I have broken my Toronto Film Fest cherry this week as I finally walked through the hallowed, CN-Tower-shaded portal and into TIFF. Riding the wave of this year’s buzz-film, Monkey Warfare, is the best way to see the fest. I was the assistant editor on MW and had the infamous minor role as an instructional-video host on the safe construction of Molotov Cocktails.
Biking around Toronto on the bright-red, tiny, girl-bike that Reg Harkema and Cindy Wolfe (see pic at left) lent me, I dodged streetcar tracks and insanely aggressive taxi drivers through the streets of Parkdale and into the downtown core. Cindy has a great part in Monkey Warfare as a neurotic non-profit founder, and Reg is the writer-director. My borrowed bike, btw, is the one on the album cover of the MW promo LP – which makes it feel less like I’m a giant circus monkey (or maybe more?). Reg hands these albums out on the fly from his hand-made LP satchel that Cindy crocheted for him. One taxi cut Reg off and Reg kicked his door. Then the taxi chased him for a block or so and Cindy rather drew some attention by screaming at him and brandishing her bike chain.
Once safely across town, we strode up the stairs to the effervescent Telefilm party. It was so crowded that one could barely move. One could also barely stand it. I saw many folks I knew, including Evan Crowe (pictured with the ominous, omnipresent CN Tower) with whom I worked on Edgemont long ago, and at the Cinematheque Summer Film Institute. Evan, amazingly, had his grad film Starlight Tour from SFU accepted into TIFF and now he’s on the joyride of film livin’. (That’s him in front of the CN tower).
I also ran into Barbara Barde, a long-lost film comrade from my Road Movies days. I hadn’t laid eyes on her since 1992, but as I’d been walking up the steps to TIFFdom, I wondered, “Will Barbara be here?” That’s cos she’s the quintissential Toronto film dame. When last we’d met, Toronto was feeling Rodney King sympathy in the form of minor riots on Yonge street, cops on horseback trotting through crowds of protesters etc.
Also, on the way up the stairs to this party, I’m pretty sure we borrowed matches from Andrea Martin, but maybe I’m wrong. I would certainly hate to read some blog and find someone had mistaken me for someone else and think,”That Ass! He though I was Andrea Martin!” Then again, if Andrea Martin reads this, or even if she doesn’t, she might be thinking, “That Ass! He should get his own damn matches!”
Thence, we went to the INDIE FILM TENT which was a party specifically for the films Monkey Warfare and Sleeping Dogs. Had a grand old time there, especially the free beer (which, to be honest, was available everywhere all day). I finally met Nadia Litz from Monkey Warfare and saw Tracy Wright (pic with me at left) once more (I’d met her when I was in Toronto doing the colour-timing for Reg’s earlier shot-by-me doc, Better Off in Bed). Tracy was somewhat dumbfounded but apparently blissful at the fact that many people were wearing her on a t-shirt that says “I FUCK THE MAN,” which is Monkey Warfare’s slogan. Also hooked up with Kathy Weinkauf who edited MW (and BOIB, for that matter) and the producers of MW, Jennifer Jonas, Leonard Farlinger, and Kris King plus cinematographer Jonathon Cliff.
So after a quick Pho somewhere in the vicinity (I was becoming geographically confused, not to mention sleep-deprived from the 3-hrs shut-eye of the night before) we went to the Alliance-Atlantis party at Mars. It was a giant schmoozefest with loud music and well-hidden sushi. I met a guy named Jonathan who was formely in the central committee of the communist party of Canada, that was fun. Reg and I hooked up with Paul Anthony as well, aka Hugh Phukovsky (pic at left, with me and Reg), who was in town for some mysterious purpose, as well as fellow Vancouverite Roger Larry.
Then another stagger across town (this has been 3 parties so far, remember) and into U of T which was hosting the Mongrel Media party. There we were weighed down with odd gift bags (which contained such glamorous items as Woolite and Frizz-eze) and finally found Alex Shuper (who had earlier picked me up at the airport) and Aeryn Twidle (pictured at left in the Hart House Chess Room which was anything but strategic this evening) and the strangely chill Andrew Williamson (who looks a lot less Yaletown than he once did).
At last, the booze stopped flowing and the glittery people faded away. Biking carefully home we saw this last image: