TIFF SPECIAL: How to throw an A-list party

Natasha Koifman, president of NKPR, and mastermind of some of TIFF’s hottest events. Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Planning an official TIFF red carpet party isn’t as simple as sending a mass Facebook invite—chances are if you’ve got one of those in your event inbox, it’s not the real deal. Natasha Koifman, PR maven, is the real deal.

Getting an invite to one of her TIFF events is like winning the 6/49—‚just imagine! Natasha’s agency, NKPR, is behind this year’s It Lounge, a celeb-only playground open every day during the festival, and glamorous events such as TORO magazine’s RED party and Saturday night’s swanky Artist for Peace and Justice  fundraiser.

In her Adelaide Street office (dubbed “the trenches” during TIFF),  Natasha gave last-minute directions to lighting technicians and a room full of caffeinated staff working away on Macbooks, while looking the picture of chic in knee-high Christian Louboutin boots.

Natasha sat down with The Style Notebook to talk about the behind-the-scenes of throwing a top-notch A-list soiree.

How did the TORO After Dark space come together?

“We’ve been working with TORO magazine for just over a year. Chris Brady, one of the co-founders of TORO magazine, ended up purchasing the entire New York Times Canadian photo archive with over 24,000 images, incredible images from over the past century—like Niagara Falls when it was frozen over in the 1920s, Jacqueline Onassis visiting Trudeau in the 1960s, etc.

We thought that we should really bring these images to the world, and what better time to do this than during TIFF? I thought, Why don’t we create a destination? So we created a place where celebrities can come and hang after dark—when all of their stuff is done. A lot of other film festivals don’t have this component. I remember the festival 15 years ago when we used to do that at Rosewater Supper Club, but that wasn’t really an organized thing. So now, we’re downtown by day on Adelaide at the IT Lounge and uptown by night at the PEARS on the Avenue building.”

So you’re more into creating a celebrity “space” versus just another celebrity party?

“Yes. I mean the party scene can be especially disjointed during the festival. It’s more about creating a space and a lounge and a destination as opposed to a party. I think there’s enough of those going on during the festival. We do have some of our own, certainly, but I wanted to have a destination where everyone could just hang and chill. I wanted to create a place where I would want to go to, you know, at 12 o’clock at night.”

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TIFF SPECIAL: At the RED party & Fubar II after-party

Photographer Caitlin Cronenberg, the curator of the RED exhibition, in front of a photo of her filmmaker father. Story by Emily Blake. Photography by Louie D.

Last night, I solved one of the city’s greatly lamented questions: “Where are all the men?” My first night of TIFF-trotting found me at two deeply different parties, and at each was a veritable swarm of men.

First up was the party for RED, curated by Caitlin Cronenberg and held at PEARS on the Avenue, the condo showroom at Ave and Dav, currently converted into the TORO After Dark Lounge. I suppose one shouldn’t be shocked when attending an event hosted by a men’s magazine that there would be men there. But so many! And for an art exhibit? Shocking.

The event was uptown in all conceivable ways—suits aplenty, cold cocktails, hot apps, a candy bar, and plenty of bling. Perhaps all the men were there to get a peek of D. Cronenberg, whose films are practically universally acclaimed among the testosterone set. Though the photos themselves—a glimpse into the New York Times’s Canadian photo archive, recently purchase by the owner of TORO— are really enough of a draw. Some of the images featured well known faces (Jackie O nose to nose with a horse—adorable!) and some were more esoteric, but Miss C did an excellent job of placing them throughout the space; every time I found myself in a nook there was something fascinating to look at.

Also fascinating was the contingent of TV talent—Colin Mochrie, Spenny (sans Kenny), Natalie Brown—and scenesters like Jeff Stober of the Drake, communications maven Mary Symons and designer guy Anwar Mukhayesh. It was clear this off-the-grid TIFF event was one of the evening’s best fetes.

But in the true spirit of TIFF one must never linger in one location too long.

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