My 16-year old son Zach is a huge movie buff and an expert on box office analytics, as he seriously studies all aspects of a movie. He tells us that he finds this outlet to be a great stress reliever from the daily school grind! And so, when he suggested, nay begged my husband and me to let him take a week off school during TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and try and see at least 25 movies (he saw 21) we agreed; knowing full well that we’d need to accompany him. Once he secured the tickets and organized the schedule, we divided our role as accompanist between my husband, Zach’s older brother, Sasha and me. I do not have a long attention span when it comes to sitting still in one place or being part of a big crowd, so I dreaded this undertaking; but a deal is a deal!  Frankly my preference is to watch movies on my iPad, multi-task and make comments, all of which drives Zach insane when he is by my side as he is 100% focused on the screen action.  When Zach selected the movies that I would see with him, he assured me that I would ‘love’ them, well at least one  of them as I had ‘loved’ the writers’ previous works.!  I thought ‘love’ a bit of a strong word but kept an opened mind!

When my turn came, we headed into Toronto, waited in line in what seemed an eternity to see the much anticipated “Mother” movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. It was 3 hours long and although very well done, I did get somewhat antsy and restless during the film. As we chatted on our way out, Zach was shocked and disappointed that I had not readily made the connection between biblical stories and the movie’s context. With that aha moment, I must admit that I did appreciate the presentation a lot more!

The next movie we headed to was at the Scotia Bank Cineplex Theatre and it was packed and the line was extremely long. It was a hot Toronto day and the theatre lobby felt like a sauna and while I rarely drink alcohol, I needed to chill out, pay less attention to the crowd size and the long wait and so, I bought a beer to sip while in line. I snapped at Zach, “This better be worth it!”  He replied, “I think you will really like it as you loved Moonlight and you’re a fan of these guys’ other works.”

Finally, in we go and find our seats. Within 5 minutes I was totally immersed and completed focused on the film called ‘The Florida Project’. I was truly blown away by how well they captured the ‘reality and life’ for many people who are living below the poverty line and are just trying to survive. The characters were compelling, and the script was so good that it almost felt like there was no script whatsoever. Instead you had the sensation that you were observing a real- ‘reality experience’ not like the fake reality shows you see on TV. Here I was eerily invading other peoples’ privacy, peering into and listening to real peoples’ life struggles. The movie made me laugh, think, reflect and cry as the ending was so real and so emotional, as not every story has a happy ending. 

After the movie ended, I desperately wanted to meet the film creators, Chris Bergoch and Sean Baker to congratulate them but most importantly to understand their motivation and their psyche. Oops! Wow! As fate would have it, I recognized Chris as he left the theatre and headed to a next event. Being my typical less than self-assured but persistent stalker, I cornered him and asked from where he got his inspiration and of course to tell him what a huge fan of his work I was and oh yeah, could I interview him for my podcast? Fast forward 4 months and Chris agreed to be interviewed and so, here is the episode!

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