Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Toronto International Film Fest 2011 (TIFF)

 Well another busy year at TIFF, although not as bad as last year but still crazy. I managed to attend 18 red carpets and made it to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's (HFPA) "In Style" party which was so so, not nearly as good as last year. The overall schedule wasn't as good either, after Tuesday things dropped off pretty quick with some nights only having one gala worth attending often the late one forcing you to attend the early gala just to get a prime spot. The midnight madness program at Ryerson only had one premier worth attending this year which was a disappointment, although getting home early most nights was nice (I skipped it).

 TIFF continues to move events downtown away from Yorkville. They added another gala venue this year the Prince of Whales Theater (PAW) on King street getting rid of the Varisty Theater from their line up. PAW has limited fan space but at least there is a dedicated area unlike the Elgin which I tend to avoid and thankfully seemed to have fewer big name attendees this year which was good. Roy Thompson Hall (RTH) seem to be the place to be this year, I only made it to Ryerson one night and once to the new PAW venue for a matinee gala of Coppola's "Twixt". I found that regardless of the venue people are starting to show up earlier each year to grab some prime real estate on the rail. Also standing on a crate is a must even in the front row to get over the heads of the camera crews who insist on filming every possible second of autograph signing.  I mean how much footage is enough, it's not even being broadcasted on TV, used just for the local big screens around Toronto (get out of the way already!!).

The guest list (those that attended, not the list posted on the TIFF site which is often wrong) contained a lot of new faces for me along with a few repeats which allowed me to obtain better images from the old point & shoot days. Directors Coppolla and Schumacher returned this year, guys that I captured in the very first years of doing this craziness. Other repeats included Nic Cage who I saw back in 2002 but the images were such crap I never posted them. Others included Brad & Angie, Clooney, Butler, Cornish and Garner to name just a few. A stand out repeat was Viggo who laughed when I asked about his cherished HABS, he proudly flashed his fan provided Canadiens bracelet, great guy. The big names this year were Clooney, Pitt and Jolie who were all great with the fans, showing up early and spending a lot of time signing autographs etc...

One of the biggest names that was new for me and not on the TIFF list was Robert De Niro who I missed last year due to the Elgin location. Surprisingly he too was great  signing autographs which I thought would never happen. Another new face was Jason Statham who made an encore appearance at the rail to sign and spend time with the fans he may have missed first time around. More new faces than repeats this year I think. Glenn Close, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Pryce, Olivia Wilde , Philip Seymour Hoffman, Val Kilmer and Anna Kendrick were just some of the new faces of the many this year...

Oscar winners this year included: Angelina Jolie, George ClooneyGeoffrey Rush, Nicolas Cage and three time winner Francis Ford Coppola all repeats from previous years. Some new Oscar talent seen this year were: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei and two time winner Robert De Niro.

 It was a pretty good year overall, spent some time with the usual suspects (friends) that I've made over the years. Holding your space on the rail sure is easier when you know someone and can share looking after each others stuff when nature calls. Someone lost, or should I say had their camera stolen when they took their eyes off their Nikon DSLR for just a second.