Sunday, April 29, 2007

HotDocs #10: That's a Wrap!

I’m afraid that my final day at HotDocs had me seeing only one film. Life got in the way a bit today, so it’s all I had time for. Thankfully, I ended the fest with a good film and not a stinker.

Unspeakable (6/8) is all about stuttering – what it means to be a stutterer, what causes the disorder and what sort of treatments and therapies are available for individuals hoping to speak with more fluency. Its director, John Paskievich, is a stutterer himself...as is fest programmer, Andrew McIntosh, who introduced the film and moderated the post-film Q&A. It was an informative screening for those of us with limited knowledge of the condition...except for the clueless woman at the rear of the theater, who – as a stutterer in the audience stood up and began (with some difficulty) to ask his question – SHOUTED out rudely, “CAN’T HEAR THE QUESTION!” Dear madam, did you not just watch the movie, wherein it’s mentioned that public speaking is often extremely difficult for people with a stutter? Did you think that it would help this gentleman if you screamed out while he was attempting to make his point? Geez.

With that, HotDocs 2007 drew to a close for me. I have to say that, exhaustion aside, I loved it. It was my first time attending as a semi-hardcore audience member instead of a casual attendee, and I found it to be a wonderfully well-run, well-organized and relaxed fest. I can’t stress enough how great it is that they offer free daytime screenings for seniors and students, and I think that contributes a lot to the overall sense of goodwill that permeated the past 10 days.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to officially found the Myrocia Watamaniuk Appreciation Socity (MWAS). A programmer at HotDocs and the Worldwide Short Film Fest, she RAWKS. She is easily the best moderator the fest has going – her introductions are always flawless, breezy and informative without sounding sycophantic or rehearsed, and her Q&A sessions are always spirited, well-run and entertaining. When she says she loved a movie, I believe her and, as with TIFF’s Michelle Maheux, I’m starting to think she and I have the same taste in films. I wish she’d work TIFF, because I’d rather hear her stand onstage and recite the official fest rule book for three hours than listen to one second of Noah Cowan try to sound spontaneous as he rattles off 50-dollar words or, worse, witness some anonymous TIFF lackey shoved onstage to awkwardly intro a film. My hat is off to Myrocia – see you at the WWSFF in June!

And to HotDocs, thanks for a kick-ass 10 days! See you in 2008!

4 comments:

Lou said...

I think this may be my favorite film of all that you saw--and not just because of the rude woman.

vickie said...

Really? Why?

And I keep waiting for the other folks I know who attended HotDocs (and you know who you are!) to chime in with their thoughts.

*cough*

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

It's my favorite film that you saw, too. I kind of have a thing for stutterers, or as the British say, stammerers. There's something so endearing about their earnest effort to get out what they've got to say. In fact, Paul Giamatti's stutter singlehandedly sold me on Lady In The Water, and I was horrified by my sudden, overwhelming urge to marry him.

Sick, I know.