Back in the saddle again (sort of) …

I’ve always been a movie lover and for years I attended TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). It was something I always looked forward to — even the endless lining up.

Those 10 days every September were sacrosanct, I booked them off almost a year in advance and honestly, short of a disaster there was nothing Β — and I do mean nothing — that would have caused me to change my plans.

You’ll think I am totally crazy, but I used to buy the 50-movie pass. Yeah, I’d see five to six movies everyday, for 10 straight days. And I loved every minute of it. And yes, I remembered what I saw — that’s the first question people ask when they hear I went to see 50 movies.

While lots of people are into film festivals for the parties or the chance to bump into celebrities, I was in it strictly for the movies. And what I loved about TIFF was the fact that they weren’t about screening mainstream films. They showcased young, independent film makers, films from all over the world and documentaries — stuff you’d not likely ever get to see in a theatre.

The excitement of “discovery” was always in the air. Until it wasn’t.

In an effort to appeal to a broader audience (and raise more much-needed money) they started showing fewer and fewer of the films I wanted to see and more and more of the “commercial” films we’re all used to. So much so, films would screen one day at TIFF and then open in theatres the next day.

Then, to make matters worse, they did the unthinkable. They stopped offering the 50-movie pass.

That was it. It was a bridge too far.

No more TIFF for me. I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t miss that extravaganza of movie-going I signed up for every year. And it’s not just the films themselves I miss. I miss the process — waiting for the films to be announced, waiting for my pass to arrive, spending hours and hours and hours reading about the hundreds of films being shown and culling them down to the 50 I most wanted to see, wondering (angsting) about whether or not the ticket lottery would favour me — or if I’d have to start all over again with a new list.

And I miss my line buddies — the fellow film fanatics I’d see once a year and only once a year at the festival — not that you’d ever know that from the way our conversations always began where we’d left them off the year before.

To be honest, I’ve never totally given up hope. Each year, when the TIFF schedule comes out, I check it, to see if maybe there are films that interest me.

No such luck. At least not enough to pay almost $30 for a single ticket (and sometimes more with surge pricing on popular films).

Happily, though, we are blessed in Toronto when it comes to films. We have a theatre here that shows nothing but documentaries 365 days a year. And, we have a documentary festival every year Β as well — Hot Docs (Canadian International Documentary Festival) — which runs from April 26 to May 6 this year.

Last Sunday I ordered a six-film package and yesterday I picked, and ordered, my films. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed poring over the list and the write-ups, making note of the days, times and locations where each film is being screened, and figuring out a schedule.

While it’s not the 50 I’m used to, six is better than nothing. I wish I could see more, but I’ve got several projects on the go and the time I have available to see movies is restricted to evenings and weekends.

But I’m still excited. See you at the movies!

32 thoughts on “Back in the saddle again (sort of) …

  1. I think commercialism is very much in the forefront these days. I no longer find the lists intriguing as over half 5he films begin showing in the larger movie chain theaters. I always want to see Iranian films and the documentaries..if nor at film festival at the 5 or rep 5heaters…today instead of having a run of week or least few days..they have shortened the number of days..and to reach 5he various theaters requires being on 95 during rush hour! I donot know if I will be able to tackle this year! I should m3ntion they have Miami film festival,Florida film festival, Jewish film festival, and several s American films with translations in theaters all around…over whelm8ng..very expensive….I feel less joy with sel3ctions each year and no longer subscribe to the festival which gives you lst choice for tickets but not less expensive!

    I am disappointed at state this has become..because I grew myself up living in the movies!


    Sent from my iPad


    • I know β€” everything is strictly about the money β€” not the art. Very disheartening. The death of ideas and creativity. I hate it.

  2. Great post Fransi movies on occasion would be my bag, let me loose in a record shop now that’s a different kettle of fish altogether as you may well take from todays post. enjoy your Saturday.

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