The Sunday of the festival is always reserved for the mammoth bar-b-que held by Norman Jewison at his Canadian Film Center. Hundred of people gathered around drink tables and skewered meat and shrimp as they mingled in the beautiful sunshine. It was my first Industry picnic, and I lucked into my invite by finding someone who didn’t want to go. It was just as I feared, with people standing around, for the most part either conversing with old friends, or looking like they were. I latched on to a very nice group, and we talked about all manner of things – anything but movies, it seems. The exception was Arlis Iliopulos, director of the Ed Wood Jr. scripted I WOKE UP EARLY THE DAY I DIED. We talked about the mystical journey the script took, with the ten years of development Wood put into it. Apparently, when Wood’s house was burning down, he was caught naked. Wood fought the firefighters to save his precious possession, a brand new colour TV, while he held the only copy of the script over his, uh, ‘Junior Wood’.
I had begun the day with a round table interview with one of my heroes, Robert LePage. A genius in the world of theatre productions, he perhaps the most original mind working on the North American (or even world wide) stage. His films are also quite exceptional, and LE CONFESSIONAL remains on my top ten list. A lucid and intelligent speaker, he discussed his film, his personal satisfaction with mounting a smaller production with N™, and the interest that this separatist film has been getting in Anglo-Canada.
I ran into the head of the Peurto Rico film festival, and he suggested that the film would play really well there, with its funny yet didactic look at militant nationalism, terrorism, and the troubled history of colonialism and the unhappy marriage between differing, ‘distinct’ cultures.
Finally, the Joker club downtown was the site of the International Filmmakers party. Full of good food and, again, free food, I’m starting to understand why some truly and horrifically bad films can often generate good press. I won’t be so easily swayed. Pass the shrimp anyway, though. Please?