Tomorrow, Hollywood North will be lit up for the 36th annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Some of the biggest stars in Hollywood as well as crowds of movie buffs, screaming fans and flashing paparazzo will head into town for the “festival of festivals” – its earlier moniker – which seems to get bigger each year.
Here’s what you need to know:
This year the festival has been organized into 17 programs spanning from the typical Hollywood soon-to-be blockbusters to the mavericks and masters, art films, kids flicks and an excellent selection of documentaries.
The opening film will be Looper, a futuristic thriller about time travel starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt.
One of the stand-out programmes each year is City to City which puts a spotlight on an international city. This year’s city is Mumbai, India’s largest capital. In past years, City to City explored how filmmakers represented their urban landscape, but this year, the programme will shift the focus to Mumbai-based filmmakers themselves and their contribution to the film industry.
Two world premiere’s will include:
Yearning for meaning in his life, a coddled young man abandons his girlfriend and family to set out on a spiritual quest across India. Shot with sophisticated DSLR cameras and reflecting a new passion for personal filmmaking, The Bright Day finds images to chart a soul’s progress.
Rahul roams the streets with his balloon-seller friend Arbaaz. These two kids escape the grim realities of their lives by gambling, roasting stolen potatoes, stealing an auto rickshaw for a joyride, and chasing girls. But soon Rahul has to “take care” of his violent father, who has forced him to live on streets.
When Hollywood comes to town, so do some of the hottest parties of the year.
These are the ones you want to get invited to:
Artists for Peace and Justice Lunch
Hang out by the pool at the intimate lunch hosted by Paul Haggis, Jude Law, Trudie Styler and George Stroumboulopoulos on September 8th. Gathering at the private estate of the President of the University of Toronto, special guests K’naan, Raine Maida, Chantal Kreviazuk and members of Arcade Fire will perform for guests as they sip on champagne and sample canapés in support of the APJ’s Academy for Peace and Justice in the Arts Institute in Haiti.
For more information, visit: www.apjnow.org
Fashion Cares 25th Anniversary Fundraiser
If you want to draw crowds, invite Elton John! On September 9th, the Piano Man himself along with Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared2, Linda Evangelista, Janelle Monet and the Scissor Sisters will head to the Sony Centre for the 25th anniversary of Fashion Cares, a benefit with proceeds going to the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) and the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF). This will be one of the flashiest events of the festival.
For tickets, visit: www.actoronto.org/fashioncares
If big flashy parties aren’t your thing but you’re secretly dying to bump into Ryan Gosling grabbing a Starbucks, here are your best bets.
A bunch of glitzy hotels have popped up near TIFF’s home in King West over the last few years creating a big celebrity draw. Last year, the Thompson Hotel saw the likes of Selma Blair and Shia LaBeouf, but this year’s hotspots will the newly opened Trump Towers, Ritz Carleton and Shangri-La Hotel. If you can’t get in, hang out nearby and keep your eyes peeled for the TIFF sponsored cars that will be carting everyone around.
Whether it’s grabbing a drink streetside at Sassafraz, getting a VIP spot at La Société or just cruising down the Mink Mile, Yorkville is your best bet for impromptu celebrity sightings. Last year, Colin Firth was a mainstay at the Park Hyatt Roof Lounge while fan favourite Megan Fox was spotted strolling along the street with her hubby Brian Austin Green.
The West End
Though Yorkville and King West are the mainstay hub of activity, over the last few years celebrities have begun to migrate west and have been spotted at hot spots like the Drake Hotel and along the Ossington strip at hole in the wall bars like Sweaty Betty’s. Past sightings have included Drew Barrymore, Robert Pattinson and James Franco.
For more on TIFF, visit: tiff.net