Why the Toronto International Film Festival?

Regardless of the film or the response to the film you’re in, there will always be a love for the fact that you did something creative and that everybody is excited about it. I think that’s the spirit here.
Jake Gyllenhaal

Not only is it the place, but it is also the time. I think it is the beginning of so many wonderful movies coming out. It’s a real stepping point for film makers of all different kinds and all different types of minds to come, and I think Toronto embraces that and loves that. The enthusiasm – particularly the Canadian enthusiasm – is a very particular type of enthusiasm that I think is wonderful for people who put themselves out and make themselves vulnerable in whatever they do, to know that no matter what happens, they’re going to be supported. Every single premiere I’ve been to here is always full of this wonderful positivity, and I love coming back because I know regardless of the film or the response to the film you’re in, there will always be a love for the fact that you did something creative and that everybody is excited about it. I think that’s the spirit here.
Jake Gyllenhaal, at the TIFF press conference for Prisoners (2013)

As a Toronto International Film Festival volunteer for the past four to five years, I play a part in advocating the festival. There are many film industry professionals who have spoken out about how much TIFF stands out as a film festival compared to other festivals during this time (e.g. Telluride and Venice). But since Jake Gyllenhaal is one of my favourite actors, this quote will be most memorable to me. I find him very well-spoken, and although that might give his quote less genuine, the fact that he began his answer with the fact that he has filmed a movie here recently, it feels like he understood the city more than other actors did.

I am glad that one of my favourite actors enjoys visiting my city, Toronto!

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This was one of two K-Pop related things I did in Korea over the winter break. I'm not much of a K-Pop fan anymore – who has the energy to keep up with 17-year-old pop stars anymore?! – but I couldn't resist visiting this building since so much of my teenage years was spent obsessing over this company. (Damn you, @smtown, for wasting away @zhangliyin0228's youth.) It was also a good location to meet @_starwish for the first time. We first met over our appreciation of #ZhangLiyin!

Funny story about arriving at this building though... There was a huge line in front of the building before it opened. Me being me – someone now living in London, UK, and thus who Iikes a good line – I queued up, thinking that it was the line to enter the building... Nooope! It was a line to buy photo cards. πŸ˜‚ When I reached the shop upstairs and realized that I had wasted like, 40 minutes in line to buy photo cards of artists that I no longer care about, I let out this really dry dark laugh that probably everyone in the shop heard... πŸ˜‚ Can't help myself. My bitterness towards SM extends to their stupid photo card shop that doesn't even offer a single photo card for the #CSJH #CSJHTheGrace members. The staff member downstairs had said that /all/ artists were included. That was a total lie. πŸ˜‘
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  • Two good-looking and well-dressed British dudes took this photo for me. I was in the middle of doing a jumping pose in front of the stadium, so that's why I'm in that awkward pose. πŸ€ΈπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜‚ The jump pose photos ended up being super messy though because I couldn't keep my scarves down, so this photo will be the only photo I'll be sharing from this series. πŸ˜…

Also, first time seeing @realmadrid play in person!! What a dream. (More photos to come later!)
  • This looks like the most unappetizing dish of food ever, but it's got an amusing story behind it. (Well, I think it's amusing anyway.) So I'm a solo East Asian female traveller, right? Imagine me walking into a Spanish tapas pub of sorts by myself, not knowing a lick of Spanish and trying to understand how this pub works. (It was highly recommended on @foursquare.) ⁣
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I stood at the bar for like, 10 minutes trying to get the attention of one of the bartenders, but he just continued to look over my head. It was packed in this pub – at least two groups of #RealMadrid fans hanging around, decked out in full gear! – so what with busy bartenders and waiters, no one gave a two-shits about this East Asian girl standing and looking helplessly at the bar. Fair enough.⁣
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Finally though, I managed to get the bartender's attention and ordered a mojito. (Also recommended on @foursquare.) The bartender yells at his co-bartender buddy, and I apparently have to wait some more for this mojito to arrive. After a bit, I'm tired of standing around, and walks over to his buddy's side of the bar and looks at him expectantly.⁣
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This guy is cuuute. The top half of his face reminds me of @oscar_emboaba – the eyebrows, the eyes, the hair. But he still takes ages to give me this damn mojito and the free plate of tapas that comes with it. The whole meal cost only €6, but I still want my food, thanks.⁣
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Anyways, after what must've been 15 minutes since walking through the door of this tapas pub, I'm finally served my food and drink. The mojito turns out to be way bigger than the #Foursquare tips said; it's about maybe 3 to 5 times the size of a normal glass of mojito in London or Toronto. The free tapas were decent, but nothing to shout about.⁣
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While I was eating and drinking though, I had to entertain myself with either my phone or the hustle bustle of the venue. That meant a lot of people watching. A lot of people watching that included the groups of local Real Madrid fans – figured that  I should leave for the stadium relatively the same time as they do – and the cute bartender.⁣
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(Continued below...)