Pre-parties. Post-parties. In-between parties. Amid supply chain shortages, TIFF revellers won’t be denied
TIFF, meet the supply chain.
Supply chain, meet TIFF.
A funny thing happened on the way to the film festival in 2022: poking around the party terrain this year, I discovered that it, like so many other things, had fallen victim to the vicissitudes of the global economic crunch these days. You say JLaw and Daniel Craig. They say shortages and delays.
“Rental companies seem to have a lack of everything. From coffee tables to low-strung poof chairs!” one in-the-know party pro spilled the other day.
“I think it is making people like me opt for established companies that can pull staff and items from multiple venues,” they went on, adding, “there is even a shortage of security staff!” Ditto, I hear, enough premium cars to ferry around A-list talent on some of the more jam-packed nights.
“It is bonkers,” my source added.
The show, it goes on, nonetheless. That show being the biggest film fest in the world, and a city angling to get back to a semblance of normality on the social front. Pre-parties. Post-parties. In-between parties. Shindigs and sit-downs. It is on, as Toronto becomes a fish bowl of stars, directors, hanger-oners, gatekeepers and clout-chasers.
And the events, they range from galas such as the TIFF Tribute Awards, happening at the Fairmont Royal York on the Sunday of TIFF — expect everyone from Harry Styles to Michelle Yeoh! — to the annual Entertainment Weekly fete, slated for Harriet’s Rooftop at the 1 Hotel that same weekend (the very party that, a few years back, famously spurred a diva-tastic huddle, captured on camera, consisting of Emma Thompson, Nicole Kidman, Helen Mirren and Kristin Scott Thomas!).
Boldface! Beep beep! Many, certainly, will be lured to Storys on Duncan Street — rebranded as RBC House, as has been the tradition for several years, with dozens of names expected. Example: Lily James, who recently went from “Downton” darling to “Baywatch” babe when inhabiting the world of Pam Anderson in “Pam & Tommy.”
Likewise, an invite-only that Prime Video is hosting on Bay Street for their slate of movies, including the Lena Dunham-directed “Catherine Called Birdy.” Yo, Bezos, you comin’?
Back again at Marbl on King Street West meanwhile: a pop-up that has been rechristened this year as the Jaguar Supper Suite. The three-day takeover — congruent with pop-ups that happen at Sundance, Tribeca and Cannes — will be a press hub by day (talent coming through for interviews and photos) plus hospitality hive for a series of cocktail parties. Winter is coming (eventually). And so is Kit Harrington. Among the stars expected: Nicolas Cage, too. Snap out of it!
“This is such a unique year with so many streamers now holding the bulk of gala films so we’re thrilled to be the hospitality destination for so many of the top independents at the festival,” shared David Manning of A-list Communications, the team behind the suite.
Ready to rev once more as well at the fest: Audi, which is co-hosting a series of elegant events for a medley of buzzy films. They include “Prisoner’s Daughter,” with Brian Cox and Kate Beckinsale, as well as awards bait “The Son,” with Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern.
Word on the street — King Street, that is — has it that private club Clio is being commandeered by Apple TV Plus, which has a phalanx of top titles at the festival and has been increasingly ambitious about playing in the Hollywood sandbox, ever since walking away with the Best Picture prize at the Oscars this year with the movie “Coda.”
Hugo Boss, no stranger to the Festival, is putting on a celebration for the big aerial epic, “Devotion.” Chanel is glamming things up with something. Sony Pictures Classic has plans to host a dinner for their slate.
The Canadian Film Centre has sent out invites for something called “Homecoming” at their digs on Bayview Avenue — essentially a reimagined version of their traditional Sunday afternoon BBQ (with less tongs, presumably!).
Expect a whiff of old-school TIFF at the All-Stars Lunch, back after a bit of sleep, during the first Saturday of the fest. Nodding to the one of the OG founders of our annual orgy of film in Toronto, Bill Marshall, the event is moving to Amal on Bloor West. “A Toronto-style Polo Lounge vibe,” is how one of the co-hosts, Barry Avrich, describes the feeling of the lunch, which as usual leans toward local heavy hitters and the social locomotives that make the town go around.
Media is thy name at the Hollywood North Party being jointly co-hosted by Toronto Life and Hello! Canada magazines on the first night of the fest. Malcolm Johnston and Alison Eastwood — editors, respectively, of the two legacy publications — are kicking things off in the ballroom of the newly refreshed Park Hyatt.
Some parties are perhaps more conspicuous by their absence. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association party, for instance, which teamed for years with InStyle and most recently with the Hollywood Reporter — in the process, bringing together the biggest constellation of stars under one roof in Toronto. Because of the self-inflicted mess at the HFPA (which even brought down the Golden Globes) that one seems on ice. Insert sad emoji.
Tweet! An event being hosted by Twitter Canada — positioned as a conversation with the stars of “The Woman King” — is happening at the oh-so-aptly named Mademoiselle on King West. That is the movie with the one-and-only Viola Davis and starlet-to-watch Thuso Mbedu. Hashtag this: the annual Artists for Peace and Justice gala, in aide of Haiti, is happening in the decorous South Hill backyard of philanthropist Natasha Koifman and this year honours actor Eric McCormack.
Scattered star spottings are more than likely to happen, I think, at restaurants like Akira Back (just the other week, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in town working on a project, was seen enjoying dinner there with his son), and inside that same building that houses the Bisha Hotel, its airy rooftop environs known as Kost (Halle Berry made a stop there one TIFF).
Tried-and-true: Sotto Sotto (Oprah was once in during the fest). New and fragrant: Adrak, the haute Indian spot. Newer and hot: Miss Likklemore’s, an upscale Caribbean spot (incidentally, just steps away from the TIFF Bell Lightbox). Le Select Bistro, which just got revived, may be a spot to watch, as is the weeks-old Ace Hotel (junkets are happening here, I hear) and the sweeping new Don Alfonso (where the rigatoni comes with lakeside views).
Casa Madera, Opus, Chotto Matte, Vela, Lapinou, Prime Seafood Palace, Momofuku, Parc Ave and Giulia: some of the other spots to keep in mind. Soho House remains a bait. The St. Regis is hosting the starry Variety studio, and running something called the Cristal Champagne Jazz Lounge, so that’s that.
Finally, because parties only beget more parties at this time of year — and TIFF is but one stone causing ripples in the social pond — the fest also coincides with other events like the official launch party of the new, new W Hotel on Bloor East. Oh, and another thing dubbed a Michelin Star Revelation. That event is set to go down at Evergreen Brickworks and is, indeed, tied to the launch of the Toronto Michelin Guide. At last!
Feeling ravenous yet? The people must be fed at TIFF, after all — in more ways than one.
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