g The Film Panel Notetaker: Festing it up in Rochester & Toronto (original post 5/8/06)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Festing it up in Rochester & Toronto (original post 5/8/06)

Today is my first actual day of actual R&R on my week-long vacation. Saturday and Sunday, I spent my time at two different film festivals in two different cities, in two different countries.

Saturday night I went to the Rochester International Film Festival with my friends Phil and Rebecca from Amherst, NY. We went to the 8pm screening at the Dryden Theater, located in the George Eastman House. There was a block of short films playing there. The RIFF hails itself as "Movies on a Shoestring." I must say that the quality of most of the films, in terms of cinematography, production design, et al, were quite good. Films ranged from animation to live action, and from all around the world.

One film in particular, which started off the 8 o'clock block, "Liberte Conditionelle," from Montreal, Canada, was stopped half-way through its run. Reason being, there were no English subtitles. The director of the festival came out to explain that they had not viewed the 35mm print prior to that evening, and didn't know it didn't have English subtitles. She said someone came up to her in the audience and told her to turn it off, and as she was about to let the next film role, several members of the audience yelled "Put it back on" and "We want to see the rest of it." It was a very awkward moment. She didn't listen to them. I would have liked to see the rest of it. Not that my 4-years of high school French are good enough for me to understand what was being said, but at least honor the filmmaker by showing the entire film.

On Sunday afternoon, my Dad and I drove from Grand Island, NY, to Toronto. We got there early and purchased tickets for the documentary "Encounter Point," which played at the Hot Docs Film Festival. Before the film, we grabbed some brunch at a local eatery on Bloor Street. I was surprised at how small the portions were. I guess in the U.S., we get too much food on our plates, and up North, they give just the exact serving size.

Afterwords, we headed over to the Isabel Bader Theater, where we saw "Encounter Point." I thought it was very good and thought-provoking. There are a lot of documentaries about Israel and Palestine, and "Encounter Point" focused on something new and interesting I didn't know much about, which was the people, both Israelis and Palistineans, who are looking for reconcilation as a means for peace, as opposed to allowing their governments to dictate unatainable conflict resolutions.

We were going to see "Look Up In The Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman," but my dad wasn't feeling up to it, so we headed back home.

I wasn't aware that the Toronto Jewish Film Festival was going on this week, too. I wish I had gone to Hot Docs Saturday night instead and stayed over night, so I would have had a chance to see more films there, and also at the Toronto Jewish FF. I've never gone to the Toronto Int'l FF, and think I will make it a goal to go there this Fall for an entire weekend.

Hope you all had a nice weekend, too!

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