A quick observation. On September 11th, TIFF decided they needed to acknowledge the events of ten years ago. I was at the Festival myself that year and actually watching a movie when the planes hit the Twin Towers. They did not stop the movie but afterwards the staff came out to say somewhat mysteriously that ” due to events this morning, the Q and A was cancelled”. That was it. All they said. No one in the audience had any idea what they were talking about and assumed it related to some incident involving the director. After all we were all in a movie all morning. So happily I went off to my next movie. Standing in line I was expecting my daughter to join me for a showing of the classic Rollerball to be introduced and discussed by Norman Jewison the director. She arrived to tell me what had happened. I was stunned and then they cancelled the showing and we went home to watch the news. The Festival carried on that week with just the films and all the parties cancelled.
So …. I remember, at the time, thinking this was the only thing they could do or they would be ruined economically and there was really no reason not to continue. Obviously it was a difficult communications and PR issue but basically only that for the Festival directors and staff. However…… this year they did a 2 minute short that they showed before each film on the 11th and then cancelled all the repetitive and now pretty annoying ads and promotions they run before each film. The short they ran starred Piers Handling the TIFF co-director and other staff being interviewed about events 10 years ago. Phenomenally it was not about the people who died or the impact on the world or anything moderately selfless. It was all about them!! How devastating it was for them. How difficult it was to decide whether to continue or not. How selfless and courageous it was of them to carry on. I couldn’t believe it and I had to watch it three times I think. The only good part was that they cancelled all the other dumb pre movie stuff and got right on with showing the movies.