It didn’t look like I was going to make it this morning because the day started with a monsoon and my flight out of NY was cancelled which of course I wasn’t notified about until I was at the airport, but everything worked out well and I made it onto a lovely Air Canada flight and arrived only one hour behind schedule. I also met a distributor Stuart Strutin of Panorama Entertainment on the flight and found out he is distributing Niki Caro (Whale Rider) film The Vintner’s Luck. He also has a bunch of other female directed films that we discussed. He told me that he doesn’t release a lot of his films in NYC because it is so expensive. Not the first time I’ve heard that from an indie distributor.
I made my way from my hotel to the festival and here’s my first complaint about Toronto, the weekly metro pass runs from Monday to Sunday. So if you arrive here in the middle of the week it makes no sense to buy a weekly pass cause then you have to buy 2. That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.
This is my first big film festival and this festival is really big. There are festival people everywhere downtown. It’s a bit daunting (you could see movies from 8am til 10pm) but I am getting my bearings and started off well with the first film I saw, Where Do We Go Now? directed by Lebanese director Nadine Labacki. I missed the beginning because the festival changed the time and didn’t tell any of us early enough but it was really good. I really liked her first film Caramel and this one was about how the women in a village came together across religious difference to make peace in the town. It was about how religion is used as a weapon to drive people apart. It was about how men get caught up in hatred and lose their minds and don’t realize that the people they are killing are their friends until it is too late and they are attending another funeral.
But the women see across the differences. They are sick and tired of the dying and of burying their sons. They never let their different beliefs make them hate each other. Labacki uses humor and deceit – the women get all the men stoned so they can go out and get rid of all the guns before they can cause more trouble. It was really funny watching a scene of women, some in head scarves mixing a batch of hash to give to the village men.
One question I will have for Ms. Labacki when I interview her tomorrow is how come there weren’t any girls in the village.
They are still looking for a US distributor yet. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.