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Monday, September 18, 2017

Sean Kelly

TIFF17: Wrap-Up

I did that math today and discovered that this was my fifteenth year going to TIFF, with me having been going to the festival since 2003 (at the very young age of 21). A lot has changed for the festival in that time, both good and bad. In fact, this year's festival began with longtime director and CEO Piers Handling announcing his retirement at the end of 2018. As the glitz and glamour of the festival went on for the public, the inner workings of TIFF became the subject of some major criticism. One year after criticizing the festival for being too big, Variety posted an editorial this week that commented that the festival now seems smaller than ever. Then, just as the festival was wrapping up, Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper published a scathing expose about the TIFF organization's financial problem, lack of attendance at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, and quiet release of most of the exhibition staff.

While I will watch how TIFF responds to this criticism with great interest, I do remain optimistic about the festival's future. I have next bought into the glitz and glam and I always put the films first. This year, I saw a whopping 28 festival selections, with only a few of those film underwhelming me. This year also featured some milestones for me, with me seeing a record 8 Canadian films, as well 8 films in the Midnight Madness programme, which marked a solid inaugural year for new programmer Peter Kuplowski. I for one look forward to what TIFF brings in the future. However, it is time for my annual festival wrap-up.

Top Ten Favourite Films of TIFF17
  1. I, Tonya (Special Presentations)
  2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Special Presentations)
  3. The Crescent (Midnight Madness)
  4. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Special Presentations)
  5. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (Midnight Madness)
  6. Bodied (Midnight Madness)
  7. Manhunt (Special Presentations)
  8. Porcupine Lake (Contemporary World Cinema)
  9. Revenge (Midnight Madness)
  10. The Cured (Special Presentations)
Top Five Midnight Madness Films
  1. The Crescent
  2. Brawl in Cell Block 99
  3. Bodied
  4. Revenge
  5. Vampire Clay
Top Five Canadian Films
  1. The Crescent (Midnight Madness)
  2. Porcupine Lake (Contemporary World Cinema)
  3. There is a House Here (TIFF Docs)
  4. Les Affamés (Contemporary World Cinema)
  5. Ta peau si lisse (Wavelengths)
Vanguard Memorial Top Three Non-Midnight Madness Genre Films
  1. Manhunt (Special Presentations)
  2. The Cured (Special Presentations)
  3. Les Affamés (Contemporary World Cinema)
Top Three Special Presentations
  1. Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! (TIFF Docs)
  2. There is a House Here (TIFF Docs)
  3. Ta peau si lisse (Wavelengths)
Honourable Mentions
Least Favourite Film
Films I Wish I Saw
  • The Shape of Water (Special Presentations)
  • Mom and Dad (Midnight Madness)
Number of Films Seen
  • 28 Feature Films
  • 2 Short Films
Coverage
  • Sean Kelly on Movies - 27
  • Toronto Film Scene 1
Programme Tally
  • Midnight Madness - 8
  • Special Presentations - 5
  • Contemporary World Cinema - 5
  • Gala Presentations - 3
  • TIFF Docs - 2
  • Discovery - 2
  • Wavelengths 2
  • Masters - 1
Theatre Tally
  • Scotiabank Theatre - 13
  • Ryerson Theatre - 7
  • TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
  • Princess of Wales Theatre - 2
Plus 4 feature films seen prior to the festival.

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).