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Greetings from Canada...

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Fri 24 Sep 2010

Though, like most ‘postcards’, I’ll be home before you get it! I’m four days into an eight day stint at the Toronto International Film Festival, tirelessly taking in six films a day so you don’t have to, and writing this as I wait for yet another film to start. Four days of being corralled from screen to screen in a massive multiplex by hordes of seemingly inexhaustibly chirpy and enthusiastic Canadian (one assumes) volunteers, where the only food available is what you might expect from any multiplex cinema anywhere in the world. Microwaved nachos, anyone?

Anyway, the real reason for mentioning all this – before every screening they run a 30 second ad thanking the aforementioned volunteers for... volunteering, and the audience actually applaud. I’m surprised every time it happens and every time I find myself thinking, this would SO not happen at home. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t think we would do it. We’re not that open or that willing to show such unabashed appreciation. Or maybe we just realise they’re probably a bunch of rich kids with too much time on their hands, who can well afford to give two weeks of their time for free in the hope they might bump into George Clooney in the course of their duties. Now there’s a level of cynicism not often heard in this refreshingly optimistic country, and, of course, I didn’t mean it anyway. They do a great job.

And the films to watch out for so far? Not too much to report as yet, other than if our Colin Firth doesn’t win an Oscar nomination for his role in the wonderful The King’s Speech, then I’m no judge of such things.

Lots of films in this issue, some 116 features and programmes of shorts to be precise. That’ll keep the staff busy. With a to-die-for cast, Made in Dagenham tells the inspirational true story of the striking machinist ladies of the titular Ford car plant who took on the company for equal pay back in 1968 – funny, moving and properly uplifting. Police, Adjective is the latest in a long line of brilliant Romanian ‘New Wave’ dramas, this one centering around a idealistic young policeman who starts losing faith in a law he’s forced to uphold; and Carlos is Olivier Assayas’ epic telling of the life and ‘work’ of infamous terrorist Carlos ‘The Jackal’, screening here in two different versions (see page 6).

The annual Africa in Motion Film Festival takes a comprehensive look at contemporary African cinema, Scotland Loves Anime is a weekend devoted to the Japanese animated phenomenon, and our horror festival, Dead By Dawn, returns for a special one day spectacular on 9 October. Woooooo!

And, back to Canadian audiences. At all the public screenings I have so far attended, when the anti-piracy ‘sting’ comes on screen, the audience give a chorus of “aaarr, aaarr”, as in the Long John Silver impersonation. They never seem to tire of it! Marvellous, isn’t it?

Rod White, Head of Programming

Sent from my iPhone [Oh good grief. - Ed.]

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