TIFF 2013: Seen, Heard and Snapped at 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 and networking with some of Hollywood’s business elite, TIFF 2013 was truly one for the books. Here is where we partied, what we heard, who we saw and what we snapped (where cameras were permitted, of course) on the TIFF 2013 social scene.

Wednesday, September 4th

We kicked TIFF off on Wednesday (the day before TIFF officially started), where a lot of Canada’s homegrown talent was in town and out to play at three separate parties. First stop was The Spoke Club at the eighth annual Canadian Filmmakers Party, hosted by Ben Mulroney and ETALK. This year, the party was in association with the Canadian Screen Awards. Guests that included names like Tara Spencer-Nairn (The Listener), Katie Boland (Gerontophilia, TIFF), Emily Hampshire (All the Wrong Reasons, TIFF), Gabrielle Miller (Corner Gas), and director Atom Egoyan (Devil’s Knot, TIFF) mixed and mingled on Spoke’s beloved rooftop patio, with the setting sun as a backdrop.

Next stop was the Producers Ball, held this year at the ROM, where a slew of Canadian stars hit the red carpet and offered Notable.ca their advice on how to do a TIFF party properly. Guests included the always charming Drew and Jonathan Scott (The Property Brothers), along with many others like Meghan Heffern (The F Word, TIFF), Lauren Lee Smith (Cinemanovels, TIFF), Kris Higgins (Devil’s Knot, TIFF), Husein “Huse” Madhavji (Saving Hope), (Max Topplin (Suits), rapper Kardinal Offishall, Shannon Tweed and Sophie Simmons (Gene Simmons Family Jewels) and George Stroumboulopoulos to name a few.

Many of the same homegrown talent could later be found at the Young Filmmakers Party, held at Brant House. The party always means a reunion for those late twenty- and thirty-somethings in the film industry. This year, we saw Aaron Abrams (Hannibal), Kris Holdenreid (Lost Girl), Shannon Kook-Chun (The Conjuring), the cast of The Animal Project (TIFF), Jake Gold (music manager and former Canadian Idol judge), Aaron Ashmore (Warehouse 13) Kim Poirier (No Ordinary Hero), Meghan Heffern (The F Word, TIFF), and Rainbow Sun Francks (The Listener), among many others.

Thursday, September 5th

Thursday, Toronto’s fashionable set hit 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. Guests included the regular suspects on Toronto’s elite social scene, including famed broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi, singer-songwriter Jesse Labelle and Kardinal Offishall, along with no shortage of pretty party people.

The Thompson Rooptop was next and was basically a scaled down version of the Toronto Life Party, with many of the same faces. The crowd kept it tame over civilized cocktails and conversation – these TIFF pros know better than to go too hard on the first night.

Although we can only judge from opening night, the Nikki Beach pop-up at The Spoke Club was by far the rowdiest TIFF party yet. This meant drinks spilling, bottlenecking, flowing booze and a crowd outside that all claimed to know someone important or to be important themselves. It opened our eyes to the admirable patience of bouncers during TIFF, that’s for sure.

Friday, September 6th

Friday evening started right at 5pm with the afterparty for Hateship/Loveship starring Kristin Wiig and Guy Pearce, held at C Lounge. Initially scheduled to the red carpet, Wiig refused to take pictures and instead opted to sit in a back cabana with friends and behind what seemed like a barricade of people who (annoyingly) blocked our view. We guess it must get tiring having to be funny and “on” all the time. We didn’t get a good look at her until the end, when she strolled out with another female around 7pm looking hot and youthful, in black and white patterned shorts, a black blouse and chunky heels. Not as camera shy was Game of Thrones‘s Jason Momoa, who we had a perfect view of from across the pool as he chatted with others over cocktails. 

Come 9pm, C Lounge became the renowned pop-up concept Goodnight Gansevoort in collaboration with the Gansevoort Hotel Group. The Vegas-themed event continued until the early hours of the morning, and featured a mock casino and showgirls. Though we couldn’t stay long, the best thing about this party was the venue. It was easy to forget we were still in Toronto on C Lounge’s glammed out outdoor area – in everything from the lighting and décor to details like the pool full of purple and silver beach balls that an intern probably passed out from blowing up. 

It wasn’t just Kristen Wiig who flaked on the red carpet on Friday night. At the Courthouse, Tilda Swinton and John Hurt were no-shows for the afterparty for their film, Only Lovers Left Alive, which was hosted by Sony Pictures Classics. Tom Hiddleston made an appearance, and inside was rammed with a young-ish crowd who seemed visibly annoyed for the absent talent… yet a performance by The Sadies did lift the mood a tad.

Next stop was the Glitz and Glam party at Arcadian Court to support of one of our favourite charities, motionball for Special Olympics Canada. The lively bash featured a younger crowd than we are used to seeing on the TIFF circuit, many of whom are regular faces at young professional events, and most of whom adhered to the theme of red attire. Always in good spirits was Cabbie Richards. Perhaps the amazing 90s music inspired ample cocktail intake as we saw more than a few stumbling red-clad party people looking for cabs around 1am.  

We checked out the newly opened rooptop terrace at Soho House on Friday night, which is gorgeous and has a homey and inviting feel despite its big-name visitors. Unlike last year, Soho House remains open to its members throughout the festival, except for Monday night, when it closed for the celeb-filled Harvey Weinstein private party for August: Osage County (among party guests were Julia Roberts and Taylor Swift). Always the “it” venue for visiting celebs, those who graced the coveted venue over TIFF (either for cast dinners, parties or cocktails) include Daniel Radcliffe, Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Wes Bentley, Colin Firth, Sandra Bullock, Dakota FanningLiam HemsworthRachel McAdamsJason ReitmanStephen Moyer and Steve McQueen

Bungalow 8 at The Thompson was like Fort Knox – thank God for friends in high places. Even Tom Welling, the dude from Smallville, was initially denied access. Side note: he is refreshingly as tall and handsome in the real life as he is in the show. His people figured it out because we saw him once we were inside. You know you’re at a Hollywood party when you see zero Toronto faces; instead it was filled with Hollywood’s entertainment industry elite, everyone from CAA agents to top entertainment lawyers. We just missed Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch and Clive Owen by mere minutes.

Saturday, September 7th

Saturday evening saw us back at Soho House for the afterparty for You Are Here, which stars Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler and marks the big-screen directorial debut from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner. Neither Galifianakis nor Wilson made it to Toronto (the former’s wife went into labour), but Poehler seemed in good sprits in a roped-off area as did Laura Ramsey (who you may recall as the pretty girl from She’s the Man), as they chatted over Grey Goose cocktails and even snapped a few selfies.

We missed the party at Patria, but we kind of wish we didn’t because a dapper looking Adam Levine and a flawless Keira Knightley, along with friends like Harvey Weinstein, mixed and mingled inside the party for a good portion of the evening. Others elsewhere partied at the Hello! bash at The Ritz. Again, Bungalow 8 was the late night hot spot, with those who couldn’t get in spilling into the Thompson’s main bar. 

Sunday, September 8th

Providing a refreshing and welcomed change from the typical festival cocktail party, we hit Adelaide Hall for Festival Music House on Sunday. The Festival Music House was a two-night showcase for new Canadian music on Sept. 8th and 9th designed to expose Canadian music to those in charge of programming music for television and film. It featured performers Dragonette, Diamond Rings, The Darcys, July Talk and Maylee Todd. Among the guests were Katie Boland and Jian Ghomeshi.

A short walk found us back at C Lounge at 9pm for the afterparty for All the Wrong Reasons, starring the late Cory Monteith and Kevin Zegars. Kevin Zegars didn’t show. The hilarious thing was Adrien Brody did – but he was at the wrong party! His team quickly realized the mistake and rushed him off into a car before the photographers could capture the moment. Whoops.

At midnight we hit Bloke and 4th for the afterparty for Child of God. We were promised that James Franco would be there (because if he wasn’t, we really needed to get some sleep). Arriving around 12:30, he (thankfully!) posed for pictures on the red carpet. While inside, he stuck to a roped-off VIP area in the corner, looking visibly exhausted (yet still subtly headbanging to the music) and grateful to sit down and chill. This, however, didn’t stop him from apparently leaving the party at 3am. In fact, he was the only celeb to last longer at a party than we did.

Monday, September 9th

Monday night, we were on the blue carpet at the Roundhouse for the Entertainment One party, where Keanu Reeves and Nick Bateman were among notable faces to walk the carpet. Also going down that night (for the fortunate few who could score access) was the hot-ticket InStyle party at the Windsor Arms and, of course, the celeb-packed Weinstein party at Soho House.

Also on Monday was the exclusive pre-screening cocktail/dinner for Under the Skin with Scarlett Johansson at Hudson Kitchen. We’re told the guests socialized until they took their seats for a sit down dinner served family style.  A gracious Scarlett Johansson posed for pictures as well as mingled with the gathered group.

Another screening party for Third Person happened at Live at the Hive, where Olivia Wilde stunned in a yellow Valentino ankle-length dress and mingled with her group behind the velvet rope, which included fiancé Jason Sudeikis, looking chill in his baseball cap. Other attendees included Adrien Brody (haha), Petra Nemcova in a sparkly number, Paul Haggis and The Prince and Princess of Saudi Arabia who relaxed in the VIP area. 

The same evening, Hilary Swank, Alan Cumming, Adrien Brody, Maria Bello, and Paul Haggis were among those who joined amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost at the Carlu to support amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. 

Tuesday, September 10th

Tuesday, we decided to divide and conquer. At Soho House, the vibe was upbeat for the afterparty for Don Jon and the actors were already there when we arrived just after 9pm. Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt chatted over food and drinks at a table in the southeast corner of the room (refreshingly, it wasn’t roped off) and didn’t venture far from there all night. When we saw Gordon-Levitt put his glasses back on, we knew the best bet was to get a look at them while they left through the back door. As expected, Johansson looked stunning, but thinner than you’d imagine considering she is considered curvy among her Hollywood counterparts.

Meanwhile at C Lounge, Daniel Radcliffe and Michael C. Hall stopped for pictures on the red carpet before the after party for their film, Kill You Darlings. Main note taken: Radcliffe is seriously tiny. Though we hit the sheets post-carpet, we’re told both actors and their girlfriends mingled in and around a cabana and that Radcliffe maintained a strict no-photo policy. 

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
Hardest Venue to Get into: 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.

That’s it for now. We are officially done. Unless of course Joseph Gordon-Levitt or James Franco stay around and invite us out on the town…


Photo Credits: Anat Moshkovich + Nick Merzetti