Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Helena Bonham Carter
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a publicly-attended Film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The festival begins the Thursday night after Labour Day (the first Monday in September, in Canada) and lasts for ten days. Between 300-400 films are screened at approximately 23 screens in downtown Toronto venues. Annual attendance at TIFF exceeds 300,000 from public and industry audiences.
Founded in 1976, the TIFF is now among the top film festivals in the world. The festival is centred around the Yorkville, Toronto neighbourhood, an upscale area in the downtown core. It is a part of town with several luxury hotels, movie theatres, popular restaurants and cafes as well as one of Canada's and North America's priciest retail streets.
The festival is considered a launch pad for many studios to begin Oscar buzz for their films; for example, Taylor Hackford's "Ray" premiered at the festival and garnered much attention for Jamie Foxx's portrayal of Ray Charles (for which he ultimately won the Academy Award for Best Actor).
Many notable films have had their global or North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, including Chariots of Fire, The Big Chill, Husbands and Wives, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, Downfall, American Beauty, Sideways and Crash.
THEY came, they ate our food, they left.
Tonight is the last night for TIFF. I pay homage to this annual event with my "Celeb Gallery" which is comprised of pics I took using the Solari feature on my cam phone, of magazine & newspaper pics I've collected over the years. I love great photography, & when I see something I like, I keep it. I've also got editorials, ads, magazine covers etc. in my collection, which I plan to feature in future posts.
So, the celebs were here, along with a few hundred new movies. I didn't bother to check out any of them in person (the celebs or the movies), but I'll highlight some of my movie picks in an upcoming post, based on reviews, buzz & personal interest.
Celebs are great, aren't they? They attract a lot of attention, tie up traffic, get the best tables in town & free shit they can afford, travel, consume, complain & IF we're lucky, they may actually do something entertaining. These days, they don't have to be talented to entertain us - *cough* Jessica Simpson/Lindsay Lohan/Paris Hilton etc. - just crash a car, say stupid shit, show up at some lame party & get their ass on a magazine cover. That's all it takes, sadly enough. Tell you what, I'll start "celebrating" these media darlings when they pay my bills, fix my mouldy ceiling & contribute to my retirement package. How about that?
TIFF's firmly established on the movie festival circuit, a prime destination for industry insiders. My neighbourhood, Bloor-Yorkville, played host to numerous parties, screenings & press conferences. Lobby (on Bloor St.W) & The Hazelton Hotel were packed solid every night of the festival, abuzz with activity as witnessed by yours truly from a safe & non-envious distance.
But aside from those relatively few hot spots, life went on same as always for 90% of Toronto's population. It's not like we hosted the Olympics, for chrissakes. If it weren't for the media telling us how "important" TIFF is, it would be just another bunch of people with common interests hanging out, laughing, gossiping, striking deals, drinking, snorting & fucking way more than usual.
Very little of this event affected my daily routine. I saw a friend from LA who stops by once a year for the festival & that was it. He's a pro at the schmooze: firm handshake, set phrases, congenial attitude - it's a dance between buyers & sellers. His world's foreign to me & I thank god for that - the stress alone would kill me in a heartbeat.
My friend went back to LA on Thursday & I was sad to see him go; he's one of the coolest people I've ever met. For me, he put a human face on the festival that has nothing to do with the glitterati. If there's any reason for me to appreciate TIFF, he's it because if it weren't for this event, I never would've met him.