Monday, September 10, 2007
Toronto Diary: Farewell Plans
While the Toronto Film Festival is only about half over, for me it has come and gone, and by this time tomorrow I will be back in Los Angeles, attention turned to the Emmys. While television's golden night is fun to cover, not much compares to my time in Canada. It's hard to say goodbye.

Luckily, though, I will soon be reminded of my adventures in the north as I begin to turn the interviews I've conducted into what I hope are compelling news stories for CNN.

In particular, I plan to begin work on a piece centered around the surge of new films coming out about the war in Iraq. Today I interviewed legendary director Brian De Palma for his new movie, "Redacted," talk-show-host-turned-filmmaker Phil Donahue about his documentary "Body of War," and Nick Broomfield for the feature "Battle For Haditha." I have to say, it is impressive to see how these artists are reacting to the times and hear what their hopes are for the work they've done.

While my time in Toronto may have been short, my list of highlights runs long. Jonathan Demme's documentary "Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains" is exceptional. The Q&A I attended with the former president and his wife was truly memorable.

Chatting with Maria Bello and Amy Brenneman about their new film "The Jane Austen Book Club" was downright fun. (Maria, in case you're seeing this, good luck with cold turkey!) My dear friend Robert, who owns a gallery in Berlin, will be thrilled that Alexandra Maria Lara from "Control" and her co-star/boyfriend, Sam Riley, are excited to check out his hot German art spot.

Introducing two great artists for the first time, De Palma and Laura Linney, in our shooting suite (their scheduled interviews overlapped) was a terrific moment to witness. Can you imagine Brian De Palma giddy? I can.

And finally, getting the opportunity to talk about "Across the Universe" -- a wonderful film -- with its director, Julie Taymor, and star Evan Rachel Wood added an unexpected delight to my experience this year.

All in all, I have been inspired and encouraged by this year's festival and look forward to the upcoming film season.
OK JD, now you are just teasing us and of course we have to watch your segments on the web to get the full details! I'd like to know what was so memorable about the Jimmy Carter Q&A....can you expand on that please?

Sounds like you had a hectic but productive day.
Thanks! Steve
hey there JD!
i'm glad you had fun here in my hometown. i hate that word, 'hometown'. we're not in the counstryside or the burbs. anyhoo, from what i'm told the war themed films of this years festival were great. 'in the valley of Elah', "rendition' and so forth. "rendition is supposedly based on the Maher Arar case that involved a canadian falsely sent to Seria or Saudi Arabia where he was brutally tortured. I don't now how effective the film was really but it's been popular, i suppose. The big question here has been has TIFF become too mainstream anf 'Hollywood'. I think it has, but that's partially because the Holylwood actors/film makers are less and less satisfied with the mainstream films that they are offered and look to festivals for fresh meat-- i mean material, lol. anyhow, i hape you got to check out a couple restaurants here and have had a generally good experience.
ciao.
SarahD, Toronto, ON, Canada
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