Production Diary: May 28th, 2014 (Toronto’s InsideOut Festival)

Tribeca Blog Post

Been in Toronto for six hours. Arriving in a town for a screening like this always feels like a cross between a great luxury and a sales trip a la Willy Loman. I still feel a small sense of accomplishment that I didn’t pay for the airfare or the hotel room — and that I made a film I’m happy to report people are lining up to see — but at the reception pre-screening my feet hurt and I have no idea who to talk to, so find myself hanging out in the alleyway outside checking out my Instagram feed and trying to Skype with my kids.

But I like this festival, Toronto’s InsideOut LGBT Film Festival, particularly, and am impressed by how vibrant and lively it is, particularly in comparison to New York’s NewFest, which was just barely raised from the dead with a buyout by LA’s Outfest.  What can’t be denied, and I think this is a positive thing, is that every city is still different, even in the age of globalism,  and the place a sub cultural, community festival like this takes is very different given the culture of the city.

But really why I think I come back when asked to this festival is I have strong, grateful memories of being here in 1994 with a short film LADY, and being put up in the guest bedroom of filmmaker Jeremy Podeswa, still my friend now 20 years later.  Tonight, looking up InsideOut LGBT Film Festival on Wikipedia, I see it was only founded in 1991, so I came in it’s 3rd year. Institutions it turns out have histories, they have beginnings. I can easily imagine the small group of ragtag queer folk, reeling from AIDS, who decided to start this festival.  Now it’s housed in the impressive anonymity of the Bell LightBox, but still, it’s part of a cultural continuum, and one I like that I’m somehow a part of.

Now I’m on a flight home to New York, after a radio interview this morning with the very charming Jian Ghomeshi for CBC radio. “A quick business trip,” you could call it , but as the plane glides the hour ride home, I think of the medley of people I met, including the film’s publicist, Bonne, who has been in the business for years. In between chatting about friends in common — Jeremy among them, her first film was his also — Bonne tells me of her recent around the world trip that she took, “with business class points,” and a good friend. Or Lou, from Australia, the guest coordinator, who I was surprised to learn after weeks of emails was a very attractive young Australian woman, who ended up in Toronto after over-staying her US tourist Visa by two days, so made flight to Canada, where in short time she had a job, and a girlfriend, to keep her there.  Or the two young actors I met as I was leaving my screening, who were at the Festival with their first film, a short, that would be playing the next night for the first time.  The festival clearly was an arrival for them just as it had been for me 20 years ago. And in many ways, as it still is.