By Ray Pride

Denis Côté

“I saw Dario Argento’s films that were much more artistic. And when I was around fifteen or sixteen, I considered making films. At eighteen I went to college but had no friends there, because it was very far. All I could do then was to concentrate on cinema. My teacher was my best friend and we had a list of films we had to watch. Pasolini, Godard, Fassbinder, Cassavetes, Pialat, Zulawski. I was amazed and it was obvious I wanted to be a filmmaker. I never went to university after that, never been to film school. I was more of a rocker, I had very long hair and organized concerts, but was always at the local cinémathèque, watching three, four films a day, and losing girlfriends because of cinema… I was too passionate. One day I was asked if I wanted to talk about cinema on the radio… for free! I did that for four years and then they asked me if I’d like to write for a newspaper. I was twenty-four and had never touched a computer. It was 1999! They said, “Don’t make us laugh. Go see that film and tomorrow morning bring us back a diskette with the text.” I borrowed a computer from my friend who told me how to use it. I wrote my review and they said, “Very nice. Be back next week. We will give you your desk and computer and will hire. You are our film editor.” It was a small newspaper but had good readership. I would write a full page on an Abbas Kiarostami retrospective and then two or three lines on Spider-man. That is how I made my reputation as a film critic. In 2005, I made my first film, Drifting States. I really didn’t know what I was making. When it was finished, I watched it with my editor and we thought, “Is it a fiction, is it a documentary, what is it?” It was really exciting! Then I heard that Locarno Film Festival was interested in the film. I was like, “What is Locarno?” We sent the film and won the main award in the video competition. That was the beginning of my career. After that I made a film every year.
Denis Côté


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“TIFF doesn’t make attendance numbers for its Lightbox screenings publicly available, so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how many filmgoers the Lightbox is attracting (or how much money it’s bringing in). But the King Street West venue hasn’t become a significant draw for film enthusiasts. The Lightbox’s attendance has plunged – 49,000 fewer visitors last year, a drop of 27 per cent, according to figures recently reported in the Toronto Star. Its gallery space – designed to showcase the visions of cinema’s most iconic filmmakers – saw most of its exhibitions staff quietly axed this past fall. And its marketing barely escapes the Lightbox’s walls. Unless you are a TIFF member or one of the city’s most avid filmgoers, you could walk by the Lightbox and remain blissfully unaware of a single thing that goes on inside. TIFF “still has a world-class brand,” said Barry Avrich, a filmmaker and former board member, “but it’s going to take some fresh vision from retail, consumer programming and marketing experts, given how the lines have become intensely blurred when it comes to how people watch film. They will have to experiment with programming to find the right blend of function and relevance.”
~ Globe & Mail Epic On State of Toronto Int’l (paywalled)

“I’m 87 years old… I only eat so I can smoke and stay alive… The only fear I have is how long consciousness is gonna hang on after my body goes. I just hope there’s nothing. Like there was before I was born. I’m not really into religion, they’re all macrocosms of the ego. When man began to think he was a separate person with a separate soul, it created a violent situation.

“The void, the concept of nothingness, is terrifying to most people on the planet. And I get anxiety attacks myself. I know the fear of that void. You have to learn to die before you die. You give up, surrender to the void, to nothingness.

“Anybody else you’ve interviewed bring these things up? Hang on, I gotta take this call… Hey, brother. That’s great, man. Yeah, I’m being interviewed… We’re talking about nothing. I’ve got him well-steeped in nothing right now. He’s stopped asking questions.”
~ Harry Dean Stanton