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5 things I learned at TIFF

17 September 2014 Written by  Bob Crowe

Angel Entertainment’s feature film BIG MUDDY premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2014. Grumpy producer, Bob Crowe, represented Angel at TIFF and filed this report.


5 things I learned at TIFF


  1. Eat a good breakfast. You will be surviving for the rest of the day on hors d’oeuvres. You may make lunch or even dinner plans, but there’s a good chance that those plans will change (festival meetings are always pretty fluid things) and meals will be missed. Grazing at the 5 o’clock parties you’ll suddenly realize how famished you are!
  2. It doesn’t matter that you have a film in the festival, you’re still not going to be invited to Brangelina’s party. Just like at Cannes (where the A-listers avoid the hoi polloi by staying in Antibes) the celebs at TIFF stay hidden in private residences, granting occasional audiences to the press. Hanging around outside the Shangri-la you might spot Atom Egoyan, but Johnny Depp sends his regrets.        
  3. TIFF volunteers are wonderful. I had a heck of a time getting extra tickets for the Big Muddy premiere. Before I got to Toronto I was totally frustrated with the people who weren’t returning my calls and emails. But when I got there I found they had my tickets waiting for me, and the young woman who gave them to me said “your film sounds awesome – I’m trying to get tickets to it myself!” She was swamped, couldn’t get to the films she wanted to go to, but still had time to be nice to me. Decided to get over myself a wee bit.
  4. TIFF technical staff will go to any length to give you the best screening. Okay, I can’t find anything to be even a little grumpy about here: At the premiere of Big Muddy we were shocked to see a technical flaw in the film. A call to the lab told us the problem was at their end. They were in Vancouver, we were in Toronto, and the next screening was only 40 hours away. The problem was fixed in Vancouver, hard drives were couriered to TIFF, but the screening was now 6 hours away. Everyone said they would need 24 hours to ingest the new DCP, but some plucky TIFF techie said ‘not on my watch!’ and got it done 30 minutes before the second, flawless, screening.
  5. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done to produce your film, it’s all about the Director. Remember the dozen times your production almost went down? When a critical piece of financing dropped out, and you carried it on your own bank account for three weeks? When crew members were fighting among themselves and you had to play the heavy? None of that matters at a festival. There are no prizes for producing the (almost) unproduceable film. It’s about the Director’s vision and execution, and that’s as it should be. If you supported your Director well, found the money to get it done while keeping the whole thing from flying apart and you’re proud of the result, then take a bow. No one’s looking anyway. Get over yourself.