Why Toronto is the New Cannes

Mimi ON Nov 17, 2012 AT 4:29 pm


Halle Berry at TIFF for Cloud Atlas

Halle Berry at TIFF for Cloud Atlas

Toronto is one of my favourite cites to visit in the autumn, I love being there for TIFF, the Toronto Film Festival takes place in September. Thirty years ago TIFF became the world’s largest public festival, unlike famous festivals like Cannes, the whole city gets to celebrate film and feels part of the festival with tickets available for events and screenings. With the Audience Choice award being favoured over a jury voting for the best film.

Toronto takes the film industry seriously and Hollywood listens, in fact the all important Hollywood Press Corp only leave LA twice a year, going to Cannes and Toronto. The last five best films that won an Oscar were all premièred at TIFF; No Country For Old MenSlumdog MillionaireThe Hurt LockerThe King’s Speech and The Artist. In fact Slumdog was slated to go straight to DVD until audiences went crazy for it at TIFF, and we all know what happened to Danny Boyle, that film and the incredible cast.

Last year U2 opened the festival with their film From The Sky Down made by Davis Guggenheim, this was the first time a documentary had opened the festival, this year it was the turn of Rian Johnson with his film Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Kristen Stewart at TIFF

There were so many huge names who turned up this year to walk the red carpet and promote their films, some of the favourites were Ben Affleck with  Argo, Tom Hanks for Cloud Atlas, Johnny Depp for West of Memphis and the crowds went wild for Selena Gomez and she was followed around by the Bieber. Selena was there for her movie Springbreakers, her first racy role and also starring James Franco. The Springbreakers after-party was one of the hot tickets at the festival, it was at the cool bar and lounge Brassaii on King Street West.  We actually spotted Selena staying in our hotel, The Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square. We also spotted Robert Redford at dinner one night at Easy & The Fifth, and he was happy to pose for pictures with a fan.

Adrian Grenier was in town to support the film he co-produced with Bert Marcus, How To Make Money Selling Drugs. It’s a really clever, satirical film featuring celebrity talking heads including actress Susan Sarandon, Eminem and 50 Cent and many former dealers who speak eloquently about the years of their lives lost to addiction, and Eminem is particularly moving describing his experiences. This was a fascinating, educational and entertaining film, see more details here http://www.howtomakemoneysellingdrugs.com/

We hear that during the festival Grenier turned up at super hip hotel The Drake for their party where they were actually giving haircuts and real ink tattoos to guests. You had to throw a dart at a board featuring different tattoos to find out which one you were getting, way too Rock n Roll for me!

Adrian Grenier at The Drake party for TIFF

Adrian Grenier at The Drake party for TIFF

The place to get your tickets, watch films and see the buzz of the press conference crews ushered in and out is the TIFF Bell Lightbox. It’s a great place to have lunch too at their excellent dining room Luma, great food and floor to ceiling views of King Street West.

Toronto is a great place to visit during the festival, their is a brilliant atmosphere in the city and you never know who you might just bump into around the corner or in your hotel lobby…Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Jude Law, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Snoop Dog, Emily Blunt… they were all there this year too.

More Cultural Events in Toronto to Explore

Sprockets: TIFF Kids International Film Festival Apr, www.sprockets.ca
Hot Docs Film Festival Apr-May www.hotdocs.ca
North by Northeast Music & Film Festival www.nxne.com
Pride Toronto July www.pridetoronto.com
Beaches International Jazz Festival July www.beachesjazz.com

I travelled to Toronto with Air Canada  http://www.aircanada.com/

I stayed in the very swanky http://germainmapleleafsquare.com/en/home look out for my review

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