Skip to main content

TIFF: One Year Later


A year ago I had the chance to attend the Toronto International Film Festival for the first time. I had only heard about it over the years through news articles, blogs and TV coverage. Like everything on TV, it doesn’t seem real until you get to see it in person. Sure enough, I got to see “Monsters” directed by newcomer Gareth Edwards and even got to ask him a question after the movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should do so as soon as you can.

I also got to see “John Carpenter’s The Ward” his first movie in nine years. A horror movie, of course. Not his best one, but still pretty solid work from one of the masters of horror.

My friend Shannon Scott, who used to work for the festival, was nice enough to explain to me where I could buy tickets and what places to visit. I would have bought tickets for every day of the week, but I was living off student loans and was starting a semester at Sheridan College, in Oakville. Still, thanks for the information Shannon.

At the time I was studying Journalism-New Media, a very useful post-graduate program. Professionals from the media industry teach you the latest technology used in news agencies including Final Cut, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Flash. They teach you how to shoot footage using Sony-XD cams, how to edit, how to write for print, how to write for the web and how to work in a professional newsroom. In short, everything you need to know to be a journalist in this brave new world of blogs, Twitter, Google+ and whatever is coming next.

Now, one year later, TIFF is back to kick off Oscar season. My long-term dream would be to join the hundreds of journalists, bloggers and movie fans with Twitter accounts currently attending the festival. It would be a joy to attend a premiere, interview someone as a professional from the industry and most importantly, review dozens of movies. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

A lot of my fellow students found internships in the Toronto area following the end of the semester. Some of these led to jobs, some didn’t. My internship was in the small town of Perpignan, in the South of France. Because classes ended in April and the internship began in late June, I found myself with no other choice but to move back to my mom’s apartment in Quebec City (where unfortunately most of the movies don’t play in the original language). The internship itself was great: I got to meet some of the best people I had ever had the pleasure of working with, I got to work as an interpreter, and I now have a published feature story (inperpignan.net).

Now the internship is over, I am home once again and like Alexis Bledel “Post Grad” I am vehemently trying to enter the job market. (Although my grandma is nothing like Carol Burnett.) I try to send job applications every day to any news agency, whether the job is in Rouyn-Noranda, Winnipeg, Montreal, or Tilsonburg. So far my only interview has been with the editor of AskMen.com in Montreal. He was very nice, but three weeks later I am getting the impression I didn’t get the job.

I still write about movies of course. The few people who read this blog know that once a week I review movies that are part of Empire magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Movies of All Times. I try to make my reviews stand out by saying where and when I first saw these movies.

It was the idea of my Introduction to News Gathering and Writing teacher, Ken Wolff, to make my blog different. We all had to blog as part of our homework and I had been writing amateur reviews since early 2009. Ken pointed out that writing reviews on the web is too generic, so I should try to make it more journalistic. I suggested the list approach and he agreed that added something. Sometimes I am describing an experience, such as when I am remembering the first time I saw a truly groundbreaking movie, and sometimes the movie just so happened to play on TV one night. Life can be boring like that.

So, what are my hopes for next year’s TIFF? My ultimate goal would be that a year from now I will be living in Toronto, I will have a job with a reasonable salary, I will reunite with my friends from Sheridan and I will be able to work the festival. I don’t care if I work behind the scenes, in front of the camera, if I write about it or if they put me in charge of monitoring Twitter feeds. As long as I get to watch the movies and revisit the TIFF Bell Lighthouse I would be happy.

In the meantime, I can’t afford to give up. I will keep on sending resumes and cover letters every day until something happens. I can still keep track of the festival thanks to active bloggers like Roger Ebert, Grace Wang, the people at Movies.com and the people at Moviefone. Maybe next year, maybe the year after, or five years from now, I hope to join them.  

Oh, and best of luck to everyone from JNM (Journalism-New Media) still looking for a job. I’ll see you around.  


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #70: Stand by Me

Another clear influence on Stranger Things, Rob Reiner’s Stand by Me (1986) portrays American kids from a lost era in which they could go on an adventure away from home. Nowadays if children go missing for more than an hour parents try to locate them using cell phone apps, but in the story written by Stephen King four boys in 1959 Oregon go walking in the woods during a long weekend to look for, of all things, a dead body. Their lives are sometimes at risk, they have no way of communicating with their parents, but they will definitely have a story to remember for the rest of their lives.
For many North Americans adults this movie fondly reminded them of a time in their childhood despite the inherent danger. Not so for me since, first of all, there was no time in my childhood when I could possibly go out of the house for more than three hours without my mom getting in her car to go look for me. The there is the fact that I spent a good chunk of my childhood living in Chile and Peru, an…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #364: Natural Born Killers

Natural Born Killers (1994) is not so much a movie as an American nightmare come to life. Loosely based on a story by Quentin Tarantino, starring some of the wildest actors in Hollywood at the time, and boasting a level of violence that unfortunately inspired copycat crimes, it is the textbook definition of controversial. In all fairness there are important messages amidst all the violent mayhem, but director Oliver Stone throws so much content at the screen that these messages can sometimes get lost in the carnage.
Even though the movie came out more than two decades ago it still has a legendary status, which I learned about while reading a chapter in a book about Tarantino’s career. The book, Quintessential Tarantino, contained a lot of interesting facts about the making of the movie and also spoiled the ending, but reading a few words that describe a killing spree is very different than seeing it portrayed on screen. A few years ago the director’s cut became available on Netflix, wh…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #29: Die Hard

This year I have been going all over the place with this Greatest Movies List, sometimes reviewing the next movie on the list, sometimes reviewing one I saw a few weeks ago. Since I am playing fast and loose with the rules, and since this is the Holiday season, why not skip down the list to what is arguably one of the all time greatest Christmas movies, Die Hard (1988)? Some people like to spend the Christmas season watching an angel get its wings, some like to watch a millionaire learn the meaning of Christmas, I like to watch Alan Rickman read the words “Now I have a machine gun. Ho. Ho. Ho.”
After five movies I think even the most die-hard fans (wink) would agree this franchise has gone on for too long, but the first three movies are some of the best action movies of the 80s and 90s. I actually watched them out of order, starting with the second one, followed by the third and eventually making it to the one that started it all at Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve. Watching those movi…