So it’s all over now for another year. With TIFF 2012’s conclusion the sidewalks of Toronto are free of the film-goer lineups and the throngs of star-stalkers. Chances of spotting celebrities drop rapidly as they all head home, hopefully pleased with our city’s reception of them. While some Torontonians complain about actor obsession I think we all know that hosting them here gives TIFF the prestige it needs to continue its growth. It is a festival for the viewer, not the critic, and that is an amazing opportunity for which I am thankful. This was the festival’s 37th year and I hope to see it continue on for a long, long time. I want me some TIFF ’50 merch!

But more than that I want to keep seeing ambitious and new and dark and uplifting and unsettling films. I’ve loved the festival atmosphere and camaraderie for a long time, and to be able to immerse myself in it was absolutely addictive. There is a sort of trenches mentality that develops and is fun to observe and be a part of. I’ve had some nice conversations and overheard some even better ones. I was so busy in the first half that I worried I would burn out. But I caught a second wind and loved every minute of it. Well, except for the lines, those are killer on my back. Chantelle does it right, bringing a small fold-out stool when we see a movie anywhere that isn’t Ryerson.

My own personal star sightings were subdued: Viggo Mortensen appearing outside the screening of Everybody Has A Plan; again at Mads Mikklesen’s The Hunt; Sook Yin Lee at the Canadian Film Lounge; Saoirse Rohan at Soho House; and Robert Sheehan strolling by the patio at Sassafraz.

I saw a lot of good films, a few amazing ones, and only two that I can say I disliked (sorry Great Expectations and Byzantium). I wish I’d seen The Silver Linings Playbook since it went on to win the People’s Choice Award, but I still have time before it hits the regular cinema. I feel like I was a part of something bigger than me, and privy to advance awesomeness. I cannot wait now to watch and see which movies go on to big acclaim (besides Argo which is pretty obvious). Allison said that Denmark was so pleased with both A Royal Affair and The Hunt that they can’t decide which to put up for the foreign language Oscar – they might even hold one back for next year. Good job, Mads! Please come back next year!

All good things must end of course, and so tomorrow I go back to work and the real world. Tired but enriched, I hate to let it go. Tonight I want to hold onto the magic a little longer. I think I’ll watch a movie…