by Geoff Pevere.
The only way the 1984 Toronto Festival of Festivals could have been more Canadian would have been if there had been a snowfall in September.
Not that the fest, since rebranded as the Toronto International Film Festival, needed it. That was not only the inaugural year of a new national showcase program called Perspective Canada, it was also the year of Northern Lights, an exhaustive retrospective of Canadian-made movies stretching from the silent era to the present.
Northern Lights was my festival baptism. I had been hired by then-programmer Piers Handling to assist in assembling the program and its attendant publications (Take Two and The Film Reader). So I’d spent the summer tracking films and filmmakers, writing and editing, and generally carrying out the work both Handling and I had been inspired to do by our shared professor and mentor, the late Peter Harcourt, a tireless advocate of the national cinema who was also an original programmer of the new showcase program.
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