TIFF SPECIAL: Three big parties, one major night

The cast of Bunraku—Josh Hartnett, Kevin McKidd, Woody Harrelson, Gackt, Ron Perlman—in the Soho House on Saturday night. Photo courtesy of Grey Goose.

Story by Emily Blake.

Every year there is one evening during TIFF when the (figurative) stars align, and the perfect party night arises. Last Saturday night was it. While during the civilian party season it is unusual to be glammed up to go out before 9 p.m., TIFF requires a slightly longer window. Which is why I was dressed up and in a taxi, checking my teeth for lipstick, at 6:45. The mission? Three parties, in three places with three raisons d’être that illuminate the variety of festivals within a festival that are happening on any given night.

First up, Hello! Hollywood, as slick and glossy as the magazine hosting it. Held at the Royal Conservatory, the party had all the markings of sophisticated society. Champagne flowing? Check. Floor to ceiling windows? Check. Society swans? Double check. The party was simmering towards a boil when I made my early exit. There is no time to loiter when the night’s festivities have only just begun.

Southbound I went to the newly renovated Civello salon on Queen, home for the evening for the cast of Julia’s Eyes and hosted by Ray Civello and FILLER Magazine. As a fan of Pan’s Labryinth I was excited to spot Guillermo del Toro, the producer of the movie being feted.

At the Julia’s Eyes party: actress Belén Rueda, producer Guillermo del Toro, director Guillem Morales, AVEDA’s Ray Civello. Photo courtesy of Scott Ramsay.

Among the other guests were exactly what you would hope for the party for a Spanish film—very sexy Spanish people. The room, full of dark corners, moody light, rum cocktails and cava, gave the proceedings the sensuous quality normally reserved for the film’s home country.

Now, if the first party I attended was the glitz, this one was true to another factor of the festival; the biz. The actors where there to  celebrate their film, stand for photos, and give interviews. The producers were there for the same, plus the intricate business dealings I won’t even feign to know the workings of. On any given night of the festival film parties are the site of buying, selling, packaging and promoting, and as this is an industry, this part of the festival is truly why we are all here.

Famished and in need of a brief respite I splintered off from my travelling party posse to grab some dinner and relax. Tough beans for me as I chose a seat on a patio directly across from the Guess store on Queen where mere moments before a woman had driven right through the window. As I snacked and surveyed as the emergency services sorted through the damage and righting the slain mannequins (side note: does a broken window really require no less than nine emergency vehicles including three fire trucks on the scene?) it was a helpful reminder that while TIFF seems to take up all the air in the city for it’s brief run, real life in all its ridiculous strangeness carries on.

And so must I! Back into the night for the final chapter in my diagram of festival facets, it was the Grey Goose Soho House next and what was waiting was the most elusive festival element of all—the true star-studded bash. Down an alley and into a warehouse we went. Waiting inside? Bars pouring Grey Goose cocktails, tables of food, sumptuous couches and a dance floor full of beautiful faces.

The first I  saw on entry was Dominic Cooper, in town to support his feature Tamara Drewe. Not only was Dominic out and among all the “regular” folks, not holed in a VIP corner, but he was dancing, meeting new people, and looking completely please to be there. But as I soon learned, everyone there seemed to be completely pleased to be, well, there.

James McAvoy at the Soho House. Photo courtesy of Grey Goose.

James McAvoy, Steve Coogan,  and Aaron Paul, the recent recipient of an Emmy for his work on Breaking Bad —and, it must be said, an adorable dancer—cruised the room and imbibed with pleasure. After our exploratory lap my pals and I did what we do best: Geeked out over the foosball table and set up camp. Our station cleverly overlooked the door, a vantage point that allowed us to spot Zach Galifinakis join the party. Now this is the dream—vodka, foosball, funny men, and a DJ with all the right tunes.

Andrew Garfield, the lead in the new Spiderman movie. Photo courtesy of Grey Goose.

We could have gone elsewhere when the party cleared out—there are plenty of venues with extended licenses—but none of us wanted to ruin the golden glow of a night of near pitch-perfect partying. So home Jeeves, there is no shame in sleeping before the sun comes up. There is always tomorrow night.

Check out our review of the RED party at TORO After Dark! Want more TIFF 2010? Read Leanne Delap’s first TIFF column, and check out our picks for the fest’s hottest parties. Torontoist’s complete coverage of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival is all right here.

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