Every September since 2003 I have done the following little mental dance:
How can I adjust my responsibilities of living (job, social life, bodily functions) to allow for me to spend much of the week in the dark, watching movies? How do I give it my all and not get sick on day four or five?
Those are the practical concerns around living and being a festival-goer. Here are the nuts and bolts:
What do I see? What screenings are in conflict with each other? How do I balance my need to see the buzzed-about festival pictures with my need to see the stuff that I know will open in cinemas, but probably not for months? Sometimes attending the screening of an international gem on the big screen will trump the American indie that I want to see before it gets distribution. Sometimes it won’t. And how many shorts and locally made features can I fit in?
How will I live with the regret when I miss something everyone else is talking about (which happens at least once every festival AGHHHHH)?
If you’re new to the festival, know that the local films sell out early, seats filled by crew, family, and friends. And the galas are also often packed. This year, with filmmakers like Patricia Rozema and Paul Gross in attendance for their movies, those screenings will be an even bigger draw.
If I was superpowered, could defy the laws of physics, and duplicate myself (The Multiple Man!), being in many places at once, here’s the list of movies I would be going to see at the AFF. As I am but a mortal cineaste, tough decisions lay ahead.
(This aspirational list does not include shorts programs, all of which are worth seeing. Asterisks indicate my high priority films.)
Thursday, September 17
Friday, September 18
*Experimenter, The Keeping Room, The Lady In The Van, Closet Monster, *Fanarchy
Saturday, September 19
How To Plan An Orgy In A Smalltown, Undone, *Into The Forest, This Changes Everything, *Green Room
Sunday, September 20
Very Semi-Serious, *Victoria, Your Money Or Your Wife, The Stanford Prison Experiment, *Room
Monday, September 21
Iris, Mountains May Depart, Al Purdy Was Here, *The Lobster, Meru, Remember, Born To Be Blue, Rams
Tuesday, September 22
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, Noon Gun, Life, My Internship In Canada, Mavis!, *I Saw The Light
Wednesday, September 23
Our Little Sister, *The Look of Silence, Grandma, Dheepan, The Forbidden Room, Labyrinth Of Lies
Thursday, September 24
No Men Beyond This Point, *The Son of Saul, Beeba Boys, James White
For information and tickets for the full slate of films showing at Park Lane from Thursday, September 17 to Thursday, September 24, visit the festival website.
I’m fortunate enough to be able to see a few of these features in advance. I’ll be posting about those by Thursday, and then periodically through the festival about what else I’m seeing. Happy AFF, everyone!