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The Buzz
The scene
Given the timing, festival folk simply aren't in the mood to party

The Globe and Mail
September 11, 2002

The Alliance Atlantis wing-ding, held each year at the Royal Ontario Museum, is usually the most talked-about party of the film festival.

But in keeping with the overall tone emerging from the festival, Monday night's party was somewhat subdued, according to numerous partygoers, who report that the night simply lacked sparkle and buzz. Most attribute the toned-down air to this year's festival to the tragic event that interrupted last year's event.

"Even the publicists are behaving themselves. It's sick," griped one seasoned TIFFer.

Um, I'm sorry, baby
Jake Gyllenhaal may be the It boy as of late, but the dialogue in his starring role in Moonlight Mile,directed by Brad Silberling, is so sparse, co-star Susan Sarandon had all his lines inscribed on a coffee mug as a present for the budding star. It reads: "Um," "Yes," "I didn't know," "I'm sorry," and "Baby."

I am the Prince!
The man formerly known as the man formerly known as Prince showed up at Kymani Marley's party Monday night at The Sequel in Yorkville. But after leaving early, reporters began asking Marley, one of the many sons and daughters of the late Bob Marley ("There are only 10 of us," he quipped) about the pop star.

Marley, fed up with the questions about Prince, declared: "I am the prince, because my father's a king."

Marley stars in Shottas, a gangsta flick set in Jamaica, along with dance hall star Spragga Nenz and musician Wyclef Jean in his acting debut.

Uncomfortable timing
It seems just about everyone involved with the controversial collection of short films 11'09"11 agree Sept. 11 is the wrong day to be showing the film. "It's too close to home," said Alian Brigand, the artistic director who came up with the idea of inviting 11 directors to submit a short based on the terrorist attack. "This is the kind of film that needs a bit of space from the event."

Ken Loach, one of the directors included in the collection has stated that he does not want the film to open on Sept. 11.

And Vincent Maravel from Wild Bunch, the French company distributing for the film, even asked TIFF to reconsider screening the film on another day: "We told them that we wanted another date, but when you're invited to eat somewhere you don't get to choose where you sit," Maravel said.

Deneuve en français
When Radio-Canada asked Catherine Deneuve, star of the French film 8 Femmes,to respond to a question in French for her listeners in Quebec, the press conference moderator stepped in and insisted on English only.

"But this a bilingual country," the reporter pleaded. "And Radio-Canada is a French network." To which the moderator replied: "Tough." Fortunately for the reporter, Deneuve had the class to answer the question anyway.

Hung up on cigarettes
If you detect a slight wheeze in Colin Farrell's voice as you watch Phone Booth,know that it is not simply a character affectation. Farrell, who plays a publicist in the film, admitted to reporters yesterday that while filming he choked back an astounding six packs of cigarettes a day.

Although at the moment publicists outnumber Toronto residents by about two to one, Farrell had no problems making his thoughts known on the profession.

"The publicist thing was perfect backdrop because any darkness or weakness that Stu [his character] had inside him was given the opportunity to manifest itself completely by his clothes, his clients, by the life he thought he was living.

"Everyone knows publicists can't take a joke about themselves," added director Joel Schumacher.

The film also stars Keifer Sutherland as a sniper gunning for Stu.

"So many people in our society are held accountable for the way they live their lives and I think a very few people seemingly are not," he said. "My character is someone who's just fed up with it."

Cronenberg's web
Known for his sometimes moody, sometimes downright bizarre filmmaking, David Cronenberg, director of Spider,which features a schizophrenic character, played by Ralph Fiennes, admits he can easily identify with the lead role. "Spider, c'est Moi. I think I'm just that far way from becoming Spider."

Cronenberg has cemented his postion in Hollywood as an actor's director as the assembled cast at the press conference yesterday showered the Canadian with praise.

"Cronenberg's film are provocative. People have varying reactions to them but you always leave the theatre thinking," said co-star Gabriel Byrne. ". . . I think he has a future."

Up against the wall . . .
TIFF is about stars and publicists and agents, of course, but it's also about guys like first-time filmmaker David C. Thomas, a 46-year-old Chicagoan whose day job is "humping papers for a Chicago entertainment weekly."

For the past seven years, though, he and his wife/producer Laurel Legler have been swinging from paycheque to paycheque, working in what he calls "the classic, indie, guerrilla filmmaking style" to assemble "the last great untold story of the sixties," namely that of Detroit's notorious, profoundly influential proto-punk band, MC5.

Thomas and some friends have brought the documentary, now called MC5: A True Testimonial, to Toronto as part of the fest's Midnight Madness program to try to rustle up some distribution. Everyone who's seen it has been blown away by the power of the music and the pathos of the stories.

It's also funny: Thomas managed to excavate footage of an instalment of The Lively Spot, a Windsor, Ont., TV music show that MC5 played in 1970. As the group -- all hair and guitars and noise and high energy -- wraps up a typically blistering set, the neatly attired MC steps forward to announce they're about to be followed by a new, young Canadian singer . . . Anne Murray! There's norecord of Anne and the Motown maniacs getting together later to duet on Snowbird or the Five's signature song, Kick Out the Jams Mother[. . .].

No rhinestone cowboy
For the serious B-movie fans, the highlight of this year's festival had to be the Midnight Madness screening of Bubba Ho-tep and the presence of cult star Bruce Campbell for postflick questions and answers. According to Midnight Madness programmerColin Geddes, most of the fans stood the entire time.

In the movie, Campbell plays an aging Elvis Presley in an East Texas nursing home, who combines forces with Ozzie Davis as the late Jack Kennedy (his skin had been dyed dark), as they battle an evil Egyptian mummy in cowboy gear that is devouring the souls of the residents. Got all that?

For Campbell, author of the recent book, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor,the audiences and fans are really what its all about -- the tattoo freaks, the guy with the steel bar in his arm who wanted Campbell's signature between the bolts or the amputee who took off his prosthetic leg for a signature.

"I don't have a problem with stalkers," Campbell says, "because I'm completely available."


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