The Review/Short Read/

#InfiniteViews Diary 10: The Programme Associate

For her diary, Kiva Reardon writes a love letter to the beautiful insanity of TIFF and the co-workers who got her through it

by
Sep 18, 2016

Dear Diary,

Sorry I didn't write much this week. I've been, umm, busy? (At this point I'm so haggard that the only thing that makes me feel presentable is that butterfly filter in Snapchat, which makes everyone glow with a golden aura.) But now that the Festival's almost done, I've found a moment to look back on the last 10 days.

This is my second year working from inside the belly of the proverbial beast and I thought that might make it a bit easier. In some regards, it did (knowing the ins-and-outs of all the venues and the fastest routes to get to them saved me precious minutes running to intros and Q&As). But, as always, there were about 9,000 scenarios that I never could have predicted. Like a patron falling, smashing her nose, and having to be carried out by myself and a director, and then me going onstage with bloody hands and cue cards for a Q&A. (Shout out to Houda Benyamina for her quick emergency response skills; and thankfully that movie-goer is fine.) Or having to send an emergency text to a co-worker saying, "Do I address Busta Rhymes as 'Busta' or 'Mr. Rhymes'?" (I went with Busta; he was cool with it.)

It’s these moments that actually make me love my job and create a special kind of enjoyable intensity — a kind that leads to an especially brutal comedown. It's not only that I love my job (and that I'm a Pisces Moon) but after operating on 100 for weeks, waking up the day after the Fest is a harsh reality.

While that eventually fades (Netflix Narcos I'm going to lean on you so hard), the worst part are the goodbyes. For four months of the year, I get to work with some of the best people in this industry, and, quite frankly, on this planet. From my co-conspirator/twin Olena Decock, who takes every wild turn in stride, to Dorota Lech, who always has time to give advice. To Adam Cook, who sends the best supportive texts, to Peter Kuplowsky, who never fails to make me laugh. To Ravi Srinivasan and his Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat shirt, to Ryan Stam, who always fed me bites of his granola bar and to the ever-positive Diana Cadavid and Aki Takabatake. To the emergency supplier of tobacco, Andrei Tanasescu, and to the no-bullshit-taking Lisa Haller, who will always keep it real. To Jesse Cummings, who was so wise beyond his first Festival year and Emily Reid, who holds all the insider tips and tricks.

To Michael Lerman, who takes "Shut Up and Dance With Me" dance breaks, to Kerri Craddock, who let me play with her baby in staff meetings. To the lynchpin of the Programming Department, Jess Fallis (maybe the most impressive worker I've ever met), to Luisa Alvarez Restrepo, Cameron Bailey's right-hand woman. To Nikissi Serumaga and Melanie Lemaire, who made sure all the filmmakers on CB’s slate got flights, visas and hotels. To Hali Hamilton, Lily Mollin Bosslin and Meryl Warren, who let me steal snacks from the Film Office and ran a flawless Varda Lounge. To our scheduling coordinator, Anita Tavakol, who made sure we knew where we needed to be, to William Yih, who secured restaurant reservations when it seemed impossible, and to our programming intern Marina Moreira, who tracked a gazillion RSVPs.

These are the people that make sure the moving pieces come together to form a Festival. And while folks often ask me who the biggest name I've met working at here is, it's really these names that make working here worth it.

Yours in never-ending feelings and zero chill, Kiva

For more of Kiva's insights on cinema, check out TIFF's Official Podcast Yo! Adrian (https://soundcloud.com/yoadrianpodcast) starring her and her amazing co-host Fariha Roisin.