Thursday, 7 September 2017

TIFF17: The First Film

"Ex Libris - The New York Public Library"
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I wanted to ease into TIFF17, so my first screening was the Frederick Wiseman documentary Ex Libris - The New York Public Library. Yep, you got that right. I decided to kick off the festival with a three-hour film. Why? Because I'm a library geek and how could I  go wrong with a master documentarian? Still, I watched the film with the general public in mind. Beyond its appeal to like-minded people, this doc has a lot to say about current social and political conditions in the United States. We don't just see people borrowing books, we get a glimpse into the various boroughs in which these libraries are located. The make-up of each area determines the library's usage: some borrowers don't have access to the Internet, cutting them off from what's happening around them and father afield. With hook-ups and laptops available from the library they now have access. While some areas have a high volume of digital borrows, books flourish in others, and culturally diverse materials/talks/courses, help sustain and build community--think sign language and braille! I was especially impressed by the inclusion of discussions on race  as it pertains to the history and composition of the country. I attended a Press and Industry screening, but I'm sure those who attend the public screening will be impressed with the scope of the film, leading to some socially relevant questions during the Q & A.

Visit: for upcoming screening dates and times.

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