Friday, September 7, 2012

TIFF 2012 – Day 1

The 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival got underway yesterday with a whole slew of events. The official opening night gala film was Rian Johnson's Looper starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Piper Perabo and Paul Dano.

But there were many other happenings on an unusually busy opening day. It began with a free noon-time screening of the late Chris Marker's Sans Soleil, followed by later free screenings of Roman Polanski's Tess (restored in 4K) and a restored 3-D print of Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder.

Director Jason Reitman led a live reading of the Alan Ball screenplay for Sam Mendes' Oscar-winner American Beauty. It featured Bryan Cranston (Lester), Christina Hendricks (Carolyn), Mae Whitman (Jane), Adam Driver (Ricky Fitts), Sarah Gadon (Angela), Paul Scheer (Colonel Frank Fitts), Nick Kroll (Buddy Kane), George Stromboulopolis (Jim).

Other films screening were Miguel Gomes' Tabu, Yousry Nasrallah's After the Battle, Walter Salles' On The Road, Peter Mettler's The End of Time, Anand Gandhi's Ship of Theseus, Brad Bernstein's Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story, and finally the Midnight Madness screening of Pete Travis' Dredd 3D.

The Canadian Media Production Association held a presentation for their annual CMPA Producer's Award. The winner was Daniel Iron, who wins $10,000 with his award. The other nominees had been Pierre Even and Marie-Claude Poulin, Juliette Hagopian, David Hamilton, and producer/director Michael McGowan.

Parties got underway with a Toronto Life bash at the Shangri-La Hotel, the AFCI Cocktail Party at the Royal York Fairmont Hotel, the Toronto Film Critics Association reception at Milagro, the Poverty Row Entertainment and Paramax Films Party at Malaparte, the Looper party at Soho House. The official opening night party, however, was moved from the usual Liberty Grand location to this year's Air Canada Centre. Though much more conveniently located, I wasn't entirely pleased with this choice because the indoor spaces felt more cramped while the vast outdoor space was mostly unused because people couldn't bring their drinks outside (the Liberty Grand had a huge courtyard).

Here are photos from the first day.

Ship of Theseus writer/director Anand Ghandi.
The Toronto Film Critics Association reception "Embargoed" at Milagro.

Outside the opening night party at the Air Canada Centre and the Real Sports Bar & Grill.

The gathering inside at the ACC.

Montreal producers Yanick Létourneau (Peripheria Productons) and Aisling Chin-Yee (Prospector Films) in town as participants in the Producers Lab.

Me with filmmaker John O'Leary, musician Simon Poole and filmmaker Joanna Jang.

Opening night party at The Real Sports Bar & Grill.

Pie madness.

Serving roast beef.

Sandwiches including pulled pork and peameal bacon.

"The Arena" of The Real Sports Bar & Grill.

The "French" section down the hall.

Making crêpes.

The Skyy Vodka ladies are back!

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