TIFF 13 Live

by Takis Garis (@takisgaris)

The #TIFF13 Connection: Let the Race Begin

The time has come. Take a deep breath. Remember to exhale. Mind is buzzing, perplexed thoughts feeding this perennial TIFF fever. Cameron Bailey, its ingenious artistic director, proclaims “size matters”. Agree with an asterisk; Size hasn’t been questioned by the flocking media and cineastes alike during the past three years. Check the numbers from the official fact sheet and thou shall receive: 366 total features (288 full length + 78 shorts), 268 Features that are World, International, or North American Premieres out of 4,892 total submissions (3,850 International + 1,042 Canadian) from 70 Countries. That being said, I can’t stress enough my feeling that this year will set a milestone to TIFF’s relentlessly successful route, provided that it will repeat its (as of late) crowning achievement: To keep one foot in the world cinema art house boat, while pushing the envelope of Oscar race domination with the other.

TIFF 13 Photo

For the former, there’s no doubt, for TIFF made a classy move to host 10 new wave Greek films as its City to City tribute to Athens. Couldn’t feel prouder (if not the proudest) for this circuit, which showcases 10 titles from the likes of Karamaghiolis (J.A.C.E.), Avranas (Miss Violence), Panayotopoulou (September) Servetas (Standing Aside, Watching), Anastopoulos (The Daughter), Psykou (The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas), Hughes-Koutsosyprou (To the Wolf), Sakaridis (Wild Duck), with the addition of Tsitos festival sensation Unfair World and Papadimitropoulos - Vogel resonant drama Wasted Youth which depict the harsh realities of contemporary Athens, as sublimely sketched out also by the TIFF12 success Boy Eating the Bird’s Food which will represent Greece in the Best Foreign Language Film category at Oscars 2013.

For the latter, seeing it from the Oscarwatcher’s POV, the stakes are high for us Torontonians, for Telluride40 managed once again to claim TIFF’s thunder, by sneak previewing 12 Years A Slave (McQueen), which undoubtedly has captivated the “Argo spot”, judging by its overwhelming reception by press and industry peers who had the privilege of a genuine world premiere in Colorado. Gravity (Quaron), Nebraska (Payne), Inside Llewyn Davis (the Coens) repeated their triumphant Venetian/Cannes march, while even TIFF’s frequent collaborator Jason Reitman didn’t resist the temptation to give Telluride the ring of Labor Day’s real world premiere. A trend that inevitably invites the question: What’s in TIFF13 store for us, besides sporadic screenings of The Past and Blue is the Warmest Color? The answers are two, I have figured, adamantly denying to come to terms with the notion that TIFF might started losing its flexibility to surprise, paying the price for having become the big fish in the cinematic ocean. First is a The Fifth Estate – August: Osage County one-two punch. What initially has been viewed as the Looper (opening) slot vs the Weinsteins’ plan B in case that The Butler won’t have Oscar legs (not happening), might unfold as two dark horses which fell off radar by munching Telluride or agonizing NYFF. Secondly, after the breaking announcement of eagerly anticipated docs Salinger and The Unknown Known my heart returned to the right place: TIFF13 is here to stay, sitting comfortably on its throne just like maestro Hayao Miayzaki who will offer us his swan song (The Wind Rises), possibly a secured Oscar nomination in the animated feature category which tends to be particularly weak this year so far.

TIFF 13 Photo

My closing remark for this opening statement should naturally be devoted to my bursting anxiety to cover as many important films as I can possibly check and the inherent inability to achieve my set goal due to the conflicting programming schedule. Actually I’m not even going to try lamenting my good fortune to be a part of this mega film-themed party, thinking only how to give back to www.moviesltd.gr followers their due: First hand, on-the-spot film reporting, devoid of fanboy-isms and ignorance toward the assembled talent involved in order to watch any final film product on screen. I always maintained that you can’t criticize art if you don’t sympathize with the artist. Condescension and arrogance should be totally alienated from a really cinematic funfair, especially at arguably the 2nd biggest film festival in the world that is TIFF. Yours truly will be tweeting constantly as @TakisGaris plus stay tuned for daily synopses with press, industry and public reactions to the films showing. Hence, fellas, let the race begin!