And just like that, the week is done. Similar to Cannes, it simultaneously felt like I had just arrived and been there forever. Life has a funny way of doing that when you’re running on pure adrenaline and no sleep.
The last three days were definitely the most low-key. With the exception of Monday which was a bit more hectic with two big events, the rest of the festival passed by in the blink of an eye.
On Monday morning, we assisted with press check-in for a couple of screenings and spent the rest of the day tracking covering from Sunday’s press junkets. Around 2pm we headed over to the Shangri-La Hotel to help out with the red carpet for the 2016 Birks Diamond Tribute honoring Canadian women in film.
Even though I recognized approximately one celebrity (Sandra Oh, holla!!), the event was super cool. I alternated between helping guests out in the lobby as they arrived and helping out at the carpet upstairs.
After the event, I went back to my hotel for a much-needed shower and nap before getting ready for our second big event that night — the Hello Canada party at the Drake Hotel (so much Canada today!!)
The venue was super cool and we had rented out the whole place for the party, including the cafe, restaurant and patio bar. That night was purely talent-handling as we greeted guests, walked them up the carpet for photos and interviews, and raced back to the front to do it all over again.
The carpet finally closed around midnight, and I realized I hadn’t eaten in about twelve hours so I mingled at the party for a bit, taking advantage of some of the free food, and then headed back and knocked out.
Tuesday was definitely the chillest day thus far — only one screening in the morning followed by a quick round of monitoring and we were free!
Back when I did Cannes, the program videographers had followed me around to capture my experience and potentially create a little promo video but things got hectic and it never got finished. But now since I was back for Toronto, Richie had reached out to see if we could do a quick interview and some B-roll and hopefully put something together with all the footage from Cannes.
So after work, we met up for a quick lunch and walked around until we found a good place for the interview and some walking shots. I’m excited to see how everything comes out!
That night, I had an invite to the SXSW-sponsored party. It was a pretty sweet venue and I felt super cool when my name was on the list and checked off without any problems while people were trying to crash and getting turned away.
Ego boost — check.
And that brings us to the last day — I had nothing on the schedule for work and I wanted to take advantage of my free time to squeeze in as many movies as I could.
But alas, the best laid plans. There were at least six movies or so screening that day that I’ve been dying to see but of course many overlapped and I had to make some sacrifices.
Finally, I decided on La La Land at 8:30am, followed by Free Fire at 12:15, and wrapping up the day with Jackie at 2:45pm.
Which was all well and good until I totally slept through my alarm and missed La La Land — off to a great start! On the other hand though, even at the time I had planned on arriving at the theater, I realized later that the rush line in the morning had been so long I probably would not have gotten in. Which would have made me very cranky that I had woken up early for nothing. So I guess yay for being lazy!
Instead, I took my time in the morning to get ready and pack up everything since my flight was leaving that night. My supervisor had texted me about covering a press screening at 11:30am which fit perfectly with my 12:15 Free Fire plan so after I was done packing, I headed over to the theater. After I wrapped up the screening, I got in the rush line for Free Fire, which was literally around the block. I spent a very nervous 45 minutes anxiously wondering if I was going to get in (it was one of the most talked about movies at the festival) until finally finally finally at exactly 12:15pm I reached the front of the line and was given one of the last 13 tickets. Lucky me indeed.
I even managed to find a perfect seat in the middle row — the theater was packed and the movie had started so it was a bit of a stress to find somewhere to sit. But once I did, all my anxiety evaporated and I spent the next hour and a half enjoying one of the best movies of the festival.
Free Fire is scheduled to be released sometime in 2017 so who knows if it will even be out in time for awards season — I’m honestly thrilled that I got a chance to see it now. Fantastic cast, wacky characters, compelling setting, edge-of-your-seat action, and it was also just really funny. Something I was not expecting about a movie in which all the characters are basically stuck in a warehouse and shooting at each other after an arms deal goes south.
As soon as the movie ended, I grabbed a grilled cheese from a little shop across the street from the theater and got right back in the rush line for Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy. The film was great, and there is no doubt in my mind Natalie Portman will get nominated for Best Actress — especially considering Fox Searchlight acquired it and they have one of the best track records in awards season. Jackie will be released in December, so definitely one to check out as award season kicks off.
By the time I got out of the movie and back to the hotel, it was just about time to head out. In no time at all, I was on the train to the airport, boarding, landing, and back home.
What a trip it has been — I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I’ve learned so much about the industry and with every festival I work I become more and more comfortable that this is what I’m meant to do.
And now that Fall is starting, my favorite time of the year has begun again — so brb while I pass the rest of the year spending all my money on tickets and popcorn.
Fall movie preview post to come soon — so hold tight! Until next time!