My last two days in Toronto wound up jam-packed but very pleasant. Though, I didn’t quite pack for the unexpected cold weather. It felt more like Sundance wind on some days at TIFF this year, but we all managed just fine. Well, everyone except those three dead people at the Delta Chelsea.
On Sunday night, it was crazy party night. Every year, at every festival, there is that one night when the stars and invitations align to create a cluster of events. You find yourself hustling from event to event, and enjoying yourself at each one and hating to leave. But you do, and maybe you don’t even make it to all the parties you’d hoped. I know, it sounds pretentious and snotty to complain that we had too many parties to attend on Sunday night… but it’s true and attending parties at a festival, while fun, is also a lot of work. But first, a movie. The best thing I saw on Sunday afternoon, was Asger Leth’s Ghosts of Cite de Soleil, a fascinating and highly watchable documentary look at gangs in the Haitian ghetto. While the story is a little dated (it was filmed over two years ago), the characters and the access Leth found for himself, makes for a heart-stopping ride. A recent hit at Telluride, this is a doc to keep your eyes on.
Immediately following that screening, Rebecca Campbell of the Austin Film Society, and I went to the Dever Film Society party at restaurant 5th Element (which used to be known as Sage, for years). I got a chance to introduce Rebecca to the Denver gang. Unfortunately, I had to scoot out early to walk across the street to Bistro 990 for the European Film Promotion party. The organization, dedicated to publicizing various films from various nations, always has a fine crop of work at Toronto. Not surprisingly, the attendance was heavy on the U.S. film festival crowd, including Raj from Hamptons, Rachel from L.A., Bill from Cleveland, Nancy from Tribeca, and more.
Soon after the EFP party and a quick change, I met Mark Rabinowitz at the Variety party, in honor of the “10 Producers to Watch.” At this party, I got to reconnect with S&Man director JT Petty, and I also finally met Shane Danielson, the exiting director of the Edinburgh Film Festival and someone with whom I have about a dozen mutual friends. After the Variety bash, it was off to the Showtime/Smithsonian party a few blocks away. Held at a very nice and intimate space, this was a cool way to sit back and relax in between all the craziness of the night. It was actually a thrill to sit down and get some air with Nancy from Tribeca, Sky from SILVERDOCS, Jan and Diana from Films Transit, Josh from Emerging Pictures, Brian from NVR, among others.
After a few minutes, film producer Diana Williams mentioned she was wanted to leave for the Entertainment Weekly party, somewhere I was also headed to meet Jarod. Diana and I get to the club Flow, which is a total scene. And, we enter just at the same time as celeb blogger Perez Hilton. What was crazier than anything, was the fact that Perez had screaming fans calling out his name as he entered the club. Once inside, Diana and I met up with Jarod and enjoyed ourselves. I got to chat with Alejandro Monteverde, my fellow UT film school grad with the film Bella at the festival. He also introduced me to his wife, actress/model Ali Landry, who was very nice. Also got a chance to meet David Wain, a.k.a. 1/10 of “The State,” 1/3 of “STELLA,” and director of Wet Hot American Summer. It was great to touch base and chat about upcoming projects of his.
And, this brings us to the final party of the night, for A.J. Schnack’s Kurt Cobain About a Son. Held in the hotspot bar at the Drake Hotel, the soiree was tons of fun. Great DJ, great crowd, just a really enjoyable way to end the night. And, seemingly, everyone was there. Well, except for all the buyers and sellers of films, who were out negotiating deals into the wee hours of the night. But, more on that soon.