Tuesday, September 8, 2009

WTF 2.0

For the next three days, I am doing my best to eat well, drink lots of (unspirited) fluids, and get plenty of rest. Because once Friday rolls around, I will be having none of that. For Friday's the day we land at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and the day we give ourselves over to the grueling groove of "WTF" ("Working The Festival").

Okay, to the uninitiated, the term "working" may seem a bit whiny. After all, it is just a big bunch of movies, parties and stars and more movies and more parties and more - oops, sorry Mr. Mortensen, did I just step on your bare foot? Anyway, I grant that there is all that. And it is fun. But it's all so stacked up and stuffed in at such an unrelenting pace that by Day 3, you find yourself conjuring up that old movie about the girl who almost died trying to swim across the English Channel - if only for what tips you might be able to get on pacing.

In this, our second year at TIFF, we will actually be riding a bit of a wave. With our film almost fully financed and our project invited to IFF (International Financing Forum at TIFF) for a chance to complete that financing, we have a bit of momentum going in. And by "going in", I mean, "talking it up", "spreading the word", "creating a buzz" at this very important festival around our still unmade film. Crazy as it sounds. Apparently, it's never too early to start promoting your film. And never too late to start supporting others. 

And so, promote and support we shall. Starting on Friday when we arrive. First up is the screening - world premiere screening mind you - of "The Trotsky" by Jacob Tierney. Jacob is a young wunderkind actor/writer/director from Montreal. This is his second feature and by all reports, it is a slam dunk to be one of this year's darlings. 

Early in the evening, the SODEC is hosting a reception which we will attend, happy for the chance to pay our respects to the good people who have supported our efforts this whole journey long. Later on, there will be a party in honour of the premiere of Jacob's film. Jacob was an insightful reader for us on one of the versions of our script, so we absolutely have to go, you know, to say thanks.

The next morning, Barbara and I have a breakfast meeting with our international sales agent, the inimitable Charlotte Mickie. From there we go to our casting session to see a selection of Toronto-area girls who are auditioning for the role of Elizabeth. From there, we head to a reception hosted by Telefilm. Here again, we will have a chance to speak face to face with the good people who are throwing their all-important support behind our project.

Somewhere around here, we will no doubt hook up with Liz Jarvis - our Buffalo Gal/prairie co-prod extraordinaire. Liz and Buffalo Gal have a terrific film at the festival this year - Gary Yates' "High Life" will have three screenings at TIFF, starting Tuesday. It's a jam-packed 80 minutes of raw, righteous filmmaking. A must-see.

Sunday morning, the three of us will be executing strategic moves conceived to help us meet the people of interest we will have spotted over the previous two days. In the afternoon, Barbara heads off to the organized events of IFF while Theresapedia and I continue our spotting, stalking, talking tactics. Somewhere in there, we will slip away to see the film, "The Wild Hunt" by Montreal director, Alexandre Franchi shot by our very own D.O.P., Claudine Sauvé. We'll hook up with Claudine at the screening and then maybe drag her along with us for a P.R. prowl over the cocktail hour. Later that night, our esteemed distributor, Mongrel Media is hosting a party in honour of Ruba Nadda's film "Cairo Time" starring Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig. While we will certainly be taking this opportunity to catch our distribution team up on where we're at in the pre-pre-production process, we'll also have some time to just sit back and enjoy the scenery.

And then, that brings us to Monday. Which I think I'll leave for Monday's post. I'm frankly exhausted just writing what I know is ahead! For now, I'm off to bed...