Unless you avoid television news, entertainment shows and Internet news sites, you are probably quite aware that the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is in full swing.
As with previous festivals, much of the coverage has focused on the real and imagined celebrities who are in Toronto, what they are wearing, what they are eating and who they are holding hands with. What gets surprisingly short shrift are the films themselves.
We do things a little differently here in Edmonton. The Edmonton International Film Festival that starts on Sept. 23 is all about the films. Another thing that makes EIFF different than TIFF is that it is way more accessible to the general public. You do not have to be one of the “special people” in order to see a film. All you have to do is buy a ticket. The EIFF even has films for junior high and high school students that teachers can use to facilitate discussions of a variety of topics and issues.
Another difference is in the films themselves. Much of what you could see at TIFF will be appearing on our local screens sometime soon. EIFF brings films that are interesting in and of themselves and not just because an incredibly beautiful woman or a gorgeous hunk of a man is in them. One example of that is Cloudburst, which will kick off the festival. This is a film about Stella and Dot, an aged lesbian couple in Maine, one of whom has been placed in a seniors home by her granddaughter. The story focuses on Stella helping break Dot out of the facility and heading for Nova Scotia, where gay marriage is legal.
Just in case you think all the movies at EIFF are about depressing social issues, you might want to check out Exit Humanity. If you like movies about the walking dead, this one’s for you.
The closing-night film is Bag of Hammers, a comedy about two misfits who decide to create the family they never had. More about these films can be found on the EIFF website (edmontonfilmfest.com).
Even if you are not necessarily a film buff, you have to eat lunch, right? For $12.50, Lunch Box Shorts at Empire City Centre 9 will allow you to get a complementary lunch from Subway, see a movie and be back at your desk before anyone even notices you’ve been gone.