The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a publicly-attended film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Founded in 1976, the TIFF is now one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. In 1998, Variety magazine acknowledged that "the Festival is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity." In 2007, Time noted that the festival had "grown from its place as the most influential fall film festival to the most influential film festival, period." This is partially the result of the festival's reputation and ability to generate "Oscar-buzz".
Further, many Hollywood studios premiere their films at TIFF due to the festival's easy-going non-competitive nature, relatively inexpensive costs (when compared to European festivals), eager film-fluent audiences and convenient timing. Notable films to have had their world or North American premiere at TIFF include Chariots of Fire, The Big Chill, Husbands and Wives, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, Downfall, Sideways, and Crash.
In recent years, films such as American Beauty, Ray, The Wrestler, Antichrist, Up In The Air, 127 Hours, Black Swan, and I Am Love premiered at the festival, garnering much favourable attention and press. Jamie Foxx's portrayal of Ray Charles ultimately won him the Academy Award for Best Actor while Slumdog Millionaire went on to win eight Oscars at the 2009 Academy Awards. Precious, which won the 2009 People's Choice Award at the festival, went on to win two Oscars at the 82nd Academy Awards while The King's Speech, the winner of the 2010 People's Choice Award at the festival, won four Oscars at the 83rd Academy Awards.
The 36th Toronto International Film Festival occured this year from September 8th to September 18th.
Last week, our team at Industry Works - the guys and gals who put our first feature DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK out to the world and are the team behind upcoming AMERICAN MARY - gave us a wonderful opportunity by flying us out to this year's Toronto International Film Festival to promote both projects. Next year, we plan to return with AMERICAN MARY and from what we saw of the city, the event, and the people - we really can't wait to come back!
We arrived on the 14th, and on the 15th we were on The Ghost Show. Now, I'm not sure if you know the show, if not allow me to be the one to introduce you to one of my favorite horror personalities on the scene today. With horrorific puns like 'fangtastic' and the ever important 'howl are you?' with horror host is a throw back to the classic horror shows of yesterday where the people who truly loved the genre were the ones hosting everything good and so bad it's good from the genre.
Our segment was shot at the Toronto Underground Cinema which is like walking into a holy place of all things awesome in cinema. The posters that cover the walls, the utter fucking coolness of the staff, and the joint puts on some of the best screenings ever. The night of the 14th they were giving the director's cut of MIMIC its Canadian Premiere with Guillermo del Toro in attendance. Huge thanks to Charlie Lawton who let us film in the epic venue and gave me the thrill of a lifetime - our first viewing of the AMERICAN MARY teaser on the big screen. More details to come along with the Ghost Show - I hope that you dig it!
The next day had us sitting across from two people we have a huge amount of respect for as they are total badasses in their fields. It was a sushi lunch with Jovanka Vuckovic and Todd Brown. It was also the coolest four hours of my life. For those of you that might not know - seriously for shame - allow me to introduce you to these fine folks.
Todd Brown lives and breathes film. He's the founder and editor of Twitch - www.twitchfilm.com - and what Twitch specializes is spreading the news about strange and interesting flicks from around the world. He also a festival programmer for Fantastic Fest, Fantasia Fest, and Canadian Music week, which means two things: He knows his films and he works 24/7. Naturally, he has some of the best film stories ever.
Jovanka Vuckovic is who I like to refer to as the Canadian First Lady of Horror as she is the former editor in chief of Rue-Morgue who knocked it out of the park and brought the zine to its golden age. If you keep up on horror, you've seen her breaking the stigmas of what makes a horror fan and what it is to be a woman working in the industry educating the ignorant with her encyclopedic knowledge of the genre. Get fully caught up here with our Women In Horror article on the femme fatale.
I'm not going to lie, we had a stupid grin painted on our faces all day long afterwards. There are people who you admire because of everything they've done and you never know what it will be like to actually meet them. My expectations were high and they exceeded every one of them.
Now, I'm not sure if you're up to date on all our crazy ambitious projects, here's one we're especially excited about - EAT YOUR HEART OUT, our zombie musical which is a collaboration with Kaleena Goldsworthy of the fucking fantastic The Scarlet Ending. The following morning, Kaleena and her sceamo beau, Ted - he screams like an angel - came up for breakfast, catching up, and plans of zombie survival. The musical is set to star the Scarlets and Ted in an epic opera that takes place though zombie apocalypse. Tunes by Kaleena, story by the Twisted Twins and it is coming along bloody brilliantly.
If you haven't heard about The Scarlet Ending before, watch this beautiful video by CJ Wallis that we worked on last year. You'll also be catching them on the AMERICAN MARY soundtrack. These girls and guys have talent and heart that are peered by very few. Fall in love now, because they will be huge. New videos coming soon!
Later that day, we met with the sensational Lianne Spiderbaby. Writer for Fangoria and Fright Bytes and author of the upcoming GRINDHOUSE GIRLS: CINEMA'S HARDEST WORKING WOMEN which highlights the beloved actresses of exploitation and horror. From what I heard, you really want to fucking read it - down and dirty pictures to the extreme. She was just amazing, professional, well versed, and a pleasure to get to chat with. Coming soon with be our talk about HOOKER, MARY, and the state of horror today.
I want to move into this comic book shop/heaven but there's no rest for the wicked, so a quick grope of Iron Man and we were on our way. Had a motherfucking blast and met some people that I know will remain close friends for years to come.
We now get back to all things AMERICAN MARY. It's been almost a year since we shot and revealed the teaser trailer. A first look is scheduled for mid-November and I think this December 11th - our company's anniversary - there will be a trailer worth all the wait. Thank you for the support, thank you to everyone who saw us in Toronto and came over to say hi, you guys are the people who have made our wildest dreams come true and we can never thank you enough. Promise that we will work very hard to keep you entertained with all sorts of cinematic insanity!