With a big cup of coffee in hand, I face my last shift at the office and my favorite day of the whole year.

Apologies if these words seem familiar, but it’s a mission statement I make every year around this time.

Long ago, I noticed that when I do a podcast episode dedicated to a lower-profile title, it tends to get less listens (read: FRANK). The reason for this is obvious…and I’m guilty of it too: Why does one want to listen to people discuss something one hasn’t seen? It’s not even like I’m accredited press and can report on “the vibe” of the festival.

In some ways, I believe this carries over to film festival coverage. I mean really, beyond wanting to me to act as the canary in the coal mine where films like ST. VINCENT, ROSEWATER, and WILD are concerned, why would you want to read what I’m writing about films that might not make it your way for months (sometimes years)?

I’m hoping for this reason: Hopefully, if I’ve selected wisely, I can see something and write about it in a way that will make you want to keep an eye out for it. If I’ve really selected wisely, this will be kindled for a film you may never even have had your eye on.

As an example, three of my favorite films from this past summer – OBVIOUS CHILD, SNOWPIERCER, and ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE – were ones I watched because of passionate festival word-of-mouth. In the case of the latter two, that word-of-mouth came from last year’s TIFF

I guess what I’m saying is “stick with me”. I won’t give away every twist and turn, but hopefully you’ll discover something new over the next eleven days.