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The Review/ Short Read/

TIFF’s Year in Quotes: 2017

Tracking the most inspirational, hilarious, and surprising things filmmakers and artists said this year

by Staff
Dec 21, 2017

Three hundred sixty-five days a year, TIFF plays host to a cornucopia of cinema lovers, filmmakers, artists, scholars, and critics who care deeply about the moving image. And the past 365 days gave them plenty to talk about. Click the links below to find the origin of these soundbites we gathered in 2017, and stay tuned for more quotables on The Review in 2018.

“Every morning we wake up, we can choose between fear and love. Love is the answer.” — [Guillermo del Toro discussing The Shape of Water, on stage at TIFF ’17]((

“Talking about diversity is not a courageous thing.” — Jessica Chastain emphasizes the importance of truthful storytelling

“I feel like I was shielded from the gender bias in the film world until I became a commercial director for hire. While working on music videos and documentaries, I felt free to realize my vision with respectful and supportive collaborators. As soon as I began pitching on commercials or larger-budgeted content, I felt the winds change and suddenly was met with suspicion and ridicule. It became known to me during that time that I was no longer just a director, but a ‘woman director’….” — Filmmaker Emily Kai Bock, one of several women nominated at the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards, divulging advice in the Review newsletter “What Can Straight White Guys Do to Help Women in Film?”

“To hell with dreams: this is true!” — Barry Jenkins winning Best Picture for Moonlight

“Most filmmakers will tell you that if you write your own films, it’s the most expensive psychoanalysis you could get. It's costing a fortune, it's costing millions, just for me to go to an analyst, but it's wonderful because [then] you can go on living.” — Denys Arcand on the therapeutic properties of filmmaking

“Bill first drifted into my line of sight when he and his producing partner, Henk van der Kolk, founded the Festival of Festivals. I made the trek down from Ottawa for the first edition and gorged on German cinema of the time: Wenders, Fassbinder, Herzog. Little did I know how much the Festival would change my life.” — TIFF CEO Piers Handling remembers our late founder, Bill Marshall

“It is so important for the women starting out in their filmmaking careers not to cater to what they think the market wants. Make the films and tell the stories that move you — the stories you’re so desperate to tell that you will die if you don't.” — Deepa Mehta shares her journey in film (death threats included)

“Love has no name, no boundaries, no face, and no ethnicity. We need to keep reminding the world that our differences speak to each other, without saying anything about who we are.” — Montreal actor Pascale Drevillon on the making of the short film Pre-Drink (winner of the Canadian Short Film award at TIFF ’17)

“Film is the medium that established cinema. To let it go because there’s a cheaper option out there... it’s just not fair.” — The Florida Project’s Sean Baker on why he went from an iPhone 5 to a 35mm camera

“Why is Patty Jenkins labelled a ‘gamble’? I’m sure you can guess.” — TIFF’s Sasha James investigates the “Risky Business of Patty Jenkins”

“ I feel like our world is… in peril. It’s obvious to me why Wonder Woman is such a huge hit: she has a different message.” — Director Angela Robinson (Professor Marston & the Wonder Women) discusses the superheroine’s new relevance in 2017

“I hope that I never have to do this again.” — A tearful Jesse Wente, then–Director of TIFF Cinematheque, discusses the Appropriation Prize controversy on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning

“A lot of times, the pleasures of privilege are lost on the privileged.” — Screenwriter Mike White discusses his 2017 Salma Hayek vehicle Beatriz at Dinner

“Indigenous existence is resistance, and we have been fighting all this time, but all I could relate to in that moment was the fight.” — 2167 filmmaker and TIFF programmer Danis Goulet asks: what will change 150 years from now?

“It's hard to deny there's some upheaval going on. I was just sitting at home, drinking my coffee this morning, and I know that President Golden Showers is elected, but it's really starting to sink in that it's going to be for four years. That is fucking insane!” — Canadian writer/director Ben Petrie, one of seven shorts filmmakers discussing the “year of upheaval”

George Elliott Clarke: “What I imagine is that little boy sitting in that darkened cinema, looking at the silver-white screen. All those idealized white images were perhaps in the back of his mind, providing fire-and-brimstone critique.” Cameron Bailey: “It's how anyone marginalized has to watch movies. You watch it from a point of resistance.” — Poet laureate George Elliott Clarke and TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey discuss the legacy of writer James Baldwin

“Somebody much cleverer than me said that because cinema's depiction of hetrosexual love stories is now in a place where it's either a rom-com or a send-up, [audiences] are no longer getting to see those big, beautiful love stories. So people are going to queer cinema to see love stories, regardless of their own orientation, which I think is incredible.” — God’s Own Country writer/director Francis Lee on 2017 as a landmark year for queer cinema

“I just realized what TIFF stands for: Toronto Is Fucking Fantastic!” — Idris Alba, on stage at the Toronto International Film Festival’s world premiere of The Mountain Between Us

“Bearded ladies, post-apocalyptic wastelands, robot companions, vampire cars, and outbursts of random dancing await — join us, comrades!” — Writer Todd Brown offers “A Brief History of Soviet Sci-Fi Cinema”

“There needs to be a cinema of the first-person, a cinema that says I." — BPM’s Robin Campillo on the need for personal, not universal, storytelling

“The important thing is to try not to imitate the previous filmmakers and to try to find a new way to tell the stories of your country. I try, at the same time, to learn from Iranian films and then I try to forget them.” — Disappearance director Ali Asgari, one of three Iranian filmmakers profiled in “The Future of Iranian Cinema”

“If there’s anything Canadian filmmakers ‘owe,’ it’s to stop looking over our shoulder at what other people are doing.” — Writer-director (and TIFF Studio resident) Eisha Marjara weighs in on the challenges facing Canadian filmmakers

“That’s something that this movie picks up on so well: that moment when someone says something to you and you think, ‘should I talk to them about this, confront them?’ And then you say, no, and you internalize it. You become paralyzed — it’s like the movie, it’s the Sunken Place.” — Rollie Pemberton on Get Out’s gut-punching portrayal of racial politics during TIFF’s “Get Out Roundtable”

“Ultimately, as a woman in Canadian film, I am writing and producing out of necessity: I will create the roles I want until I see them everywhere.” — Producer and actor Sarah Kolasky on the making of her independent Canadian feature Great Great Great

“Life only gives you one take, but as a filmmaker, you get as many as you want — or as many as your schedule allows. In life, we have free will. In film, we have line producers, union restrictions, waning sunlight, tired actors, company moves. Filmmakers get the existential privilege denied to us everywhere else in life — to try again.” — Novelist and screenwriter Elan Mastai, on how movies are time machines