The Toronto International Film Festival From an Indie Perspective

I’m an indie novelist used to looking at the traditional film and publishing world from the outside in.

Some love the allure of Hollywood. Some of these same people follow their favorite movies from theatres to DVD and streaming video.  Others want to see films that make viewers see, feel and think about a slice of humanity. We want to come away challenged, provoked or maybe even confirmed in our way of looking at the world. That said, I actually do think Hollywood is getting a lot better at making films which really stir us and leave a lasting impression. I think of The Reader and Revolutionary Road.

On The Toronto International Film Festival website , I found a really intriguing place—for industry members only. To actually go to the sessions would cost about $610.00. Not loose change for an aspiring filmmaker—or indie author. What was fascinating to me was that many of the sessions offered concerned issues that indie writers think about all the time!

Across the world of publishing, there seems to be increasing amounts of talk about the traditional world vs. the indie world.

From the looks of this program, it seems that the film industry is a number of years ahead of the publishing world. New concepts are being discussed at their industry sessions. For example:

  • How to build buzz around your film. This is exactly what I’m trying to do with my new novel, The Drawing Lesson: The first in the Trilogy of Remembrance. In one session, they deal with the question, “How do you get a cool movie trailer or film stunt made and then have it permeate the web and resonate?” This is exactly what I’m trying to do with my book trailer which you can see at
  • “Do-it-yourself distribution” is now the officially accepted and sometimes preferred method of getting films out into the world. What are the pros and cons of this kind of distribution?
  • How about online crowd funding and crowd sourcing for money to get your film made? This is a totally new concept to me, but apparently there are filmmakers who seek out funding from their potential viewers.
  • What about independent and art house movies?  Is there an audience? Of course there is! The question is how to reach them. Some are finding that the answer is on the web.

For me, it’s great to see that those in the film industry are struggling with exactly the same questions with which an indie writer and publisher. Maybe they’ll find some answers that work for me.


About Mary E. Martin

Mary E. Martin grew up in Toronto, Canada. After earning an Honors Degree in History at the University of Toronto, she graduated with her law degree from Queens University, Kingston, Ontario. In 1973, she was called to the Bar of Ontario and began the general practice of law in Toronto, with emphasis on real estate, wills and estates and elder-care law. This law practice of more than 30 years was a great inspiration for The Osgoode Trilogy ("Conduct in Question," "Final Paradox" and "A Trial of One.") Her fourth novel, “The Drawing Lesson,” will be the first in the next trilogy, provisionally entitled “The Trilogy of Rmembrance.” She is also a photographer particularly with respect to her travels. She has had two commercial photography shows. Married in 1973, she and her husband live in Toronto. They have three adult children.
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