A year ago, critics gave Roger Ebert’s memoir two thumbs up. With Life Itself now out in paperback, the author and esteemed film critic signs copies next week, in between festival screenings, no doubt. Mr. Ebert supplied us with his top TIFF memories.
“Meeting Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese director and animator, was a highlight. As were the the premieres of Ray, Slumdog Millionaire and Juno. I remember Norman Jewison’s picnics, the seats at the Uptown Backstage that slanted so you slid forward, and chatting with audience members who were attending five films a day and subsisting on bottled water and trail mix.
“I was there for the iconic folk group the Weavers’ last appearance at the Elgin, after the premiere of Isn’t This a Time! in 2004.
“There was the disastrous screening of an early Atom Egoyan film, when the second reel didn’t turn up and he had to race to find it. And I haven’t forgotten the early days, when schedules were adjusted at a press conference every morning, and when everyone seemed to be in the lobby of the Sutton Place.
“We ate charbroiled hot dogs in the street between movies.
“There were the tributes to Robert Duvall, Martin Scorsese and Warren Beatty. I recall the off-the-wall ‘Critic’s Choice’ screenings at the New Yorker Theatre (I think). And who could forget Dusty and Joan Cohl, the Toronto ambassadors of friendship.”