“After the Festival”

After all the build up, it is totally surreal to me that the festival is over!  I sit here at my desk in the quiet office – no interns, no phone calls, no badge pickups, no banner deliveries, no guest lists, and… believe it or not, no To-Do list.

The 14th edition has been, in my humble opinion, the best ever!  We are still crunching the numbers but the attendance was definitely up from last year with several shows selling out completely (and my apologies to all those who didn’t make it into TOILET – we all have our fingers crossed for a theatrical release), many shows going rush, and lots of great crowds to welcome our filmmakers from across the country and around the world.

My favourite screening had to be Gerry Balasta’s MOUNTAIN THIEF which played to a packed house.  Gerry charmed me in San Francisco and he totally won over our Toronto audience as well.  We can’t wait to have Gerry and his next film back in Toronto.

My favourite moment had to be during SUITE SUITE CHINATOWN, as the last piece began and the audience members picked up their tissue paper to join in on the “live foley”.   No one, least of all Joyce, was quite sure if this was going to work, but it did, and so spectacularly, and it reminded me of the magic of film festivals.

My favourite party was definitely Closing Night at Bar Italia – around 1am when most of the revellers had gone home, the Reel Asian team celebrated an awesome week together, dancing to amazing tunes from our favourite DJ Colin D… followed by dumplings and rice noodles at the Owl!

Of course, we weren’t quite done yet, and had 2 encore presentations on Monday (AU REVOIR TAIPEI in Richmond Hill) and Wednesday (SUITE SUITE CHINATOWN in Scarborough).  Exhausted but happy, we were thrilled to have amazing turnouts for those as well.

What I learned this year is that no matter how much you plan and prepare, it all comes down to the people you work with.  We had so many great people returning from last year to work with us –Tim, Jon, Harvey, Danielle, Dean, Christine — and awesome new people who brought their energy and ideas — Kat, Donna, Scott, Becky, Eva, Sam, Anna, Olenka, Christen — we feel truly lucky to have you.  Thanks so much for helping us put on a fantastic festival.

So now that’s it over, what do I do?  Well, I have four grant applications due in the next 2 weeks, and lots of thank yous and reports to submit… but I will take a few days to unwind, enjoy some of the really nice emails that are coming in, and to clean my desk.  Before I know it, we’ll be back at it again…