Ottawa Gets a Taste of TIFF

Most people don’t usually like it when you say ‘I told you so!’ but after this past weekend, that’s exactly what I was doing! I had the opportunity of taking in three of the five movies the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) brought to the National Gallery, as part of ‘Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival’, and I kept telling my friends that the TIFF experience is different than any other movie experience. When you see a movie through TIFF, you aren’t seeing just a great piece of film, but also engaging in a wonderful post film Q&A.

The National Gallery served as such an ideal location for this event, as the movies had similar qualities to the art we have come to see in this institution: creative, individual, and unique.

In the coming days I will have full reviews of the three films I saw, but suffice it to say,  they provoked thought, generated dialogue and entertained the audiences.

Among the movies I saw, were films nominated for The Canadian Screen Awards (the Canadian version of the Academy Awards) and these films represented the best of Canadian cinema.

One special guest included Piers Handling, the CEO of TIFF and I am always impressed with how the programming team selects such great movies. TIFF has a skill for selecting the best movies from around the world. Piers said it is because ‘they are looking for films that speak directly to us’. He also spoke about how they look for films that take risks.

One of the directors of ‘Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves’, Simon Lavoie, said they wanted to be ‘adventurous’ when making their movie and if you have seen it you would agree-mission accomplished.!

The movies shown over the last 4 days were a very small sample of the talent that Canadians have to offer on the big screen. There are so many great Canadian films but as Mr. Handing said, there can be ‘dismissiveness towards Canadian cinema’.  As someone who sees over 200 movies a year in the cinema, I can tell you that I love Canadian film and I think it is wonderful that the National Gallery has this event every year. If you missed it this time, keep your eyes open for this event next year. Check out if you are in the Toronto area as these and other great movies are shown year round.

These movies filled me with happiness, anger, excitement, sadness and especially (because they are Canadian) pride!

One friend remarked, ‘This was amazing. How often do you get to have a Q&A with the director after the movie?’

I simply smiled and said ‘I told you so!