I know Iâ€™ve got a doc about John Waters on my shelf at home so I was surprised to see This Filthy World pop up in the festival program. But, as soon as I walked in I knew what I was in for, 90 minutes of listening to John Waters talk about his movies and his take on the world. Itâ€™s a fun romp, although the editing is a bit disjointed at points. I enjoy one-man shows, stand up comedy and spoken word, but I always find it a bit odd when it ends in the documentary sidebar. The film is directed by Jeff Garlin best known as Larry Davidâ€™s manager on Curb Your Enthusiasm and is produced for Red Envelope Entertainment a division of Netflix.
To balance out my funtime with John Waters I went to see The Prisoner Or: How I Planned To Kill Tony Blair by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein. It showed with James Longleyâ€™s (Iraq in Fragments) short doc Sariâ€™s Mother. Both are difficult films to process and I donâ€™t know how effective a pairing it was, although I think itâ€™s always hard to put a longish short in front of a shortish feature. Itâ€™s a programming issue because if people are paying to see a movie they want at least 80 minutes of programming. The Prisoner is a good film, but itâ€™s 54 minutes, what can you do? Anyway, the film is Tucker and Epperleinâ€™s follow up to Gunner Palace. It follows the story of an Iraqi journalist who is wrongly accused of being an insurgent in a plan to kill Tony Blair. The film uses comic book style animation to brighten up an otherwise bleak and disturbing story.
I wanted to see more movies, but I couldnâ€™t stay awake. I went to this party for European Film thingee at the Versace store. It was weird and it brought out all the Eurotrash wearing their crazy costume jewelery. Did I mention the party was in a clothing store?! Luckily I met some really cool people there and hooked up with some other festival compadres for the Sarasota Film Festival bash at Sassafrass.
What a great party. I was only going to stay for a short time and then go back to seeing movies, but the next time I looked at my watch it was time to go back to the hotel for my last night in Toronto. (Goodbye Comfort Hotel!)
I really had a great time in Toronto. Itâ€™s a great city, itâ€™s alive with people, tasty restaurants and overall it is a very convenient and accommodating festival (even though the program book costs over 30$!!).
The volunteers I encountered were always extraordinarily helpful and really into the festival. I think some of them knew more about the movies than the buyers! Sometimes I go to a film festival and I spend so much time seeing movies and being focused that I forget how much I really love movies. I spent a little more time seeing things that peeked my interest than being super serious and obsessing about documentaries. Donâ€™t worry, though, docs are still tops, but whatâ€™s wrong with seeing a zombie sheep film once in a while, or Ken Loachâ€™s Palme dâ€™Or winning The Wind that Shakes the Barley? In the end, if you pick it right, itâ€™s all just plain old good storytelling whether itâ€™s fact or fiction. And with a program as varied as the Toronto International Film Festival, how could I resist the candyfloss that is Black Sheep?
Other docs of note, that I canâ€™t help overhearing people talk about and that I really wanted to see are Blindsight, Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing (opens in October in limited release by the Weinstein Co), Ghosts of CitÃ© Soleil, Lake of Fire and The U.S. Vs John Lennon (opens September in NY and LA release by Lions Gate).
Docs that screened at TIFF â€™06 Iâ€™ve seen somewhere else American Hardcore (Sundance), Deliver Us From Evil (DocuWeek), Summercamp! (True/False), Tales of the Rat Fink (SXSW), These Girls and When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (HBO).
Writing this Iâ€™m sitting in the airport awaiting my delayed flight to New York. Iâ€™ll be in NY for the IFP Market. I havenâ€™t been there since 2001 and am really looking forward to it. There are a ton of doc works in progress to check out, plus an entire conference. Itâ€™s all part of the ifpâ€™s Independent Film Week in New York. If youâ€™re around, come by and check it out.
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