Nearly a year ago, Straight staffer and resident horror aficionado Steve Newton reported that “the world’s most reviled film director” Uwe Boll was trying to make a name for himself as a food critic.

Now, it appears that Vancouver-based Boll is taking his interest in food one step further and preparing to open a restaurant in Gastown.

King Street starts to empty. TIFF posters peel off the bulletin boards and street lamps. Foreign journalists flee town with haste. The days of the Toronto International Film Festival are coming to a close.

There are still lineups around the block and the sandwiches in the media room still have about a 15 minute shelf life before they’re devoured. But much of the buzz is fizzling out of the TIFF Bell Lightbox building. It’s been something of a blessing (actual sleep? My god!), but it’s also sad as there’s an excitement around this town during TIFF that’s unmatched. 

Some observations

Will Canada's next top Bollywood star hail from B.C. again?

It all depends on who enters the competition.

If you think you have what it takes to make it big in Bollywood, you'll have your chance to show your stuff on Season 2 of OMNI TV's reality show competition Bollywood Star.

Last year, Simran Sidhu, a 25-year-old dancer from Surrey, beat her competition and won the opportunity to perform in a role in an upcoming Bollywood film.

This talent search is open to all Canadians. 

Auditions will be held in Vancouver (September 21) and Toronto (September 28).

Eight of the last nine Academy Award Winnters for Best Picture have shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. Last year, the walkaway winner 12 Years a Slave garnered heavy buzz at the festival enroute to scooping up a slew of awards. Gravity, another major hardware-taker at the Oscars, was also here clamouring in the bright lights of Toronto. All of this, of course, makes us wonder where this year's big Oscar winner is coming from. Because more and more, it’s looking like it might not come from Toronto.

During the first annual Phrike FilmFest 72 Hour Film Competition, novice and professional filmmakers of all ages will be challenged to bring their own unique horror-themed short films from script to screen in less than three days. From October 11 to 13, they will be competing for a $5,000 cash prize, the Grand Goblin Award, and more.

The 13 qualifying films will be premiered for the public and judged at the inaugural Vancouver Halloween Parade & Expo on October 18 and 19 at downtown Vancouver's Sheraton Wall Centre.

Because of the agreement by the Festival which shunned showings of films that have already premiered at Telluride, the weekend of films was routinely trashed in some corners.

With many spouting that Jason Reitman’s Men, Women and Children was the only film making its premiere that would garner considerable Oscar debate, audiences were left to sit patiently for the big boys like The Imitation Game and Foxcatcher to screen.

The long lineups at every venue, however, showed that generating excitement for the festival was not an issue.   

Some observations

For those who think that the weather in Vancouver is unpredictable, here’s the forecast I woke up to on my second morning in Toronto: “Highs of 30 degrees Celsius with severe thunderstorms”.

Uhhh, what? In bringing back the '90s with my raincoat and shorts combo (the unsightly duo still had me at least in the top third of best-dressed reporters at TIFF), the weather has proven to be even tougher to plan for than my schedule. With a horde of films to see and interviews to do, the first two days of TIFF had me literally running from movie theatres to hotels and back.

With caustic comedian Joan Rivers, there were never any fence sitters in the audience because there was never any fence to begin with.

With her defiant, foul-mouthed, and acid-tongued delivery, nothing was ever off-limits for Rivers, which prompted people to either revel in her fearlessness or despise her aggressive brand of humour.

Unfortunately, the world lost the legendary performer when she died of complications from minor surgery in New York City on September 4. She was 81 years old.

She had stopped breathing and slipped into cardiac arrest during a surgical procedure on her vocal chords on August 28.

Riversborn Joan Molinsky made her mark as a trailblazer in a male-dominated world of comedy and is credited for opening up doors for women in standup.

"Aboriginal women are 3.5 times more likely than non-aboriginal women to be victims of violence."

This statistic is shown on screen near the start of Decolonizing Praxis: Supporting Survivors After Sexual Assault.

It's a new short film from Women Against Violence Against Women Rape Crisis Centre that's meant to be a resource for WAVAW's fellow service providers.

Although Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt may have come under fire for breaking their pledge that they wouldn't get married until all same-sex couples could marry in the U.S., one of Jolie's former lovers is hearing same-sex wedding bells.

Japanese American model and actor Jenny Shimizu, who once had a relationship with Jolie (who costarred with her in the 1996 film Foxfire), is engaged to her partner Michelle Harper.

Jolie is quoted as saying of Shimizu: "I fell in love with her the first second I saw her. I would probably have married Jenny if I hadn't married my [first] husband."

Shimizu also lists Madonna as one of her former lovers.

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