Toronto International Film Festival
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How film festivals help you make (and keep) real friends

by Fern White

I attended my first Toronto Film Festival ten years ago. And like a college freshman figuring out how to sign up for classes, I had to learn the rules of badges and tickets and how to get into those oh-so-seemingly-glam parties where one departed with a worthwhile gift bag.

What I’m realizing this year, however, is that aside from the privilege of having accumulating a mental library of inventive, challenging, sometimes outrageously bad films from around the world, the festival has also been a way for me to keep in touch with some of my closest friends in the business.

While our lives in L.A. are busy, it still seems a little ridiculous that we should have more meaningful interactions here, but I think it has less to do with geography and more to do with the atmosphere of a festival, particular one as wonderful as Toronto.

In the competitive, insecurity-ridden petri dish that is our business, most people tend to be cagey and perhaps not necessarily that forthright. At Toronto, we’re eager to share our secret gem, our new discovery – whether it’s a Chilean first-time filmmaker or a new film from an old master. I feel like we are in a better place to hear each other when we’re talking about what we love.

It’s about the connection that is created between the filmmaker and the audience when we feel the weight of truth that is contained in a well-written joke or a perfectly acted nervous breakdown, and about sharing that connection with each other. The conversations around festival films give me insight into my friends and remind me why our friendships endure. It’s a job perk that becomes more valuable with every passing year.

Fern White

About Fern White

Fern White loves film, music, and art because they allow us to experience other people's dreams.

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