now since the middle of August, between advance screenings and early reviews and securing my public screening schedule. Yesterday, I saw three films back to back to back and tomorrow I go back to my day job. There has to be one day off in between!
This festival was a very strange experience for me. Last year, I ran around like a mad man from screening to interview to screening again, and I loved every second of it! I might have griped about the lack of sleep and the deadlines but I felt totally alive and in my natural element. This year, as I've maybe mentioned once or twice, I was not an accredited member of the press for the film festival. So, when the festival began way, way back on the sixth of September, I was at home, writing and reading everyone's tweets about being at the festival already, attending press screenings and booking interviews. I felt completely detached and it didn't feel good.
I had to learn to enjoy the festival experience I was having, as opposed to the one I wished I was having. The truth of it is, this year I put out more reviews than I ever have during TIFF, 25 in total, and Black Sheep's readership has never been higher as a result. I may have only scored a handful of interviews but one of those interviews was with Jake Gyllenhaal. Not only was this a dream interview of mine but it also showed me that my reputation with the film companies alone is good enough to still secure the big names. Once I booked that interview, a few more came in, and the tide had turned for me.
It was such a delight to see so many public screenings this year. The energy is always incredible and I am always so moved to see such a huge film community in the city I live in. It makes me feel like less alone and also reminds me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
For next year, the goal is simple. I have a whole year to get my name out there further and get accredited again. In the meantime, I get to look back at the 35 films I saw at TIFF this year. This year's films were a healthy lot. I enjoyed a great deal of them but very few blew me away. Of those I didn't like, only one really made me want to walk out. I personally didn't see a clear frontrunner for the best picture of the year amongst the bunch but then again, I never did find my ticket to THE MASTER.
And so as tradition warrants it, here are my 5 favourite TIFF12 films (in alphabetical order):
Directed by Michael Haneke
This is one of the first TIFF films I saw and I still find it entirely unforgettable. A truly beautiful and patient film that exemplifies love for all who still wonder what it is.
Directed by Ben Affleck
This film is being tipped to take awards season by storm and it is easy to see why. I wasn't blown away by it but it is technically flawless and any film that can create that much suspense for a situation where we know how it will play out, must be commended.
Directed by Noah Baumbach
This sumptuously shot comedy is so whimsical, so endearing, I cannot wait to see it again. Greta Gerwig is incredible in the title role and, if people see this film, it could make her a star. Personally, I can't wait to see it again!
Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona
Depicting the 2004 Tsunami without even ten years to put it behind us is a bold choice, turning it into a disaster movie is just a crazy one. Fortunately, Bayona pulls it off with great respect and creates one of the most emotional film experiences of the year.
Directed by Sarah Polley
I personally feel this is Polley's best work as a filmmaker. It is layered and insightful and, considering the subject matter itself is her own family history, it is surprisingly not the least bit egotistical. I can see a documentary feature Oscar nod coming her way easily.
When you see 35 films in one shot, you pray that they don't suck. I am very lucky to say, there is only one film this year that actually infuriated me and made me want to walk out of the theatre. That film was also an incredible surprise, as it was expected to be one of the festival's triumphs. And so I declare that the worst film I saw at TIFF this year is unfortunately Terence Malick's TO THE WONDER. Read my review. You'll see why.
And so it ends for another year. Thank you for all your continued support and for reading my reviews. It was an absolute pleasure bringing TIFF to you once again and I look forward to doing it all over again next September.