TIFF, Towers And Taylor


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TIFF –Toronto International Film Festival – 911 – Remembered

As this is the 16th anniversary of the horrific events of 911, I find it hard not to remember that morning for 2 main reasons: one devastating and one joyous.

I had been hired as I had for several years as an audio person to participate in Interviews for ‘press’ junkets involving Actors and Directors for various movies being showcased at the Toronto International Film Festival. I always liked this gig because you were surrounded by the movers and shakers…high rollers…the famous…and always good food. Now the work was the same as anything else but the surrounding players is what made this more enjoyable. I had worked the Festival for many years and stories relating to it I have and will continue to include in these articles however, September 11, 2001 was obviously different.

Usually the job I was hired to do would be for maybe 2-3+ days. Interviews all day which started at around 9:00am so therefore we would all need to be on site at around 7:00am. This day was no different. I arrived at the Four Seasons Hotel which was our location, entered the Suite we had converted to a mini studio and checked all my equipment which had been set-up by others (another nice perk of this particular job) and really just talked to my colleagues and waited for the day to begin.

As I and my colleagues were waiting for the Industry personnel to arrive in our room, you couldn’t help but hear commotion out in the hall. The sound of people rushing about which just didn’t sound right. We kind of looked at each other with a collective, what’s going on out there expression on our faces. I opened the door and saw people frantically passing around looking somewhat dazed, being out in the hall now, I could hear crying as well. I immediately went into the suite which was our control room and saw for myself on the television set the reason for this odd behavior, the 1st Tower was burning. The room filled as we all listened to what was going on and BOOM, the second plane hit the 2nd Tower. As you could imagine everyone was stunned, scared and in complete disbelief as to what we just witnessed. Being the Film Festival, there were many Americans involved and they instantly got on their phones and called friends, colleagues and loved ones in New York to see if they were alright. Shock and disbelief was the obvious reaction by all.

Despite the horrific events that were happening ‘live’ in front of or eyes, we had a job to do here, as superficial as it was, there were many Interviews scheduled. The question my bosses kept saying to each other was, “what do we do now?”

The organizers of the Festival felt, and rightly so, everything should come to a halt and these ‘junket’ Interviews would be cancelled. Once the word filtered to us, we began the process of tearing down and packing all the gear…my 2001 TIFF experience was now over before it really began.

At around 11:00 am when we were finished packing up still dazed and really feeling quite sad and mad over the events of the morning my telephone rang. It was my sister calling to inform me that my Niece Carly had just delivered a beautiful little baby girl. My Sister just became a Grandmother and I a Great Uncle.

Devastation and Joy

Let us remember those who lost their lives that day and happy sweet 16 Taylor.

Written by Elliott Cowan


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