Monday, September 09, 2013

A perfect TIFF date

My wife got tickets to the documentary InRealife playing at TIFF this afternoon.  I try and take in a little TIFF every year, sometimes splurging on a gala, but often times get better value from a documentary or lesser known gem.

The film was playing a TIFF Lightbox, a beautiful acoustic, visual and thought provoking experience with a short intro by the director Beeban Kidron and a in depth interview and Q&A afterward, hosted by Nora Young of CBC.  

The film is about the influence and fundamental change the internet is having on the younger generation of today.  Kidron mixes interviews of teenagers with psychological and tech industry experts to paint a pretty grim picture of a next gen society addicted to the online world.  Lots of awkward bits of young lads talking about porn, the love of their smartphones or their exclusively-online friends and the tragic, but inevitable cyber bullying victim.  But bigger, far reaching topics are exposed and dissected with professionalism and care.

Some of my friends have heard me say that the lack of concern for privacy is a generational gap; the majority of kids today are growing up in an age of cyber sharing and no concern for privacy.  When they grow to rule the world, all their peers and the leaders of the future will be in the same boat, unembarrassed by their youthful indiscretions.  I'm pleased to say, the film quickly hit on this naive notion.  Yes, the kids are adapting to the modern ubiquitous online world, but it is changing them (and us).  We don't truly know how it is changing us and that is the scary thing.  We cannot just accept it without properly understanding it.

Other insights include:
  • the lack of real world interaction our children have missed in their short lives and the over-protection and fear we instill limits their opportunity to gather in person for social interaction, i.e. either it's not safe or kids are discouraged from hanging out in the park or the mall.  The internet becomes the only place to "safely" congregate.
  • the gender differences (from the afterfilm Q&A): girls handle the social aspects of the internet well, but are challenged my self-image versus boys who are uber confident of their id but lack social interaction skills.
  • the nefarious goals of the massive internet companies of today with the most hidden powerhouse being Google (who know more about you than your mother and maybe even yourself).
  • but the relatively optimistic viewpoint by Joi Ito who admitted there are challenges in the online world today, but we have a way of ultimately adjusting to these societal cracks and moving on.\.

After the film, we soaked up the King Street TIFF buzz and drifted over to the festival epicenter where Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor and co. were on the red carpet for August: Osage County.  Crowds were about 5 deep and very tall, so no personal sightings, but hey, it's not every day you can say you were within 30 feet of the glorious Ms. Roberts.

As is the case with every great movie you share with your best friend, you need some quality time and setting to digest the cinematic and story telling experience.  We ejected from the TIFF crowds and walked up to Queen Street, then targeted quieter Baldwin Street, but stumbled upon the romantic French Midi Bistro - well, the sign out front really grabbed our attention.  Time zoomed by (as did the wine) as we talked about the film, its place in our world and the catalyst for future endeavours. Perhaps I've created a new documentarian.

So we came home, I walked Kooper and set a blog writing challenge of recording our wonderful evening.  The goal of an hour was a little ambitious, but I'm pleased to say this was written in about 110 minutes.  Please excuse the typos (my editor has gone to bed).

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