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Festival Diary

Globe and Mail Update

It is very difficult to explain how I feel right now. Perhaps there is just too much going on, but I am only human, and I can only take so much excitement and inspiration. I, the girl who claims to be disinterested in all things frivolous and mere “entertainment,” is ready to go to the most silly movie of the year ... just forget all of the weight that thought-provoking art and charity participation can bring on.

It all started when I attended my short film on Sunday. I was blown away by the entire event. Gathering family and friends in front of the Cumberland theatre, the excitement began to brew. People that inspired me to make the film were there, and it was very moving.

We got inside, and I was invited to stand up front with all of the filmmakers. Wow. What the heck was I doing standing up there? How did all of this happen? The tension was broken by charm and charisma and humour. The film was accidentally introduced as Pretty Woman instead of Pretty Broken. I had a lot of fun with that one.

The films were all so beautiful, so phenomenally and sensitively chosen, I must say. There was so much passion; clearly everyone took on subjects that they truly “knew.”

I was so honoured to be a part of this collage. One film had me crying within 15 seconds: The film opens with two elderly mates making love. It was exceptional. ( Les eaux mortes, by director Guy Édoin.) The stunning landscape and cinematography are etched in my mind forever.

There was also another poetic, sensitive narrative in Cloudbreaker, by Adam Garnet Jones. It was somewhat of a contemporary/aboriginal fable about love and faith, tradition and innocence. It was sweet, and in the same breath, dramatic.

My film began, and my heart was pounding. I was okay with my short film, which I had only ever seen before on a monitor in the editing suite or on my computer. It was now on the “big screen” in front of me.

My emotions calmed within a few minutes, and I felt all right with “me” being in the company I was in. It was gratifying, and a personal creative triumph that I never set out to achieve — a pleasant surprise.

People laughed. People sighed that sigh of “I know what she's talking about.” Then the film ended, and the audience clapped. I cried.

The credits rolled, I appeared for another closing moment, and the audience clapped again.

I didn't cry again.

During the question and answer period, people with mood disorders stood up and expressed how much it meant.

This is the ultimate reward because if feels like you are changing the world one person at a time.

This leads me to my participation at the One X One event, another pleasant triumph. At the beginning of the evening, Matt Damon was our host, Seamus O'Regan was our MC, and John Legend, Raine and myself were the lineup.

By the end of the night, Penelope Cruz, Wyclef Jean and Brad Pitt had joined in as well.

The African Children's choir was a new choir. By new, I mean, literally, a group that just started their run in the choir and so, they were literally babies. Harmonizing babies, all of whom had been orphaned by parents whose lives were taken by aids.

It is so hard to sing with them. I had a hard time opening my mouth without crying.

It was all so emotional. I had to turn on my emotional “autopilot” just to get through each song.

This evening was also a great success that I never dreamed possible.

There were so many people there that were interested in contributing their time and talent, and it didn't stop after the dinner. My husband and War Child Canada Co-founder Eric Hoskins then put together a concert afterward, where Paul Hyde and Bob Rock, Gord Downie, Sarah Harmer, Sam Robert and K'naan performed. There was so much talent and goodness in the room.

I thought, I am so proud to be here on so many levels.

Then came Monday, and finally there was time to sleep in — thankfully my kids stayed in bed all morning.

We had a lazy day, went to the zoo and saw giraffe babies, warthog babies, orangutan babies. My gosh that is a high functioning zoo — how inspired I was once again.

After a little press in the evening to promote my film, I ate, and tried my best to get to bed early.

I did an early morning press call, and then went over to the Sick Kids Hospital to help launch the project to build a movie theatre for the kids. My friend Barry Avrich called me and asked if would I do this several weeks ago.

Of course, it was a very easy yes.

I was not prepared for the amount of emotions in that room either. I met one family, who were finally resting after their daughter's battle with leukemia — she was in remission at the age of 6 — they went ahead and had another baby. Now, Chloe was on the waiting list for a liver transplant.

I don't think she was 11 months. I held her in my arms, and I never wanted to let go.

It has been a highly emotional week, as rewarding and demanding as it has been compact, and it's back to the cinema tonight to see the short cuts program again.

I am excited to see all seven films, including my own on the big screen, bare witness to the moving tapestry in this grouping of films.

But I won't deny that I am almost ready for an evening at home with big buttery bowl of popcorn, a cold beer and The Big Lebowski.

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