Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TIFF volunteering-an attractive option for moviegoers!

This post is the continuation of the previous one.

So, like I said the whole TIFF was a wonderful experience for me. I enjoyed watching the movies while volunteering and afterwards. I also met interesting volunteers. And, of course the celebrities. After getting to see them so closely, I realized one thing. It is a very difficult life for them. They are constantly on the receiving end of the media glare. They have to look good on the red carpet, dress well and even abide to the fans; sign autographs, watch the movie with the audience and finally answer questions.
However, most of them seem to enjoy it. They stay on the red carpet for a while trying to be friendly, enjoying with the usual massive crowd that gather hours before they actually arrive. Like one great example is George Clooney or even Rani Mukherji. As a volunteer, when I was assigned to the red carpet, I could feel the stares from the crowd. It is like I had won a lottery. :)

On my first night of volunteering, it was cold to be outside and I was tired since I went straight from work. I had no jacket and was shivering due to strong winds. I was almost beginning to regret being near the red carpet, when David Miller stopped by. He waved to us and had a quick chat too, after which he offered us chocolates. Well, I am not a big fan of the Mayor but when he stops by, thanks us for our volunteering services to the city of Toronto and offers chocolates, I think he has an admirer in me. :) I was given an opportunity to watch the movie since the work gets done before the movie begins. I opted out and went home instead happily clutching my first volunteer voucher.

All I had to do was four shifts. I am not sure what it was that made me sign for eight instead. Four shifts were mandatory to get admission to the volunteer party after the festival ends, which was rumored to be great. Anyways, on the days that I worked, I tried to do different jobs each day. Red carpet, anti piracy, balcony, mezzanine, ballots, rush line, reserved seating adds up to all the duties I performed. I ended up watching most of the movies while on duty except for few which were sold out. There was an odd policy at Roy Thomson Hall. The representative would not allow the volunteers to watch the first movie if the shift covered two movies so I missed out on some of the ones I was looking forward to. ‘The Invention of Lying’, ‘Love and its Impossible Pursuits’, ‘Cooking with Stella’ got great reviews but I missed out.

In terms of venue, the Elgin theatre was the best. I loved the volunteering experience there. The theaters, Elgin and Winter Garden are more than 100 years old. Both are beautiful in terms of grandeur and heritage. The Winter garden looks better as it really had a garden look inside with real trees. Last year ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was screened in the Winter Garden Theatre and that’s when the movie received its first positive review and went on to later win the TIFF People’s Choice Award.

I almost forgot to mention this. I stood right next to Rani Mukherji when she came to the Mezzanine C2 pod to watch her movie in Roy Thomson Hall. She looked great but kind of shorter and thinner than how she is in the movies. I was working in Mezzanine that day and was happy to see her. In the whole 15 minutes I was there with her, I wanted to talk to her but did not want to look unprofessional since I was working.

The extra shifts left me with one voucher that I could not use before the festival ended. I missed the volunteer party because I could not collect the party ticket due to excessive shifts and also I totally forgot. :) So, next time I have got to make sure that I work only maximum 6 shifts and I attend the volunteer party too. I am glad that I volunteered for TIFF as it really was fun and enjoyable. All in all an amazing experience and I hope to definitely do it again. :)

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