Every fall, in Toronto, the stars flock to our friendly, clean, politely eager city for the Toronto International Film Festival. They start to tag themselves on Instagram and their social media feeds are flooded with cool images of celebs themselves and beaming snaps of locals beside (or at arms’ length from) these rare birds, who have come to rest here for another year of TIFF.
Page poses and announces her arrival in Toronto.
Festival Parties in full swing.
Ellen Page, Sir Patrick Stewart, Rachel McAdams, Dame Helen Mirren, Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore… all the on camera talent you’d expect at a ‘world class’ festival, but also the behind-the-scenes darlings who bring you the best cinema of the world. The magazines all print their ‘Where to spot celeb’ recommendations, for hangouts and star gazing during the festival, and more often than not you end up hearing from someone who happened upon a hole in the wall where Drew Barrymore was drinking with friends (in past years that was at Sweaty Betty’s).
Shout outs between celebs.
Toronto’s own Teri Hart with Ms.Dame? Mirren
And while the big wigs of media are interviewing the most recognizable film stars, my wife is catching up with some of the lesser known, but no less talented directors, writers, producers and emerging talent; sharing the E-Talk Lounge, she is covering films in foreign languages and welcoming a slew of talent who will be featured on the Movie Network, for E-Talk Movie Moments. I, lucky me, am joining her for the day to get an inside look and true to Canadian form, I’m being treated like gold by everyone we encounter, because you never know who the person next to you might be, or what film they’re here with – and Canadians really are just that nice.
We started our day at the Intercontinental, where she had interviews for the films Endorphine and London Road.
I was comfy cool in a pair of chunky heeled Frye boots, a black Zara carry all, bracelets from White Feather Designs, a black leather tee from H&M, tweed topper and black Second Denim Yoga jeans.
Ready for the day at the Intercontinental.
There were lots of freebies so a shoulder bag kept me hands-free.
Drizzling weather outdoors called for a hat and a cheap and cheerful H&M version kept my head dry and hair at bay.
Wifey is ready to go in the Sephora hospitality suite.
Press and publicists and planning, oh, my!
E-talk welcomes you!
Inside the interview suite.
The day’s first interview with the director of Endorphine.
Playing celebrity, I get a moment in the hot seat. The room designed by Elte was monochromatic cool in black and white.
Sitting pretty in the Sephora-sponsored interview suite. They have cleverly transformed the hotel room into a chic space for a tete-a-tete.
We chat while lights and levels are set.
Black and white, black and white, black and white.
This shot sorta makes me wish I had thousands of dollars worth of lighting to follow me around in real life.
Interview number two, with the stars of Endorphine.
E-talk: cameras rolling in the interview suite.
Ready for our close-up. Killing time together between interviews. The crew in the room was super friendly.
Out on the street things are starting to get rolling (the street was strategically filled with inflated balls).
Andy Warhol photo booths are drawing a line-up.
Within minutes of starting our stroll I had won a $50 gift card to Express – the retailer had set up a silver Airstream Trailer full of prize offers, merch and tote bags.
Caffeinated and ready to head back to the hotel.
No big deal; a swag bag for Matt Damon is casually chilling beside me.
The walls are lined with cool freebies for the talent who pop by to visit: David’s Tea, face masks, water, Lara Bars, bath and beauty products, hats from The Drake General Store, Equinox Fitness memberships.
George Clooney’s Tequila was a featured item. Double yummm.
We were offered yummy teas and gourmet cookies, but my eyes were really drawn to the Sephora swag, with makeup palettes, lashes, Marc Jacobs lip products and nail polishes galore!
The creative lead from Sephora filled me in on a new eye shadow set based on the Instagram Filters and we traded tips about favourite products. What a lovely surprise!
Shuttling to and fro, from the Much Music Headquarters to the Intercontinental.
Highlight moment… Allia makes a celeb sandwich with Geoffrey Rush and her sister, Yan. Allia brought Yan as a surprise for Geoffrey Rush – who she had the pleasure of interviewing again. Yanique and Mr. Rush go way back to a few years ago when they bonded at a past TIFF.
Back at the studio I take MY work onto the set, so I’ll be able to show my students that their homework was 15-seconds-of-famous.
That’s right, your work was on set.
The iconic CP24 news vehicle crashing out of the wall at Queen and John.
Meeting up with some friends for a well-deserved happy hour drink.
Enjoying a Fruli at the Town Crier, jokingly brought with two straws and some cherries. The dessert to our more grown up beers.
Whether you saw it filtered through layers of media and devices, or up close and personal, the film fest is always a great way to start fall. Get out and support film and the folks who make it all happen. Happy TIFF 2015!