TIFF Tidbits 2017 – Ward 33 E-Blast August 24th

I want to talk about that special thing that makes the end of summer something to look forward to in Toronto. If you are a lover of film, of celebrity, of open street festivals or a lover of all three, then TIFF is your favourite time of year. But first, a local matter.

I got a helpful message via Twitter last Saturday afternoon. A ward resident who follows @Ward33Team and @ShelleyCarroll sent the following message:

By 5:30am on Sunday, another arrived:

While I have a lot of fun on twitter, some would say too much fun when I’m ranting about U.S. President #45, the messages above are the real reason I am on so many platforms. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter or SnapChat, you should be able to reach me with your smart phone and send me a photo of anything that is wrong in our ward.

The Don Mills Road and Helen Lu Road sidewalk issue was a perfect example of why we prefer to follow rules, get proper permits and take the time to consider everything before any small project starts, let alone a big one. Before allowing the first residents to occupy the newest building in the Parkway Forest/ELAD development, the developer’s crew was required to install wheelchair curbs throughout the intersection. In their haste, they did not obtain a permit. If they had, City permit staff would have required that they leave a pedestrian route open at all times.

When the tweets started rolling in from my tweeps (thanks, folks!) I asked 311 to investigate. They discovered the sidewalk work was not a City job and tracked down who it was. The developer has since apologized profusely and the contractors will pay a consequence. I highlight this incident because social media was a help to all involved. I was able to forward the photos immediately to @311Toronto with my request. This is an avenue that is open to you any hour of the day for neighbourhood issues. Sure beats being left on hold when you have to phone in a 311 request.

TIFF 2017!

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, the Toronto International Film Festival is for you. This year more than ever because some of the hottest and best films to consider attending aren’t even Celebrity Galas.

The Street Festival along King Street will be on through the first weekend of TIFF, from the evening of September 7th to the end of Sunday night, September 10th. It is always an exhilarating scene. I had a hand in getting that started four years ago. It doesn’t cost you a thing and celebrity sightings are quite common. Keep your eyes peeled though. Leonardo Di Caprio looked just like any other guy that time he strolled past us walking up King St. in regular clothes.

Attending can be surprisingly accessible for those who do their homework. Tickets go on sale for the general public on September 4th. Pour over the program and look for hidden treasure and re-screenings of major galas. Sometimes the same celebrities that took a bow at the gala premiere at Roy Thompson Hall, show up for a re-screening at the Scotiabank Theatre the next morning, just to gauge your reaction to their work.

My husband once attended a daytime screening of a documentary about Bob Fosse (daytime screenings can cost you $25 or even less) and Liza Minnelli showed up and sat on the edge of the stage chatting for an hour. I was in a meeting at City Hall, darn it! Another time, hubby attended a 9:30am screening documentary about Ian Curtis, the brilliant lead singer of the band, Joy Division, and original band member Peter Hook addressed the audience at length. The ticket for that morning was $18! I had to be in a Budget Committee that day. What I’m saying is, daytime screenings are often just as exciting but easier to get in if your days are free.

This year, the more expensive gala premiers at Roy Thompson Hall (stand by tickets can be purchased for $48) may not even represent the best film of the whole festival. If you are considering taking the plunge, and you should, here are some hidden treasures from TIFF programmers who are considered among the world’s best film programmers:


Everyone seems to be talking about a film called , ‘Killing Jesus’, pronounced ‘Hay-Soose’, a Colombian film about a woman’s quest to avenge her father’s murder.


If you have never seen a film by Alanis Obomsawin, 84 year old, indigenous woman director, you should definitely attend, ‘Our People Will Be Healed’. this one is highly recommended by Jesse Wente. It will have you running to the NFB to find all of her other work.


‘Angels Wear White’ is an Asian modern day film noir by director Vivian Qu. The programmer tells us it includes some ‘Really tricky material tackled with great sensitivity.’


If you have a surly youth that you are trying to turn into a cinephile, I’ve had an emphatic recommendation to get them to ‘The Breadwinner’. While animated, it is best advised for kids ages ten and older.


Last but not least, everyone is talking about ‘High Fantasy’ directed by Jenna Bass in South Africa. It has been described by the programmer as ‘Tangerine meets Blair Witch’. The entire film is shot on iPhones to look like found footage but performances of all the young leads are genius.

Speaking of twitter, next week I’ll be staying home to have a quick break before a very busy all gets underway. While I am relaxing, I will be tweeting out some TIFF 2017 notes for those interested in venturing into the box office on September 4th. It will make a change from tweeting about The Donald!