I’ve been to TCAF in Toronto 2 years in a row now, and both years it’s been extremely hard for me to express how I’ve felt about it, or to describe what it is or how it’s different from every other convention or festival experience I’ve ever had. It’s less a question that it’s better (even though it probably is), and more a question of how unique it is. It’s impossible to compare it to other shows, it isn’t like those shows.
Every person I spoke to last week at the show was effusive, the first-timers called it their best experience at a convention. The closest I can get to describing it is that it’s almost as if a US convention and a european festival were grafted together.
American conventions tend to lean either heavily towards superhero content or the other way completely. For someone like me who’s dead center between the mainstream and independent worlds, I can end up feeling lost between those currents.
I don’t feel that at TCAF. It’s a big world with a lot of different islands, and everyone’s supposed to be there. It’s inclusive and moreso than that, it’s INVITING. 2 days in that place and I’m ready to do great work. Whether I’m capable is a conversation for another day.
My thanks to everyone I saw and everyone I met, especially my amazing host Alex Hoffman, interim host Steve Manale, the incomparable Chris Butcher and my guides through all of my terrible night-time decisions, Andy Belanger, Cameron Stewart, Michael Cho, Clark Burscough, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl and the zillion other crazypants geniuses I encountered in my weird Canadian Ferris Bueller adventure.
I feel like a slightly better person. 10 more years like this I might elevate to human.