In less than 11 days 300 films were screened, red carpets were trodden, 300,000 tickets were sold and 2000 generous volunteers directed visitors. I’ve just returned from the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
What a whirlwind! I was able to get in to see some fabulous films, among my favourites, Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech” starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. The film details the relationship between King George VI and his speech therapist, Australian, Lionel Logue and the unconventional methods he employs to help the King overcome his stammer. What makes festival screenings so fun, is that at the end of the film, Hooper, Firth and Rush spoke to the audience and answered questions. I was even more pleased to see the announcement yesterday in Screen Daily, that this particular film had won the Cadillac People’s Choice Award. Looks like the Weinstein’s have an Oscar contender with this one.
I was also interested in Emilio Estevez’s “The Way” starring his father, Martin Sheen. My interest stems from the fact that the movie was filmed not far from Andorra on the Camino de Santiago or the Way of Saint James – stretching from France into Spain across the Pyrenees mountains. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago. Driven by his profound sadness and desire to understand his son better, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage leaving his California life behind.
Its unknown whether the movie will ever make it into the North American cinemas. The last I heard, it still has not been picked up for distribution (although it did receive a rare standing ovation in Toronto). I hope that Spain and potentially Andorran screen the movie, because the film does two things that Andorra should take note of. First, it shows that a film based locally can be fabulous if it tells a good story. Secondly, after seeing the film, I expect the visitors to the Camino de Santiago to increase – as the film does an excellent job of promoting Spain and it’s historical pilgrimage.
Andorra has a rich history and lots of stories to tell. Perhaps there is a screenwriter among us that will find inspiration in Andorra as writer and director Emilio Estevez found in Spain.