As everyone gathered on the rooftop of the TIFF Bell Lightbox to take in the view of the city, some of Toronto’s most notable young professionals—Dave Sidhu, Casie Stewart, Mario Miotti, Amanda Alvaro, Jessica Jensen, Stephen Wong, and Zane Aburaneh, to name a few—mixed and mingled over Pure Leaf cocktails.
Many opted for the Raspberry Martini (Mar-Tea-Ni) made with Pure Leaf’s Raspberry Iced Tea, but the Mojito (Mo-Tea-To) made with Pure Leaf’s Lemon flavour and the delicious Pure Leaf Breeze (made with the unsweetened version) options also fared well—see: went down far too easily.
Lunch was a three-course meal consisting of tomato bisque, pan-seared chicken piccata, and a grand finale of dark chocolate cake and Tahitian vanilla ice cream. Each course was also expertly paired with one of Pure Leaf’s Iced Teas—bringing the overall flavour experience to an even higher level.
It’s safe to say that if we could, we’d eat lunch at Malaparte every day.
As the second course was served on Wednesday, TIFF’s Midnight Madness programmer Colin Geddes took the mic to give us some valuable insight into the process of being a TIFF programmer.
Because Midnight Madness screens a new film every night over the ten days of the festival, they’re able to get away with much more in the way of antics than what you might witness at a normal screening.
A typical evening at Midnight Madness might look like this:
Shuffling into the theatre early while some party or themed music—sometimes chosen by the night’s director, other times chosen by Geddes himself—is blasted through the theatre, beach balls bouncing around the crowd as though you were at a music festival, masks being handed out (such as at this week’s TUSK screening—based on Kevin Smith’s request to take a selfie in front of an audience wearing walrus masks), an intro with the director on hand, cheering taking place all through the opening sequences before the film starts, and a long post film Q&A usually featuring the director and cast.
This type off all-in experience is, essentially, unlike any other you’ll find at a TIFF screening.
Geddes also mentioned that he screens about 500 (!) films throughout the year, and it’s no easy feat narrowing it down to 10 films—he has to cut many movies he’d love to screen, but sometimes it comes down to something as simple as—can the cast make it to the screening? This availability can make or break a film’s chances at earning one of the coveted ten spots.
On Thursday, the weather chilled down so everyone headed inside Malaparte for another spectacular lunch and Pure Leaf experience, while Thom Powers took the stage to tell us all about how his program, Documentary Film, comes to fruition each year.
Thom spends most of the year back home in New York where he also programs docs for DOC NYC Festival and Sundance’s Doc Club. And he told us that the best part of his job comes from selecting a film that goes on to do incredibly well, such as 2010’s Inside Job and 2011’s Undefeated did.
They both got their start during TIFF, and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. NBD.
He also noted that sometimes, things at TIFF come together at the very last minute, such as the fact that Martin Scorsese—who hadn’t attended TIFF since the 7th year of the festival—was at Malaparte with him the evening before to celebrate his new documentary on The New York Review of Books, The 50 Year Argument. It wasn’t mentioned in the press ahead of time that Scorsese would be attending because they didn’t think he would, which meant a one heck of a lucky audience got the surprise of a lifetime when the legendary filmmaker sat down for a Q&A with Powers after the screening.
Both speakers delivered valuable insight into the real TIFF—as in, all the things that are more important than a celebrity sighting.
And there are a lot.
As a result, everyone left Malaparte full, happy, and ready to take on TIFF like a true insider.
If you’re the kind of young professional who enjoys having a unique and exclusive experience look for more Notable events coming your way this fall.