Sunday, 17 September 2017

'A Tree in Water: My Journey From Aotearoa to The Great White North' Chapter 20.

Victory! I got them at last! I got tickets to TIFF at last! The tickets themselves were not easy to obtain. Even worse, I wasn’t able to get all the tickets I had wanted nor on the dates I had hoped. All things I had to find out the hard way about TIFF when it came to the early morning of Monday 4th November. And boy it was as though I was kicked in the nuts! I was definitely dumbfounded, yet excited; by the time I had gained my hands on the tickets. The Toronto International Film Festival’s process of tickets sales is rather an interesting one, interesting as in it’s very different to the ticket sales process of the New Zealand International Film Festival. Once I saw the process itself with my own eyes, the differences were more than apparent. It was basically day and night. The process itself was actually two separate components. The first is online where TIFF members can be able to purchase the tickets, and any other special deals, before the public on the day before. I should have become a member. That’s the part that pissed me off the most. Especially when I wasn’t able to get my hands on the tickets of a 70mm IMAX screening of Dunkirk with a Q&A with Christopher Nolan. I can’t explain, and stress enough, how upset and how pissed I was when I found out when those tickets were sold out and how TIFF lied about the tickets being available to the public. The second was obviously for the public to purchase tickets at the TIFF Box Office, which was held across the street from Lightbox. I quickly realized when I got there at 7am in the morning that it wasn’t going to be easy. But I had no idea that it was going to be as difficult as it was. The line itself was not long at first, but it grew and grew extraordinarily as time progressed. The line itself became a giant serpent full of anxious moviegoers waiting to get their hands on a ticket. I had no real hope of getting all the tickets I had wanted. It was just going to be almost an impossibility, but it didn’t hurt to hope for the best. It was time for me to get in line and play the waiting game. 

The amount of time waiting felt as though it was an eternity. With nothing happening even though the clock was ticking closer. I honestly did not expect for it to have taken as long as it did. After waiting about three, the line finally started to move towards the building and inside. I quickly lined up in the queue so that I can get my tickets as fast as possible. At this time, I had no expectations whatsoever that I would get the tickets I was after. As it was only a matter of time, while I was waiting, that someone would get them before I could. But this was my only chance to go to TIFF. It was time to accept whatever I could get. The queue was moving faster that I had expected. The rest of the line from the main entrance and outside was long and slow. As I had heard from a few people in front, this was typical in the life of the members of the public who are not TIFF members. When my time finally came, I pretty much hoped and kept my fingers crossed that I would get the tickets I sought after. Then things looked a little optimistic despite some bad news. Just as I had suspected, I was only able to get three out of the five tickets I had wanted, and none of them were on opening days and nights. During the time I was in the queue, the idea and prospect of getting the exact tickets were pretty slim. I grew more saddened and pissed. It was hard to think about that. But it was reality. Then by the time I got my hands on the tickets, I forgot about being saddened and pissed. In the end, at least I had the opportunity to go and the tickets to three of the movies I wanted to see. 

Oh God, I did it. I’ve finally gone to TIFF. I never could have imagined any of it. But it happened. I’ve finally got to go to one of the major film festivals in the world. And TIFF was one of the major film festivals that was high on my list. First, I went to see Hong Sang Soo’s The Day After (그 후) at Scotiabank Cinema. I went to see it, as I was curious to see a Hong Sang Soo film as I had never seen a single one of his films. The last of the many reasons why I went to see it was simply because it was a Korean film and I am myself Korean. The next film was Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin at Ryerson University Theatre. This was a film that came as a recommendation from my brother. So based on his recommendation, I went to see it. After the two films, I finally got to see the one film I wanted to see most of all – Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. Del Toro is one of the favourite filmmakers of all time. So when I heard his next film would be shown at TIFF, I immediately, within a heart beat, jumped at the chance to get my hands on a ticket. I waited in line for hours when I got to the Elgin Theatre, to make sure I could get the best seat possible. It was a nightmare waiting in line. But I was all smiles by the time I got into the theatre. I guess it’s true, “all good things come to those who wait.” By the time the lights had come up when the film ended, I was cloud nine. Smiling as I exited the theatre. I couldn’t never imagine myself not going to TIFF ever again. I just had to be a part of it for as long as I was going to live in Toronto. I’d started to forget about NZIFF and started to think about future TIFF events to come as I started to head on back to my apartment.

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