Hailing from Toronto's own Cabbagetown neighbourhood, I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Canadian film and television legend Ted Kotcheff. In these days of instant celebrity gained by many who have done absolutely nothing worth celebrating, it is wonderfully refreshing and gratifying to sit down with someone who not only had to fight his way up through the ranks but who actually blazed a number of original trails along the way.
Often my discoveries of cool new hotels come as a part of a larger or much different purpose for my actually being there. Sometimes a cool interview with an actor or director brings me to their favourite hotels which then gives me the opportunity to explore and develop an appreciation for that hotel independently and sometimes it is a special occasion that is either specific to the hotel or specifically related to the hotel.
Between the two Toronto International Film Festival press conferences each year, announcing all the excitement and the celebrities and the hoopla that comes with the action packed ten September days of the fest--this year from the 8th through the 18th--I always find the press conference devoted exclusively to the Canadian films and documentaries to be the most vibrant. That's because a number of the filmmakers and actors and writers and producers are right there mingling with the crowd of press and publicists in the ballroom at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
There are times when I am convinced that some of these tech companies give me their newest products to test out specifically because of my general lack of tech savvy--meaning their stated intention is, "if this idiot can figure these devices out and make the most of them, then just about any member of the general public can!"
For Canadian actor, writer, director, and producer Paul Gross, the term "daunting task" doesn't seem to exist anywhere in his common lexicon. Previous to this hugely-scaled film on the Canadian campaign in the Afghanistan war, Hyena Road, he tackled Canada's role in The Great War in Passchendaele, so when the opportunity presented itself to hang out with Paul Gross for a morning's worth of Hyena Road conversation, I had to find out what his definition of a daunting task meant.
Throughout the forty years of the Toronto International Film Festival, the developing and fostering and incubating of Canadian films and Canadian cinematic talent has always been an important priority, and because of that this year's terrific line-up of Canadian films can be seen as a direct pay off of all those past efforts and the need to keep TIFF a Canadian film festival--one that celebrates international films and film culture probably better than just about any other festival in the world, while remaining still a Canadian film festival.
I went in to Terminator Genisys very interested to see where they were taking this thirty-year-old franchise, especially since I knew Paramount had already gave the green light to two sequels before this film was even close to being finished (partly due to the fact that all rights to this franchise revert back to James Cameron in 2019). And the start of the film--the first half hour--was very interesting indeed, but then it just seemed to turn in to a Roadrunnner cartoon.
As someone who has lived in hotels, sometimes for years at a time, and has written innumerable articles on hotels of all varieties, many for The GATE, be they old and historic, small boutique hotels or brand new hotels--but one kind of temporary visitors residence I have never had the occasion to visit was an athletes' village like those constructed for Olympic Games or Pan Am Games--until now.
Full disclosure--I am a huge fan of the disaster epic genre and always have been, so when I saw early trailer footage for San Andreas I was a bit excited but it looked like the real deal. And it is.
Often when I am interviewing a filmmaker who made a film or films that I greatly admired but wasn't necessarily there to interview them about, I would wait until the formal interview was nearly over and then I would launch into a barrage of enthusiastically posed questions about the films I admired. Such was true of times spent with Francis Coppola, with Arthur Penn, Warren Beatty, and George Miller.