TIFF 2014: BW's September Movie Marathon

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So, what's the big deal with Toronto?

Every year the Cannes and Sundance film festivals compete for the media spotlight, but having attended both I can tell you that, with each passing year, Cannes' and Sundance's grasps on reality slip a bit more. They've become more exclusive and expensive and, ultimately, have more in common with attention-starved celebrities than their audiences.

But come September, the city of Toronto swings open its doors at dozens of  movie houses, inviting the movie-going world to experience something fulfilling. Yes, there are celebrities aplenty in Toronto (and we'll be talking to more than a few of them over the next 10 days), but TIFF is all about the public. Toronto audiences will queue for an hour (or more) just to grab an affordable ticket to a world premiere. And because TIFF is expertly scheduled in early September, it becomes the launchpad for those few choice films that will compete for Oscar gold in just a few months.

Plus, there are so many surprises at TIFF each year. A few years ago, Boise Weekly readers were the first to hear about a lovely little film about one man's battle with stuttering; the next year we were head-over-heels for an improbable black-and-white silent movie; in 2012, we marveled at the breathtaking story of the unlikely rescue of American hostages in Iran; and a year ago we couldn't hold back the tears as we got our first glimpse of a definitive film about American slavery. By now, we all know those films were The King's Speech, The Artist, Argo and 12 Years a Slave. Each went on to claim the Best Picture Oscar.

Above all, year after year TIFF has been about storytelling. Indeed, these have been the films that reminded us why we fell in love with movies so long ago: extraordinary tales about ordinary people. 

Take a look at this sampling of films that we'll be viewing over the next 10 days and you'll see why we return each year: