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Cinema

Stargazing at the Toronto International Film Festival

CATCH A GLIMPSE OF THE STARS AT A SWISH MOVIE GALA OR AT ONE OF THE CITY’S TRENDY DINING AND SHOPPING DESTINATIONS

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN

Hailee Steinfeld stars in The Edge of Seventeen directed and written by Kelly Fremon Craig. Photo courtesy of TIFF.

It wouldn’t be TIFF without the glitzy galas and big names walking the red carpet. Amy Adams is anticipated at the world premiere of Québécois director Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, a sci-fi flick about the panic-filled reaction to alien spacecraft landing on earth. Catch even more drama—and perhaps a glimpse of Marky-Mark—at the gala presentation for Deepwater Horizon, a disaster story about the sinking of an oil rig by the same name. In Snowden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is transformed into ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden who leaked thousands of classified documents to the press. Written and directed by Oliver Stone, the ensemble cast includes Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, and Nicholas Cage. Queen of Katwe featuring Oscar–winner Lupita Nyong’o is the uplifting story of a young Ugandan girl who follows her dreams of becoming an international chess champion. And finally, the coming-of-age story The Edge of Seventeen closes the festivities on September 18, starring Hailee Steinfeld as a high school student who becomes despondent when her older brother starts dating her best friend; Kyra Sedgwick co-stars as her clueless mom while Woody Harrelson dons the mentor role.

A Map to the Stars

This time of year, Toronto lives up to its name as Hollywood North what with the numerous opportunities for celebrity spotting. Get those cameras ready; you just never know who you’ll see when walking down the street.

The city’s luxe neighbourhood Bloor-Yorkville is a good starting point. Many stars make hotels in this area their home away from home during the festival. Do some window shopping at the likes of Tiffany & Co., Cartier, and Holt Renfrew, where famous faces have been known to spend some down time engaging in retail therapy. Or grab a table at Yorkville favourites like La Société, Kasa Moto, Café Boulud, and Dbar for a star stakeout.

Hang out around the members-only Soho House (192 Adelaide St.) for a celebrity encounter, which is known to host private parties. The Lobby Lounge at the Shangri-La Hotel (188 University Ave.) has a decadent tea service, perfect for a languid afternoon watching for actors and actresses who are staying at the establishment. Located within walking distance to the TIFF Bell Lightbox and Roy Thomson Hall, the Ritz-Carlton (181 Wellington St. W.) has hosted the likes of George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. Its Spa My Blends by Clarins and Deq Terrace & Lounge are both sure to attract A-listers looking to get themselves camera-ready before a premiere or unwind after a screening. Likewise at The Thompson Hotel (550 Wellington St. W.), which has previously been the residence of choice for Bradley Cooper and James Franco. The ultra hip Rooftop Lounge with a stunning view of the Toronto skyline is a popular party place.  —Karen Stevens

 

A Celebration of Cinema: TIFF 2016

EXPERIENCE ACCLAIMED MOVIES AND BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR FAMOUS FACES AT THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in La La Land. Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in La La Land. Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Each September, film buffs and hopeful celebrity-spotters alike flock to the city for the Toronto International Film Festival, the annual star-studded event that runs from September 8 to 18. This year’s line up has 49 special presentations and 19 gala screenings, offering a variety of films from Canada and around the world.

Opening up the festival is the world premiere of the The Magnificent Seven, with an all-star cast including Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Byung-hun Lee, Peter Sarsgaard, Vince D’Onofrio, and Jody Mullins. Director Antoine Fuqua’s modern remake sees outlaws, hired guns, bounty hunters and other ne’er-do-wells banding together to protect a small town against a greedy villain.

Celebrated Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan brings his Cannes Grand Prix-winning film It’s Only the End of the World to the festival. The story about the reunion of a dysfunctional family stars French actors like Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux and Nathalie Baye. Canadian author Carol Shields’ best-selling novel, Unless, makes its way to the silver screen starring Oscar–nominated Catherine Keener as the mother of a runaway daughter who becomes a panhandler on the streets of Toronto.

In another literary adaptation, Philip Roth’s 1997 crime drama American Pastoral is brought to life through the directorial debut of Ewan McGregor, who also stars alongside Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning. Similarly, television host and rapper Nick Cannon can be found both behind the camera and in front of it in King of the Dancehall, a musical set in Jamaica.

Other special presentations include Lion, starring Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and Dev Patel, which is based on the true story of a man who used Google Earth to locate his birth parents 25 years later. Fans of The Rolling Stones can get satisfaction by getting a backstage glimpse of the legendary English rockers in a new documentary Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America. Or, get your fill of the current POTUS before he leaves with office with Barry, a biopic about Barack Obama’s college days. Crazy, Stupid, Love co-stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are paired together once again in Damien Chazelle’s musical, La La Land about a jazz pianist and aspiring actress who fall in love.

How to get Into the Festival

Single tickets run from $25 to $49, with rush tickets from $20 to $40. A number of packages can also be purchased starting at $85; see tiff.net, call 1-888-599-8433 or visit the Steve & Rashmi Gupta Box Office at 350 King St. W. for complete options.  —Karen Stevens

6 Films To See at CIFF This Weekend

Catch the Black Carpet Gala premiere of Antiviral. Photo: Courtesy CIFF.

It’s the final weekend of the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF), and there are still so many great films to see! Here are some that you cannot miss:

Friday, September 28 Horror and mystery fans will want to catch the Black Carpet Gala premiere of Antiviral. Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, (that’s right, son of Canadian auteur David Cronenberg), Antiviral follows a young man working for a mysterious corporation that sells the viruses of celebrities to their fans. When he becomes infected with a starlet’s disease, he must solve the mystery of what killed her in order to save his own life. The film screens at 7:15 pm at the Globe Cinema.

Also at the Globe, French actress and director Julie Delpy’s new comedy, 2 Days in New York (co-starring Chris Rock) plays at 6:45 pm. (more…)

You Are Here: Old Strathcona

Image courtesy of Noel Zinger

With over 600 eclectic, independent and alternative shops and services to explore, it’s little wonder Old Strathcona is regarded as the place to experience Edmonton’s finest live theatre and music, boutique shopping, dining and nightlife. Read on for some of our top spots in this historical district and then visit www.oldstrathcona.ca for even more. (more…)

Hot Date: See International Short Films

The Poodle Trainer is one of many works at the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival

JUNE 1 TO 6 The largest festival of its kind in North America, the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival honours the best in time-constrained cinema. Catch more than 250 screenings, as well as a comedy event with both live and short films to put you in stitches. The festival’s lineup, culled from 3,900 submissions from more than 80 countries, includes American director Vance Malone‘s The Poodle Trainer, a Russian-language production that follows Irina Markova, who has devoted her life to her four-legged friends for her circus act. Various venues, $10; call 416-445-1446, ext. 815 or click here for a schedule and tickets.