TIFF '13: Day 1- Nude Beaches, Fucked Up Art and the Beginning of Midnight Madness

A column article, Shot For Shot by: Nate Abernethy


Toronto International Film Festival 2013 officially kicked off on Thursday. After a week of killing time at improv shows, schmoozing with fellow journalists, and binge drinking, the films finally arrived. I chose not to battle out the crowds for the premiere of The Fifth Estate, and instead saved my energy for the first installment of midnight madness with All Cheerleaders Die. With my first film of the day not being until the dawn of the next, I went to soak up some rays at Toronto’s Hanlan’s Point, the clothing optional beach. Dongs and surf abounded as I enjoyed the pristine beaches of Lake Ontario despite its unfair reputation for a surplus of dead bodies and trash ooze.

After the gayest game of volleyball since Top Gun, I headed back into the city to check out Ai Weiwei’s art exhibit at Art Gallery of Ontario complete with a performance by hometown legend Fucked Up.

Val Kilmer Top Gun

Like this but nuder

Ai Weiwei first caught my eye after viewing the 2012 documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (currently streaming on Netflix); the film chronicles in particular his rise to prominence and notoriety after compiling a list of casualties from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake following the Chinese government’s refusal to release the number of victims. Local officials had cut costs by creating poorly constructed school buildings that ultimately resulted in thousands of children’s deaths. Weiwei’s current exhibition has several pieces centered around this: a serpent-like structure constructed from children’s backpacks, a piece titled “Straight” using the mangled rebar from the school collapses and straightening each piece to near perfection, and perhaps most moving a simple list of victim names taking up an entire expanse of a wall. The art exhibition will remain in Toronto through October 27th before continuing its North American tour to Miami from December 4th to March 16th and to Brooklyn April 18th through August 10th.

Ai Weiwei

After browsing the exhibit for what felt like the necessary amount of time to be considered cultured and appropriately pretentious I made my way back to the atrium to watch Fucked Up rock the fuck out. I danced and screamed with the best of them, and while perhaps it was a mistake to lose both my hearing and voice day one? It was completely unreal watching a swanky art museum be turned into a mosh pit. I half expected the fans to tear through the galleries smashing model ships and ripping Rembrandt off the walls.

Fucked Up

Photo by Nick Hanover

After the show I sprinted a few blocks away to get in line for the first of the Midnight Madness, Lucky McKee and Chris Siverston’s remake of their own film All Cheerleaders Die. I was a huge fan of McKee’s 2011 horror flick The Woman and well… as far as Siverston’s Lindsey Lohan vehicle I Know Who Killed Me? It does make for a great drinking game! So in which category does their re-collaboration lie? All Cheerleaders Die shows flashes of campy fun with an absolutely amazing cast (seriously keep an eye out for these girls), but ultimately is little more than two horror geeks' lesbian fantasies.

All Cheerleaders Die

TIFF may have gotten off to a slow start but tomorrow I dive head first into the British drama series Southcliffe and close out the night with my most personally anticipated event of the fest, Jason Reitman’s live read of Boogie Nights. “Feel, feel, feel, feel. Feel my heat.”

Nate Abernethy is a magical sprite we captured and forced to do film reviews. He somehow also wound up with a twitter account @NateAbernethy

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