I started the day early and had to get to Sutton Place Hotel for a meeting with a young lady who requested to meet with me, and ask questions about submitting films to festivals. She works as a Canadian consultant to filmmakers, helping them to decide which festival might be appropriate for their film, marketing strategies and so forth. These are important questions and points that filmmakers need to ask themselves. Blindly submitting your film to as many festivals as possible isn't smart and it can be a costly venture. You should definitely research festivals and look at the types of films they screen, requirements (ie: premiere status, formats, etc), and lots of other things. A resource filmmakers might want to check out is "Film Festival Secrets" by Christopher Holland, due out October 2008.
The first movie of the day was WENDY AND LUCY, starring Michelle Williams (the late Heath Ledger's ex-wife and his baby momma). This movie was very well done, purposely slow, and Williams' performance was great. It's a story of a young woman and her dog (Lucy), down on her luck, traveling to Alaska in search of a new start at life. Strapped for money, we watch her make a decisions that lead to disproportionate consequences, which are a pretty realistic reflection of current society. Directed by Kelly Reichardt, the film runs 80 minutes long. While it's a nicely done film, I believe it could be cut in half to 40 minutes (without losing its nuance and sentiment) and actually have a nice shot at a nomination for the Academy Award (especially given the nominated narrative shorts last year).
Next was lunch before getting in line for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (which is an excellent name for a rock band). I've eaten pizza numerous times already and today was no different. We found a nice little Italian place with a patio and had some pizza. Mike had visited the Royal Ontario Museum earlier, while I watched my movie. He said the museum was fantastic.
The next movie on the agenda was at 3:00pm at the Ryerson. The Ryerson theater is located on the campus of Ryerson University and holds a massive number of people, close to like 600, which seems to always fill to capacity during the screenings. The screen is also massive, so it actually works. This is also where the midnight madness screenings are held.
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is Danny Boyle's new flick. A couple other films that he's done are TRAINSPOTTING and 28 DAYS LATER. This was probably the most interesting, colorful and unique film that I've seen so far in Toronto. The story is about an Indian (dot not feather) boy from the slums who made it on the game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." What follows is a colorful account of his life lessons of hard knocks that provides him with some, or all of the, answers to the difficult questions asked during the game show. Had I just read that this movie was about a boy on a game show, I doubt I would've seen it. I'm so glad I didn't know much about it going in. The movie was a huge hit in Telluride and Dan pushed me to see it. So glad I did! (By the way, this was not the screening where Roger Ebert was whacked by a person in front of him.)
We had a few hours before the final screening of the day and decided to walk over and see the CN Tower, the famous one that looks like the Seattle Space Needle. Below are a few photos.
The final screening of the night was Steven Soderbergh's CHE (part 2), starring Benicio Del Toro. This movie is broken into two parts, although should probably be watched together. The problem is that no one wants to sit through a four and a half hour movie. The movie is a biopic about Che Guevara, the revolutionary primarily responsible for Fidel Castro's successful coup d'etat of U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Part two of the movie is well done but somewhat slow - it focuses on Che's revolutionary mission in Bolivia. Part one (which we will be seeing tomorrow) spotlights Che's actions in Cuba - so we're seeing it backwards.
Steven Soderbergh, Benicio Del Toro, and Lou Diamond Phillips were all at the screening. Below are some photos.