Toronto plays host to many film festivals throughout the year, from tiny fringe fests like the Macedonian Film Festival, Cabbagetown Short Film & Video Festival, Bicycle Film Festival, imagineNATIVE (among many, many others), to massive, globally recognized celeb j-o seshes like the Toronto International Film Festival. Film festivals are exciting, uniting, and invigorating. At their best, they can reaffirm our faith in cinema as a transcendental and thought-provoking art form, and at their worst, they can at least provide a conversation starter: "You mean you attended Breast Fest too?". Kris and I recently bought passes to the Midnight Madness program at this year's TIFF, which is always a trip; even if the film sucks the bag, there are bound to be some sort of peripheral shenanigans and/or substance abuse-fuelled mania that make the whole thing more than worthwhile. "CARNIVALE!!!"
One fest to which I pay particularly close attention is the always spectacularly curated Toronto After Dark Film Festival, a celebration of new horror, fantasy, sci-fi and cult film that started out a few years ago as a weekend shindig (but has now expanded to a full week), begins next Friday (Aug. 14). The fest is beginning to take on a mantle similar to Montreal's thus far unparalleled - for North America, at least - Fantasia, and that's saying a lot. Five years ago, when my partner and I lived in Montreal, I bought a 10 ticket package to Fantasia and it turned out to be one of the cinematic landmarks of the past decade for me. Unfortunately, I'll be out of town for a celebration of the end of spontaneous blow-jobs while playing video games, er, I mean, a wedding, on the Friday and Saturday, but you can bet your dick (or vag - we're mad equal-opp at The Buff) you'll find my ass in the grungy seats at the Bloor Cinema for many of the other screenings in the TADFF fest.
One of the awesome things about living in the city is the opportunity to go to the cinema at any time and be awed, altered, saddened, elated, entertained, frightened, uplifted, enlightened. The fact that I have all these opportunites at my fingertips at any given moment is something I take for granted far too often. That all changes now. Get thee to a cinema.