That’s a Wrap: The Best of TIFF 2013

From the star-studded parties and the generous gifting suites, to the fabulous fashion and films, TIFF 2013 is officially wrapped for the year. In a nutshell, here is our snapshot of the best of TIFF 2013.   

The Parties
From sipping cocktails alongside Kristen Wiig, James Franco, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Poehler and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, to chatting with some of Canada’s top entertainment talent on the red carpet (see what they had to say here) and networking with some of Hollywood’s business elite, we went hard on the social scene this TIFF. Check out where we partied, what we heard, who we saw and what we snapped (where cameras were permitted, of course) with our full party report here.

Our Notable Party Picks:

Best Party Food: C Lounge
Best Party Cocktails: Grey Goose Le Fizz cocktails at Soho House
Best Dressed Crowd: Toronto Life’s Most Stylish event at Shangri-La Hotel
Hardest Venue to Access: Bungalow 8 at the Thompson Rooftop; you seriously have a better chance at getting into the White House.
Best Party Perk: The Marc Anthony hair team inside C Lounge
Most Relaxed Vibe: Festival Music House

The Lounges
For media and talent alike, TIFF also means no shortage of perks and swag. Although we didn’t have time to check them all out, we managed to hit up a few…

The EGPR Essentials Lounge
At the start of the festival, we let you in on how the media prepare for TIFF 2013. In addition to tried and true tricks of the trade (for example, a low-key Labour Day weekend and pre-planned outfits), we told you about EGPR’s Essentials Lounge. Held in a penthouse suite in the Templar Hotel, it’s the one lounge that’s dedicated solely to media, and includes an experiential lounge to give us a little star treatment ourselves in advance of the ensuing TIFF madness. This meant eyelash extensions from Winks Eyelash Boutique, makeup application from the very fun and bubblegum Hard Candy Cosmetics, stress-relieving hand massages and hair styling by the beloved Aveda, pedicures by MICRO Pedi, a skin consultation and product sample with Elizabeth Grant Skin Care and a bra fitting from Calvin Klein Underwear (plus a bra!). We left with a swag bag full of goodies that included products from all above brands and favourites like a Nike Fuel Band, super comfy Sorel slippers and a HP Slate7 Tablet.

The IT Lounge
From September 5th-10th, the NKPR office was the home of the IT Lounge for media and celebrities visiting for TIFF, where perks included portraits exclusively from Caitlin Cronenberg. The lounge made a donation to Artists for Peace and Justice for each celebrity portrait by the buzzed about up-and-coming photographer. Additional highlights included ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery, which we piled high with all the fixings, Avon makeup touchups (it’s so not your grandma’s brand anymore) and a Tweezerman brow bar. Swag bags featured things like Barila pasta, Colgate toothbrush and paste, David’s Tea, Avon makeup products, Tweezerman tweezers and Aqua hydrate water, just to name a few.

The lounge’s visitors included: Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Rupert Friend, Paul Haggis, Elizabeth Olsen, Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes, Taylor Kitsch, Felicity Jones, Michael C. Hall, Colin Firth, Wes Bentley, George Stromboulopoulousn the MTV VJ crew and Jesse Labelle.

The Tastemakers Lounge
This year, rock-it promotions’ popular Tastemakers Lounge was again held at the InterContinental Toronto Centre. Life-simplifying products to sample and take home included the delicious-smelling “Be Delectable” hand cream from Cake Beauty, O.N.E. Coconut Water, Seventh Generation eco-friendly household products, books from Penguin CanadaDentyne gum, a Bobble water bottle, the caffeine-infused AWAKE chocolate bars, a Jessica Jensen and VISA Tastemakers limited edition tote bag, Pluck tea and popchips (a special new flavour is Katy Perry’s “katy’s kettle corn”), plus more. 

Talent to stroll through the Tastemakers Lounge this TIFF included: Daniel Radcliffe, Wes Bentley, Anton Yelchin, Zoe KazanDemián BichirCiarán HindsDon McKellarJennifer Beals, Nazneen Contractor, Charlene Amoia, Katie BolandSianoa Smit-McPhee, Jennifer PodemskiColin Mochrie, Hilary Farr, Georgina ReillyFefe Dobson, reality stars from The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad, including Michael Stagliano, Ed SwiderskiKiptyn LockeArie Luyendyk Jr., The Proclaimers, and many more. 

The Fashion
On the first day of the fest (Thursday, September 5th), we joined Toronto’s fashionable set at the Shangri-La to kick off the evening with Toronto Life’s Most Stylish event. A theme of bold, statement-making fashion offered insight on what to wear during the TIFF party circuit; check out the trends here. We ourselves turned to uptown boutique Poor Little Rich Girl for our TIFF needs, as did City TV’s Melanie Ng, who rocked Poor Little Rich Girl finds in everything from press junkets to red carpet interviews this TIFF. Canadian “it” actress Meghan Heffern (The F-Word), also hit PLRG upon arrival into town and left with two separate Jill Stewart pieces, one she wore for a visit to the IT Lounge and another on the carpet for the Most Eligible party (she also wowed in a Lucian Matis number for the Producers Ball). 

As for the celebrities? We loved Keira Knightley in Mary Katrantzou for the Can a Song Save Your Life? carpet; the ageless Reese Witherspoon in Jason Wu, complete with her eye-popping green pumps for the Devil’s Knot red carpet; and the always gorgeous Mila Kunis in her lacy, white Burberry Prorsum dress at the Third Person premiere. As for the boys, our top picks include Adam Levine for the Can a Song Save Your Life? red carpet, who looked sleek, suave and dapper in a crisp suit that was given a badass touch inside the party, once the jacket came off and the arm tattoos were revealed; Jake Gyllenhaal (complete with sexy stubble) in a Hugo Boss suit at the Hugo Boss afterparty for Enemy; and finally, the impossible-to-turn-away-from Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his slim black suit, skinny tie and plaid top at the Don Jon afterparty at Soho House.

The Films
Finally, though we didn’t get to see many ourselves (work duties called), we can’t forget about the films. In a discussion with our young professional filmgoers, here are some favourites:

Can A Song Save Your life?
“It was hard not to love Mark Ruffalo as the heartbroken, lost soul record producer, who was charming and hilarious – now I get why everyone loves him! Keira Knightley was gorgeous in an understated performance. Her character, Greta, was an uncompromising artist who stuck to her guns and didn’t compromise for fame. I’m sure all the artists in the crowd, like me, went ‘F-ck yeah!’ I also loved Catherine Keener with her raspy voice and sardonic humour. The theme of love (of life, art, relationships) triumphs is one of the best themes and the audience laughed out loud several times. The film also captured New York beautifully with cinematography. Adam Levine was as obnoxious as expected, so it made for perfect casting. In general, it’s a feel-good movie with a great soundtrack.” – AR, 32. 

Dom Hemingway
This film was hilarious. It sort of reminded me of Bronson. As a fellow actor, Jude Law’s range in this film is incredible, as he can instantly and seamlessly switches range from charming to crazy.” -PL, 35

“I can only describe this film as phenomenal and riveting; it was an interesting story and the film really turns your stomach. The acting was amazing by everyone, especially Hugh Grant and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film lasted for 2.5 hours, but it was that captivating that you didn’t even notice. I could have sat through another 2.5 hours.” -JM, 27

The Art of the Steal
The Art of the Steal was hilarious, and I enjoyed it more than many of the more buzzed about films. It avoids the traps of the typical ‘thief’ movie in terms of the storyline and twists in the plot. The cast is great and includes Toronto’s Dax Ravina, who is really good in it.” -JM, 27

Perhaps the best thing about TIFF is the platform it provides to showcase our city and country to the rest of the world. This means everything from our homegrown Canadian talent to Toronto’s amazing restaurants and the expertise of some of the best PR agencies that the country has to offer (a special shout out to EGPRrock-it promotions, Narrative PRThe Siren Group, NKPR and Duet Public Relations).

We are officially TIFF’d out. Until next year…