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Producer’s Diary: Aaron Eckhart and Todd Haynes

Gary Marks, Shootout’s Executive Producer, reports about his
experience at the Toronto Film Festival while the show covers the event.

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After my stint as a guerilla verite director in the streets of Toronto, it was nice to once again stress out about the normal festival shoot. On Sunday, we had Aaron Eckhart and festival co-director Noah Cowan on the show. Noah was great on camera — passionate, humorous, thoughtful, and articulate. Aaron Eckhart is a class act.

It’s very refreshing when someone’s onscreen talents and success are matched by an offscreen humility and grace, qualities he has in spades. 

Monday brought Todd Haynes, the director of "I’m Not There," the new Bob Dylan biopic, in which Dylan is played by about eight different actors, including Cate Blanchett (during his "Don’t Look Back" phase.)

Although probably the least well known of any of our guests, he’s amongst the most talented. If you haven’t seen "Safe" or "Far From Heaven," rent ’em. It was a fascinating interview, the kind that makes my job extraordinary. Of course, he went to Brown, my alma mater, so…come on. Not a big surprise.

Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner were next, and then a group of reporters
and critics to have a catty chat about the festival, and by then, the
whizzing numbness of a festival shoot had set in completely. There is a
definite surreality to the middle of any festival experience. Even if
you’re not producing a TV show there. At some point, you’re walking the
streets and you’re not in your body. Too little sleep, too much food,
are you in a movie or watching one…?

And, finally, we wrap and I have a chance to enjoy the festival for a
day. I celebrate with friends. James Moll, a very talented director who
showed his film "Running The Sahara" to distributors. Andrew Wagner,
whose incredible success story you will see unfold on this site (he
shot his experience of the festival for us.) Four years ago, I used to
run into him at Starbuck’s in Hollywood, and he was stuck on page 238
in his screenplay. And he was only in the first act. Now, four years
later, after casting his family in his first movie, he brought his
second film to Toronto, "Starting Out In The Evening," starring Frank
Langella. An official selection of the festival. Incredible when your
friends succeed like that. 

And, then, I got to enjoy two movies myself: "Jellyfish," an Israeli
film, beautiful and a reminder that world cinema is now teaching
American filmmakers to rediscover what was once great and courageous
about our films. And "Trumbo," a moving documentary about Dalton
Trumbo, Jr., one of the Hollywood Ten, blacklisted in the ’50s. He lost
everything because he refused to back down from his stand that it was
unAmerican to ask him (or any American) to defend his political
affiliation — that it was a violation of not his Fifth Amendment
rights, but his First Amendment rights.  Completely inspirational, and
a reminder of why I travel to film festivals, producing a show about
the making and business of movies. 

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