Thursday, September 06, 2007

The countdown to TIFF starts here...

The Cromwell Furnished Suites

So I'm in Toronto!

The journey over here was pretty smooth, all things considered. I was a little late getting to Gatwick as my coach was cancelled, but met up with Ian, Paul, Johanna (Paul's girlfriend) and Alf (Ian's Dad) in the check-in queue okay. I somehow avoided trashing the Southern Comfort stand in the Departure Hall (more by luck than judgement) as I sent a bottle flying in my eagerness to get a free shot - amazingly I caught the bottle as it deflected off my shoulderbag, phew! The flight was fine - actually surprisingly comfortable - the only amusing incident coming when the old fella sitting adjacent to us thought that Paul and I were dancers travelling to some kind of dancing show. Quite. We got a cab to our accommodation, rather worried that the driver had no idea where he was going (which seems to be a recurring theme here...) but we got there eventually. The Cromwell Furnished Suites is an excellent place to stay; it's about three times the size of the room I had in Kings Cross last week, and I have my own en suite and fully equipped kitchen, plus sofa and desk - oh, and a balcony view! After a quick freshen up Paul went AWOL so Ian, Alf and I did a quick circuit of the nearby streets then holed up in the nearest pub for a few drinks before bed.

I need to get into the habit of getting up early each morning (since the TIFF screenings start at 9am) so was up early yesterday and got officially checked in at the Cromwell - the good news being that I can have my room right through to the Sunday evening without having to pay extra for a late check out! I then had a wander around the neighbouring area to get some groceries as it makes sense to have breakfast in my room before heading out for the day. We're well located for the TIFF screenings, the majority taking place at the Varsity on Bloor Street which is a mere 5 mins walk away. I also had a quick look in a few of the record shops, the only confusing thing being the whole Sales Tax thing, whereby they add taxes to most items so you always have to keep that in mind when you're shopping. The staff are all genuinely friendly and helpfu though. I met up with Ian and Alf around 1pm and we walked down to the Sutton Hotel which is the central base for TIFF. Ian and I picked up our respective passes (although why Industry folk get an Official Programme book and Press do not, I don't know...) and then went up to The Foxes Den pub to meet up with Paul and Joanna for lunch.

Ian & Paul perusing the film schedule

In the afternoon Paul took Johanna and I downtown to his favourite movie theatre in search of a good movie to watch. We were in luck - Rob Zombie's Halloween was about to start, so we got our tickets ($12) and went in. Now, I thought we'd left chav culture behind in the multiplexes of the UK, but no... a couple sat directly behind us and continued to talk loudly during the film despite three attempts by me to shut them up. In the end we moved seats. The film itself was okay; Paul and Johanna generally liked it and thought it was better than they'd anticipated, for me it was a mixed success - Malcolm McDowell is excellent and Tyler Mane certainly looks the part as Michael Myers. It's also pretty full on for an R-rated horror, with quite a lot of sustained nudity and violence. However there's very little suspense and the ending is a little drawn out. Zombie populates the film with his favourite actors (Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, Tom Towles, Danny Trejo etc) which is cool, but more often than not they're minor parts.

Sheitan director Kim Chapiron

After the film we walked around the hip Queen Street area of town (imagine a much larger sprawling version of Camden Town) and then headed to a bar/restaurant called Musa to hook up with Ian and some others. This was a pre-TIFF gathering arranged by Colin Geddes, the Midnight Madness programmer so it was great to finally get to meet Colin in person and his charming assistant Chris. We were joined for our meal by the writer and director of Sheitan, and then as the evening went on more and more people dropped by until there was around thirty people gathered together in all. I chatted to one of the local boys Dev Khanna who has a short film screening at the festival, plus Sue from Eye Weekly (the Toronto equivalent of Time Out) and Bruce Fletcher who runs the Dead Channels festival in San Francisco. A good introduction to the madness to come... and quite amazingly we were quite restrained and back home before midnight.

The real fun begins at 9am tomorrow...


Anonymous said...


What was it like to meet the Sheitan crew?

Dave said...

Glad you arrived problem free and that all seems to be going well.
Look forward to reports on your exploits.

Anonymous said...

Where's the Spacesuit?