Tag Archives: TIFF

Keynote at TIFF Filmmaker Bootcamp – 2013

The folks at the Toronto Film Festival have just posted my keynote from their annual Filmmaker Boot Camp, a sort of retreat where they prepare filmmakers for their experience at TIFF. This is the second time they’ve asked me to do this, and given that Toronto is one of my favorite festivals, I’m glad to be of service.

The information I presented is a summary of some presentations I’ve made in my classes at Columbia, and at various other events. It’s a quick overview of the current marketplace, followed by some specific strategies one might use to navigate a festival like Toronto, and to make the best of the experience. I hope those of you who couldn’t be there will find something useful in it.

Feel free to chime in with your thoughts. (more…)

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Social Networking Panel at TIFF12

This was a fun and informative panel at this past year’s Toronto International Film Festival, in which Christine Vachon, Cinedigm’s Jeff Reichert and BOND Strategy and Influence’s Marc Schiller discussed social networking strategies for independent film marketing. By the way, I was the moderator.

Comments after the break >> (more…)

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More bad news about VPFs…or is it?

I ran into an exhibitor friend at the Toronto Film Festival (who shall remain nameless) and he went off about how unhappy he was about having signed a VPF deal in order to convert his theaters to Hollywood’s version of digital projection equipment. We talked about all the various implications of the deal, which I’ve outlined in a previous post. But he brought up another angle that I hadn’t realized before.

In order to be eligible for a VPF deal, an exhibitor has to guarantee a certain number of “turns” per screen per year. A “turn” is when you dump the film you are playing and bring in a new one, which then requires the distributor of that new film to pay a VPF fee. The more “turns” the more your equipment has been subsidized. (more…)

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Getting Ready for your premiere at TIFF

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to be the keynote speaker at the Filmmakers Bootcamp, an annual event at the TIFF Lightbox to prepare the Canadian filmmakers for their experience at the Toronto Film Festival. Given the nature of the event, I decided to emphasize practical advice about making the most of the experience. Since the audience was limited to Canadian filmmakers, the good folks at TIFF recorded the session and have made it available on line. Here it is in its entirety, with the hope that it might be of help to others of you who might be navigating Toronto for the first time.


Comments after the break… (more…)

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10 Years Ago…A Family Odyssey (Final Chapter)

This is the final post of a series. You can find the other parts at Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4

Conclusion:

It was with a combination of hope and fear that we approached the George Washington Bridge. The first sign of the new world we had entered was the substantial police presence at the toll plaza.

Then from the bridge, we got our first glimpse of the new skyline. Beth recalls it being like a blow to the solar plexus. We were both getting choked up. Beth started to cry.

Entering our apartment provided a sense of security that only “home” can provide, no matter that everything outside was now different.

But our little adventure was over. Our hurried trip as a family to Toronto, Chicago and back had served many purposes. Born out of the perceived need to deliver a film print and to deliver our son to college, it turned into a family catharsis. We were able to work through our anger, our fears and a whole host of other issues, and to do it as a family. By staying together, we instinctively knew that whatever was to come, we would deal with it… together. And by staying on the move, we avoided sitting in front of the television and wallowing. In other words, we dealt with this new threat in our lives by staying busy. (more…)

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10 Years Ago…A Family Odyssey (part 3)

Part 1 of this article can be found here, and part 2 can be found here.

Day Three: Thursday September 13, 2001

When I awoke the next morning, Beth was already out and about. I went off to deliver the 35mm print of “Ball in the House” and to arrange for a tech check later in the day. The streets in Toronto’s Yorkville neighborhood were not bustling the way they usually are in the middle of the festival. Walking back to the hotel, I ran into Paul Cohen, then the head of Manhattan Pictures. He greeted me with “Have you found a way back to New York yet?” I responded, “I just got here last night.” He said “You’re kidding.” I explained that I had driven up to deliver the print and to premiere my film. He informed me that all the Americans at the festival were gone already or were desperately trying to get home, by whatever means necessary. My heart sank as I realized that whatever hopes we had of making a distribution deal on the film at the festival were pretty much over.

I found Beth back in the hotel room with the kids. She told me she had gotten up early and gone into the underground shopping mall that lies beneath the Marriott to get coffee. She bought a local newspaper, sat down with her coffee and as she started reading, she began to cry. That newspaper was to be the beginning of a collection of local newspapers that she began to acquire as we continued our trip. (more…)

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10 Years Ago…A Family Odyssey (part 2)

Part 1 of this article can be found here.

Day Two: Wednesday September 12, 2001

When morning arrived, the apartment started to empty out. Subway service had been partially restored, and there was now a way for everyone to get home. Everyone, that is, except for Laura and her kids. Their Tribeca loft was still in a cordoned off zone, and it was unclear how much longer she would be kept from going home.

The phone rang, and it was a perfect stranger. This person wanted to reach out to a New Yorker to express her solidarity, so she dialed 212 and then her own phone number, hoping to reach someone that way. I thanked her for her good wishes, and it crossed my mind that this was the first time I had ever experienced being considered a “victim.” (more…)

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10 Years Ago…A Family Odyssey

Day One: Tuesday September 11, 2001

It was one of those glorious mornings that the weathermen on TV refer to as “one of the top 10 days of the year.” There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and there was a hint of autumn in the air. The light was crystalline, with every detail in sharp relief.

Beth and I awoke with a lot on our minds.

It was the first day of school for our daughter Emily, who was entering the 10th grade.  Our son Jeff was already packed in preparation for his first year of college at Northwestern; he was to fly to Chicago with Beth on Friday. I was about to meet up with my producing partner Stephen Dyer to fly to Toronto for the world premiere of our film “Ball in the House.” It was also Election Day.

My bag was packed and sat in the foyer by the front door of our apartment on the Upper West Side, as I headed out to the polling place down the block. As I was leaving the building, the doorman said, “Did you hear? A plane flew into the World Trade Center.” I turned to him and nodded. I didn’t think much of it, since I knew that over the years, a number of planes had flown into the Empire State Building. I pictured a small Cesna crumpled against the building. (more…)

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Toronto International Film Festival 2009 – Juliet Goodfriend’s Notes

Juliette Goodfriend, the aptly named Executive Director of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute in suburban Philly, is one of those devoted art house exhibitors who does whatever it takes to bring the best in international cinema to her audience. We’re proud to have her institution as partof the Emerging Cinemas network. At this year’s Toronto Film Festival, Juliette scoured the available films and I’m pleased to share her thoughts with you.  Those of you who live in or near Philly, owe it to yourself to check out her theater.

From Juliette Goodfriend:

A failed tweeter, I submit in good, old-fashioned prose my comments about the 30 films I viewed in part or in their entirety. As has become the custom, they are grouped in approximate descending order of appeal to what I take to be our audience at BMFI. Remember, too, that I have previously submitted notes on the couple dozen films we saw at Cannes ’09, some of which were major hits here at Toronto.

Emerging themes from Toronto: Uncertainty, infidelity, intoxication, and apocalypse—any relationship you see among them is purely intentional. What I noticed most was that there was very little blood in “My Toronto”. So here goes: (more…)

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