TIFF laments Drake’s ab­sence

Calgary Herald - - YOU - VIC­TO­RIA AHEARN

TORONTO Drake’s scrubbed ap­pear­ance at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val may have left some fans up­set, but the two could still col­lab­o­rate in the fu­ture, sug­gests the artis­tic di­rec­tor of TIFF.

The Toronto rap­per can­celled his highly an­tic­i­pated ap­pear­ance at a screen­ing of Mon­sters and Men, with only a few hours’ no­tice on Sept. 6, the first day of the fes­ti­val, say­ing he couldn’t make it be­cause of his tour.

Some fans com­plained that they’d shelled out good money for a ticket to the event, which also in­cluded ac­cess to the fes­ti­val’s exclusive open­ing-night party.

TIFF artis­tic di­rec­tor and fu­ture co-head Cameron Bai­ley says the fes­ti­val was “dis­ap­pointed” but adds he un­der­stands “things can change.”

“We’re hop­ing that since Drake is so com­mit­ted to this city and so com­mit­ted in a new way to film and to vis­ual me­dia, that there will be other op­por­tu­ni­ties for us to work to­gether,” Bai­ley said in an in­ter­view.

“He’s pro­duc­ing now, he’s adapt­ing the Top Boy TV se­ries from the U.K. for North Amer­ica, he’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer on Mon­sters and Men. There are a lot of things he’s get­ting into now, and he’s work­ing with young di­rec­tors like Karena Evans.

“So I think there’s prob­a­bly some­thing in our fu­ture.”

De­spite the open­ing-night hic­cup, this year’s in­stal­ment that wraps with an awards cer­e­mony on Sun­day has been “a big suc­cess,” said Bai­ley.

He noted they’ve had “great au­di­ences” and “a lot of real dis­cov­er­ies” of crit­i­cally ac­claimed films that made their world pre­mière at the fes­ti­val, in­clud­ing Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk and Wid­ows.

Ques­tions about fes­ti­val at­ten­dance arose af­ter some posts on Twit­ter showed empty seats dur­ing open­ing-night screen­ings of Mon­sters and Men and Out­law King. Bai­ley said while they won’t know to­tal at­ten­dance fig­ures un­til af­ter Sun­day, “the houses have been, for the most part, quite full.”

“I think what some­times hap­pens is, we made a big ef­fort this year to start screen­ings on time, as close to the sched­uled start time as pos­si­ble,” he said.

Some fes­ti­val-go­ers and watch­ers have also com­plained about the cost of a TIFF ticket.

Bai­ley noted they have $10 tick­ets avail­able to those aged 25 and un­der for week­day, day­time screen­ings.

For those over 25, tick­ets to reg­u­lar screen­ings are $18, “which I think is still quite rea­son­able for a fes­ti­val ticket,” Bai­ley said.

Cameron Bai­ley


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