One of the first images projected on a screen at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was the Mongrel Media logo which popped up in the opening credits of Score: A Hockey Musical. Established in 1994 Mongrel has grown to become a powerhouse film distributor and TIFF regular.
“Playing a film at TIFF is every distributor’s dream,” says Director of Marketing and Theatrical Releasing Danish Vahidy. “Capote, Volver, Away from Her, One Week, A Prophet, An Education, The Lives Of Others. TIFF helped put all these films and Mongrel on the map. Mongrel had one film at the 1996 TIFF (our first) and now fourteen this year.”
Of the bakers dozen plus one Mongrel movies at the fest this year, including the Mike Leigh comedy Another Year, Woody Allen’s latest You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and the blistering financial meltdown documentary Inside Job, Vahidy says Score: A Hockey Musical provided two of his most memorable moments at this year’s TIFF.
“We were thrilled when we heard that Score: A Hockey Musical was selected as the opening night film,” he says. “How often do you get Olivia Newton-John and Walter Gretzky on the same red carpet?
“To have the film receive a standing ovation was overwhelming. And now I can’t get the finale song out of my mind. ‘Hockey, hockey… the greatest game in the land.’”
When asked about his favourite Mongrel Media moment from past years at the festival he says it would be “the reaction from the crowd after the opening night screening of Water at Roy Thomson Hall.
“We knew that night that we had something special on our hands and it was great to see the progression of the film from that night to its Academy Award nomination.”
On a more personal note he adds, “Sharing the back seat of a limo with Penelope Cruz would have to come in second! I think our publicist would say that sharing the back seat of a limo with [Indian superstar and heartthrob] John Abraham is right up there as well.”