THE INVITATION: A night with Steve Nash, James Franco & co.

Story by Emily Blake.

TIFF can be a celebrity whirlwind. Heads snap in all directions and the whispers of “Isn’t that…” and “So and so looks so different in person” echo throughout the city. So when a celebrity athlete makes a film about a Canadian hero, and hosts the party at the home of a famous Canadian artist, it can become the perfect storm of star sightings.

MVP Steve Nash is the athlete in question, our very own basketball savant and my hometown boy (both of us are from Victoria, B.C. leading to one degree of separation). His documentary about Terry Fox, Into the Wind, was the reason for the ruckus, which included an army of valets, Mounties in full costume, a red carpet and many, many, lit up bottles of Vitamin Water, the party’s sponsor.

Inside there was a scene not often found during TIFF—the sports crowd. Olympic athletes like Adam van Koeverden (Canadian gold medallist in kayaking) and members of the Canadian women’s gold medal hockey team, mingled with men who, due to their height, must either have been pro b-ball players or human ladders.

We also saw film producer Jason Reitman, TV and radio host George Stroumboulopolous, and Ben Kowalwicz, the lead singer of Billy Talent. What really made the night for us though, happened while we were standing in the open air Zen Garden on the bottom floor, discussing Electric Circus (what else?) with designer Philip Sparks and NOW Magazine’s adorable Andrew Sardone. Out popped Charles Pachter, owner of the incredible home we were ogling.

Swift as lightning, he hopped onto the narrow board that crossed over the pond, and stood next to the large statue of an Asian deity guarding the courtyard. He popped a bottle of Vitamin Water into the statue’s outstretched arms and nimbly crossed back to where we stood. “There, now everything is perfect.” he said with a wink, and was gone. Now that is party hosting done right.

Below, Jason Reitman on the red carpet.

There were more parties that night, so we bundled back into a cab and vamoosed. First stop: The after-party for the film Beautiful Boy at Cheval, where we got cozy on a rooftop and got down to some far more traditional celeb-spotting.

We are pretty certain that James Franco is a vampire (how else could he be so good-looking and have so much time and energy for studying?), were impressed with how handsome Michael Sheen is in real life, and gave Rachel McAdam’s LBD a solid 8 out of 10 (needed a necklace).

And then off again, back to our favourite haunt the Soho House for another round of vodka, foosball and dancing. We saw many familiar faces from the previous night—everyone must have enjoyed themselves as much as we did—and one actor who will remain nameless showed off some hilariously dorky Carlton Banks-inspired dance moves. All in all, a banner night. Thank goodness I had a Vitamin Water in my purse for the next morning—even party MVPs feel the pain.

Read more of The Invitation here!

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