After the gala doors have closed and luxury lounges pack it in for the day, the Toronto International Film Festival's splashiest parties take over, and a lucky few get to rub shoulders with A-list attendees. One thing that makes these shindigs so much fun is walking away from the evening with a few tales, from a spirited conversation with an Oscar winner to an impromptu Bill Murray-led congo line, and this is true even for the most seasoned of party throwers.
"Celebrities love when they feel like they are at a friends' party," says Nick Di Donato, president and CEO of Liberty Entertainment Group. Case in point: when Daniel Radcliffe and Michael C. Hall didn’t want to leave the party for Kill Your Darlings at C Lounge, Nick and his team ordered them pizza so they could stay all night. The duo later claimed the food was the best they had ever eaten.
So what, exactly, makes an event A-list worthy?
“TIFF events have always been a mix of intimate dinners and large scale activations (including Drake on an elephant once!),” says Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski, president and founder, rock-it promotions, inc. “I think the most major element that has changed is the uprising and significance of social media and the way an event is experienced. Event planners are more aware of visual opportunities, as well as constantly looking for fresh ideas for food and beverage offerings like the cereal bar at eOne last year, or the octopus chandelier at Power Ball by Bar Isabel, Selfie stations or photo ‘booths’ will continue to be a strong trend, as well.”
Parties should also stand out in some way. “Festival Music House is unique partially because we present a more informal atmosphere than a typical film event,” says Aaron Miller of Arts & Crafts. “Canada's scene is consistently in the international spotlight, which is the real reason people get excited about our party, even during one of the great film festivals.”
With that said, here's a roundup of the parties people are clamouring to attend this year during TIFF!
Grey Goose and Soho House Film Premiere Parties
When: Throughout the festival
Where: Soho House
Why: Grey Goose vodka and Soho House have co-hosted industry events and film premiere parties for several years. In 2014, they hosted parties for Oscar award-winning films like Theory of Everything with Eddie Redmayne and The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley; expect the same calibre of bashes this year.
Audi Canada 2015 Film Festival Parties
Why: This year the luxury car maker will host a variety of private events for films like Eye In The Sky, starring Helen Mirren, Colin Firth and Alan Rickman, to About Ray, staring Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon and Elle Fanning. The parties will happen at a variety of secret locations across the city and throughout the festival.
Hello! Canada House
Why: The new Hello! Canada House is rolling out the red carpet at the Storys building to play host to three premiere after-parties for films starring Ellen Page, Evan Rachel Wood, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, David Oyelowo and more.
When: Tuesday, September 8
Where: Private Residence
Why: This is a film festival party staple! This year’s Best Buddies event will take on a new format – an intimate cocktail soirée at the home of co-founder Daniel J. Greenglass. Past attendees, include Goldie Hawn, James Earl Jones, Anthony Kennedy Shriver and Burt Reynolds.
When: Friday, September 11
Where: Royal Ontario Museum
Why: Hosted by Drew and Jonathan Scott (the Property Brothers), this event celebrates film, television and digital producers with a fun evening of theatrics. Proceeds from the event’s silent auction go to supporting the Toronto International Film Festival. HELLO! is a proud sponsor!
AMBI Gala Supporting Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation
When: Wednesday, September 9
Where: Four Seasons Hotel, 60 Yorkville Ave.
Why: Thrown by Heidi Klum and James Franco, the honorary co-chairs of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, this event will see Prince Albert and Princess Charlene rub shoulders with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Martin Short will host and Diana Ross will perform.
Toronto Life's Best Dressed 2015
When: Thursday, September 10
Where: Trump Hotel, Grand Ballroom, 325 Bay St.
Why: This event launching the latest edition of the magazine’s Stylebook will see a veritable who’s who of the Toronto social scene mingle with celebrities. Past attendees, include Suzanne Rogers, Jeanne Beker, Arlene Dickinson, Jully Black, Elisha Cuthbert and Dion Phaneuf.
When: Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13
Where: Thompson Toronto Hotel, 550 Wellington St. W.
Why: On September 12 and September 13 one can expect party goers of this New-York-originating bash to sip on TIFF-inspired cocktails while partying on the Thompson’s rooftop. Chris Evans, Bill Murray, Sam Worthington, Lacey Chabert and Harvey Weinstein have attended in the past.
Artists for Peace and Justice Gala
When: Sunday, September 13
Where: Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace
Why: This is the sixth annual event benefiting the youth of Haiti and this much-beloved charity. This year Dame Helen Mirren, Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Moby, Paul Haggis and George Stroumboulopoulos are expected to attend. Past A-listers who have swung by, include Colin Firth, Olivia Wilde, Colin Farell, Kim Cattrall, Maria Bello, Jason Reitman, James Franco and Martin Sheen.
Festival Music House
When: Sunday, September 13 and Monday, September 14
Where: Adelaide Hall, 250 Adelaide St. W.
Why: Back for its sixth year at TIFF, Festival Music House boasts an exciting lineup of new and established Canadian musical talent. The invite-only concert series is an opportunity for local and visiting film and television industry members to explore Canada’s wealth of artists and music. Produced by Arts & Crafts, in conjunction with Radio Starmaker Fund, this year’s performers include Barenaked Ladies, Keys N Krates, Kid Koala and Half Moon Run.
Birks Diamond Tribute to The Year’s Women in Film
When: Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Where: Shangri-La Hotel, 180 University Ave.Why: An official TIFF party in partnership with Birks and Telefilm Canada, The third annual soiree recognizes and celebrates the incredible talent of the year’s Canadian female directors and actors. This is the first time the event is being held at the Shangri-La, where guests will be able to peek into the Birks for Bees urban beehive on the terrace of the hotel.
Sarah Kelsey is a gal in the know who regularly appears on television and writes for a variety of outlets. Check out her work at sarahkelsey.ca, on Twitter @sarahkelsey, Instagram @sakelsey and Pinterest @sakelsey.