TIFF16: Days 3-4

I can’t believe how quickly this experience is going — day after tomorrow I’ll be on a plane back to Boston and it feels like I’ve just arrived. And I mean in a way I did! It’s only been four days!

Saturday and Sunday were — as one can imagine for the first weekend of an international film festival — in a word, hectic. For the movies we were working on, they were the most intensive days as far as premieres and events and press junkets.

On Saturday, the majority of the day was spent monitoring for coverage and preparing for the night’s events. We were putting on the UniFrance party as well as two premieres all at the same time.

At around 6pm, the team met up at The Fifth, a super cool lounge bar where the UniFrance party was taking place. With the red carpet set up and and our tip sheets ready to go, the night quickly began. I was positioned outside to greet talent and bring them up the stairs and inside to check in at the red carpet.

It had been a gross day and the evening was no better — crazy high humidity and nonstop rain forced us under umbrellas as guests scrambled to check in and get inside. Thankfully after a while, I was repositioned inside to assist with the red carpet check-in so I spent the rest of the evening watching the A-listers of the French world pose and smile.

Not a bad life.

But there was still work to be done. Once the red carpet started dying down I hopped in a cab with the team and headed over to the Isabel Bader Theater for the Below Her Mouth premiere. I was in charge of tickets but it was pouring rain, and I had no desire to stand outside waiting around for people to find me. So I told the volunteers who were working the doors to send anyone looking for tickets to me and spent the night watching the red carpet from behind the photographer line, taking my own pics for our social channels.

After all the tix were given out and the movie was underway, I took advantage of a group that was heading back to the UniFrance party and hopped in their cab. By this time, the rain was brutal and I had no other way of getting back. I stayed for a bit longer enjoying the UniFrance party (and by enjoying, I mean stuffing my face with all the bread and cheese) until I decided to brave the rain and make my way back to the hotel.

Jacqui was already in our room, and we were really trying to convince ourselves to go out that night. I swear we really really tried. We were fully dressed (albeit under our covers) and going through some options. But then we turned on the TV, you know just to see what was on. And Bridesmaids was just wrapping up so we thought oh no harm in finishing it. And then it started again and we thought oh no harm in seeing what we missed.

Needless to say, the rain and exhaustion won out and we ended up staying in and watching a movie and nope we don’t regret a thing.

Sunday was a beautiful day — low 70s and bright and sunny and cool. The kind of weather that makes you happy to be alive. I was up early as we had a full day of press junkets ahead for Below Her Mouth. I was in the office by 8 to do coverage and prep before heading over to the Sharp Lounge for the first round of interviews with the director and cast.

After a morning of interviews (including with HBO Latino, Variety, and Vogue), we headed over to the Hyatt for the Indiewire photo shoot. From there we hustled over to the Intercontinental for the Getty photo shoot. By this time it was past 1 in the afternoon and we were all tired and hungry.

We had lunch reservations at Azure, the fancy restaurant inside the Intercontinental. The food was amazing — well worth the craziness of the day. Feeling much better, we walked over to the last two photo shoots of the day for W Magazine and BBC and with one more interview for a local film publication, our day was done.

Or well, at least the day for the cast and crew was done. It had been so lovely to spend the day with them (even though being around a Swedish supermodel and a beautiful actress did nothing for my self-esteem) and they were immensely thankful at how smoothly the day had gone.

But we still had work to do. After the final interview we headed over to the Scotiabank theater to check in press for a P+I screening (Press + Industry). And finally after one more round of coverage monitoring, we were done for the day.

Exhausted, my feet killing me, I gratefully made my way back to the hotel where I collapsed on my bed to rest. It had been a 12 hour day and I was dead.

Jacqui had texted me about trying to catch a screening that night and after a bit of rest (and a desperately needed change of shoes) I was ready to make moves. We were planning on doing rush for The Promise, starring the love of my life and universe Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale.

The premiere was at the Roy Thomson Theater (same one that had premiered The Magnificent Seven on our first night) so I grabbed a quesadilla from a food truck around the corner and we got in line around 8:15. The movie was set to start at 9:30, but again, to no one’s surprise, was running behind.

We passed the time by playing Heads Up in the line (causing a lot of commotion and earning many strange looks). Finally, finally, finally we made it in the theater and sat down as the movie started.

Because of the rush line, we had missed the director and cast intro and were seated at the far left balcony which only offered us a partial of the screen. We were pretty upset until we looked over and saw that two balconies over on our right was the entire cast.

Oscar Isaac was barely a few yards away. I may have cried.

I enjoyed the movie to an extent. The film is about a love triangle set against the backdrop of the Armenian Genocide at the start of the First World War. The subject matter is heavy and the film does not hold back from the terribleness of the brutal atrocities that were committed. My only gripe, and unfortunately it’s quite a big one, is that a love triangle romance was the emotional center of the film.

A film about the Armenian Genocide is an incredibly powerful story that needs to be told (and is not told enough). It’s strong enough and compelling enough to stand on its own. However, by focusing on romance as the hook, it took away from its impact. You’re more focused on the will-they-or-won’t-they or who is she going to end up with or which one will survive that the plight of the Armenian people and the war seems almost like an afterthought. I think the film would have been better served had the emotional core been focused on a family or even a brother and sister. This would have allowed the viewer to connect deeply with the characters without sacrificing the importance of the story that the movie is trying to tell.

The movie got out late, and since I had another early morning, I headed back to the hotel and knocked out.

And just like that four days have flown by. The next few days will be hopefully more lowkey in terms of work so I’m hoping to go to more screenings and events and make the most out of the time I have left.

Stay tuned!

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