Thursday, October 22, 2009

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

TIFF was very busy this year and required a lot of scrambling between the different venues. I noticed a lot of overlap between major galas some nights, where other nights were completely dead? Some movies also had premiers at two separate theaters on the same night, requiring the stars to rush to the second gala. Not sure why the schedule was so screwed up this year.

The Roy Thompson Hall venue was setup differently this year. The red carpet was moved to the west side of the building from it's previous Simcoe street location. The new location had it's benefits, you were closer to the talent when they exited their limo and the crowds could be controlled better. However the length and direction of the red carpet reduced access, especially if the stars were running late.

I managed to photograph a lot of new stars this year, there were a few repeat guests like George Clooney and Ewan McGregor who stared in "The Men Who Stare at Goats". They were excellent with the fans showing up almost an hour early and signed autographs for 45 minutes. Some of the television reporters were upset that George didn't spend a lot of time doing interviews, since he spent so much time with the crowd. And Ewan who didn't stay for the film walked off by himself without security, freaking out the organizers who called for someone to escort him back to his SUV.

Some of the highlights from this year, watching a young women at Drew Barrymore's directorial debut "Whip It" holding a sigh saying "Never been kissed by Drew". Drew made her night when she planted one bang on the lips, and none of us got a single image. Since the paparazzi had been moved to a new location that night further down the carpet, they too missed the moment. Spending time again with Viggo Mortensen provided a few laughs too. I asked him why he wasn't wearing his Montreal Canadiens button that someone gave him last year? He said "I now have pedant on a necklace". Moments later a fan supplied him with a Canadiens flag that he proudly waved , even when he pulled away in his SUV after his movie he was holding it out the window, a true fan!

Other moments included watching the Paps get off their ladders and down on their knees
to photograph Verne 'Mini Me' Troyer. I though Danny Devito was small but this guy was really tiny. A late night with the ladies from 'Bitch Slap' especially Zoe Bell who is a stunt women now making it as an actress was a lot of fun. Zoe who played Uma Thurman's double in the Kill Bill movies was very pretty in person and very friendly too, love that great New Zealand accent! If you want to see a great movie profiling Zoe watch "Double Dare" which shows her trying to make it in Hollywood after her gig on Xena runs out.

Like every year there were a few photographic surprises, shots that turned out better
than one could have planned, they stand out when you review your daily images. This image of Diablo Cody really shined for me, the lighting is perfect considering you can only use on camera flash. Here someone else provided me with nice side lighting when our flashes sync'd.

The Fest was a lot of fun, had a great time with the friends that I've made over the years, and made a few new friends with some people that shared the same section of barrier . For more images from this year's TIFF check out the Gallery on my web site

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