One of the first posts on this site (way back in 2009) was about TIFF Cinematheque’s Italian Cinema showcase. I noted then that Italian films from the 50’s and 60’s were probably some of my favourite movies of all time. In part because I grew up watching them, and also because they still hold up so many years later. Well, starting this month TIFF Cinematheque will be showcasing more gems of Italian Cinema, this time focusing on films starring the incomparable Anna Magnani. If you’re not familiar with La Magnani’s body of work, this is your chance to see some of her most brilliant performances on the big screen. It’s the perfect wintertime date idea! More info after the jump!
Another TIFF has come and gone, and all I’m left with is residual fatigue and lots of amazing memories. 30 minutes in the same room as Ryan Gosling? Check. Brunch with Sigourney Weaver? Check (well, kinda). Below are my most memorable moments from #TIFF16!
1. Variety Studio
Always a highlight of my TIFF, Variety Studio is usually located in a pretty small room with a handful of famous people going in and out, where you have to act cool, even when you really want to fangirl like you’ve never fangirled before. I’ve visited Variety Studio as a guest of Moroccanoil for the last few years, and I always walk away with lots of juicy star observations. This year, I breathed the same air as Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, John Legend, Gael Garcia Bernal, Gerard Butler, Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy, Sam Claflin,
Miranda Cynthia Nixon, and the cast of The Eagle Huntress.
Despite being in the same room as Ryan Gosling for nearly 30 minutes, I didn’t actually talk to the Canadian heartthrob. But I did watch him, like a creeper that I am. Ryan was shorter than I imagined, and looked very serious the entire time he was at the lounge (unlike Emma Stone, who was animated and smiled a lot). Strangely, I didn’t see the two interact very much – Emma was mostly with her people and Ryan with his. The only time we got to see Ryan’s warmer side, was when he spotted the star of The Eagle Huntress Aisholpan in her native garb, and went over to introduce himself. After a brief chat, he offered to take photos with Aisholpan and her family. I wasn’t quite sure whether the Kazakh family actually knew who Ryan was, but they were happy to snap a few photos with the actor. At the end of his visit, Ryan took some time to sign a postcard for Airbnb and Make-A-Wish foundation, and while waiting for the elevator, he stood right in front of me for nearly 5 minutes. It took all of my strength not to be that person and ask him for a photo; I played it cool instead…but those were the longest 5 minutes of my life. File this one under #TIFFregrets.
Just like in prior years, the British actors were my faves. They just seem to have a camaraderie that the Hollywood actors don’t seem to posses. This year, I watched the cast of Their Finest, including Sam Claflin, Gemma Arterton, and Bill Nighy, work the room and charm everyone in the vicinity. Bill Nighy made eye contact with anyone around him and said “hello”, which shouldn’t seem like a big deal, but it really is, because most of the stars don’t even make eye contact with the “civilians”. Gemma looked relaxed and beautiful, as did Sam, who seemed to be in a good mood and looked very friendly. Sam played the Holt Renfrew claw machine and had to try a couple of times before finally winning. It was cute to see how competitive he got. He also came by the Moroccanoil station to learn more about the products and walked away with a goodie bag of his own.
Other lucky guests who took home some Moroccanoil included John Legend (who chose to walk 6 flights of stairs down instead of waiting for the elevator), Cynthia Nixon (who came in looking a bit stern, but seemed to liven up at the sight of Moroccanoil…seriously!), Richard Gere (who popped in for a few minutes and was gone in a flash), and Gael Garcia Bernal (who was just as cute as I remember from back in 2007 when I met him at MTV, but didn’t spare a minute to sign the Airbnb/Make-A-Wish postcard, which was disappointing).
2. Brunch at Brassaii
Stargazing is a pretty popular activity during TIFF. You can find throngs of fans camping out on King St, in front of theatres, and waiting outside of various hotels, but did you know that you can have brunch at Brassaii, where all sorts of movie stars arrive to attend the Hollywood Reporter Lounge? It’s true! My friend Al and I stopped by Brassaii to try their new brunch menu, and in just one hour, we watched Sigourney Weaver walk in and out (apparently she requested a special vegetarian soup), and saw Felicity Jones in a pretty striped outfit. Had we had more time to hang out, we would’ve also seen Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, Douglas Booth and Bill Nighy, Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, Pharrell and Taraji P. Henson (who was greeted with a banana cream tart, lemon meringue tart, a white chocolate/dark chocolate brownie, and a Happy Birthday song). It’s so easy – the stars literally come to you, and you don’t have to jockey for position, or stand in lines for hours – just enjoy delicious food like Oreo Pancakes and Fried Chicken and Waffles, while trying not to pass out when Ryan Gosling strolls by.
More after the jump!
After weeks of anticipation, it finally happened – TIFF Soirée with guest of honour Michael Fassbender. Fundraising for year-round initiatives like Pocket Fund, Special Delivery, and Reel Comfort, the gala kicked off with a fascinating on-stage conversation between TIFF Artistic Director, Cameron Bailey, and
the love of my life Oscar-nominated actor Michael Fassbender.
Looking dapper (and a little jet-lagged) in his blue Gucci suit, Fassbender was generous with his answers, and delved deep into the things that make him tick. One quote that seems to have gotten the most attention was the one about Michael’s performance as Magneto in X-Men. Despite the numerous reports claiming that he was embarrassed by his portrayal of Magneto, it sounded like he was only referring to the scene shown during the conversation, and as Fassbender described it was “just like some dude shouting”.
I wish I’d recorded the entire conversation, but I didn’t want to disturb my seatmates with the bright light of my phone, so here’s what I remember about the rest of the on-stage conversation.
- Liam Cunningham moved in with Michael Fassbender for a couple of weeks to prepare for the infamous 23-minute and 27-page long one-take scene in Hunger, where Fassbender has a lengthy dialogue with Liam Cunningham’s character. “We got up every morning, cooked porridge, and we started rehearsing,” says Fassbender. “We did it every day for 11 days and had people bring lunch to us. The goal was to do it ten to 15 times a day and then Steve would come in in the evening and watch us, give us some notes, next day same thing.” Obviously, Magneto and Ser Davos were great roomies, since they only had to do 4 takes during filming.
- In real life, Magneto’s superpower is power-napping. “I’m a great power napper. Having been a mutant with superhero powers, that is my real superhero power. I could do it now. I could just lie down on the stage, if it goes that way. There is the downside to it, when I get tired, I have to sleep. I can’t keep awake.”
- When talking about his physicality in acting, we learned that shoes (or lack thereof) is one of the most important parts of Fassbender’s wardrobe, as choice of footwear grounds him “from the feet up”.
- When asked about which film was the most personal to him, Hunger was his answer, “because I was hungry…to act, and quite literally”.
- In a moment of self-deprecation, Fassbender admitted that he didn’t make a great first impression on Director Steve McQueen. “I think he said I was arrogant? I guess maybe I was a little defensive. I hadn’t been working a lot, and I don’t know how I came across in the room. I thought I came across well, but that just goes to show how much I know.”
- If you were wondering about what turns him on, it seems that watching his movies for the first time with a live audience does the trick. “I get off on it a little bit. It’s nice when the sort of nerves and excitement are at maximum and you get to experience it with a very passionate audience and they’re usually very honest as well, so you get the full effect, as it were.”
- A self-described “slow-learner”, Fassbender went into a bit of a panic when he received the “mountainous” script for Steve Jobs. “In rehearsals I was trying to find a way to get out of the job,” he said. “I remember telling my driver, ‘If I put my arm in the door, you should slam it. It should cause a break and it should get me out of this gig.'” Luckily, Michael kept his limbs clear of car doors, and ended up with an Oscar nomination as a result. Not bad for a slow-learner!
- After being asked about working with Director Quentin Tarantino, Fassbender revealed that when he was 18, he directed and starred as Mr. Pink in a stage version of Reservoir Dogs. As such, being directed by Tarantino in Inglorious Basterds was “pretty special”.
After the interview, we headed upstairs to Malaparte for the cocktail party, where to my surprise, Fassbender was making the rounds, chatting with people and taking photos. I felt a little bad about stalking him around the room, but not bad enough to stop – I was too excited.
Michael looked great in person, with warm eyes and smile, and had a welcoming energy about him. He laughed often and when it was finally my turn to have a brief conversation with the man of the hour, I am embarrassed to say that I froze up a bit, and could only mumble something about my love of his acting and my appreciation of his performance in Fish Tank. Looking back, I wish I’d asked one of the many questions that were swirling in my head, but hopefully next time. After our brief chat, my friend Anita and I were lucky enough to actually get a photo with Fassy thanks to Nick from Best of Toronto. Giddy like schoolgirls, we let his handler lead him away to the next group of admirers, while we stood around, unable to believe our luck.
And while TIFF has only just begun, without a doubt in my mind, the TIFF Soirée was the best part of the festival for me – even if it happened before the official Day 1. Stay tuned for more TIFF coverage as the festival continues.
More photos after the jump!
TIFF time is the best time to be in Toronto, and what better way to kick off the festival than at TIFF Soirée on September 7th with actor extraordinaire Michael Fassbender as the guest of honour?! In case you’re not familiar with what TIFF Soirée is all about, I asked maxine bailey, the Vice-President of Advancement for TIFF, to share her thoughts on what to wear to this gala and why TIFF Soirée is a not-to-be-missed event this September.
Q: What is your inspiration for this year’s TIFF Soirée Outfit?
A: Comfortable Glamour. Is that a thing? If it is, I’m going for it. TIFF Soirée is ALL about dressing up, but making sure my feet comfortably make it through the following 11 days. Lashes, big hair, sparkles and glitter, AND, comfy shoes. After all, this is the launch of our 41st Toronto International Film Festival and a fundraising gala to support our year-round outreach activities the other 354 days.
Q: Does the choice of a special guest influence your style decisions for the event?
A: I believe, most of the men and women in attendance, will be dressing for our fabulous guest of honour, Mr. Michael Fassbender. I mean, who wouldn’t. Mr. Fassbender makes you want to up the ante!
Q: What makes TIFF Soirée one of the best galas of the festival?
A: It’s a fantastic kick-off to the Festival, it gives you a sense of all that is to come for the next 11 days! And, much more importantly, funds raised from this event enable TIFF to reach out to youth in under-served communities and provide access to high-quality opportunities to learn about and engage with film, bringing film screenings, director discussions and workshops to community partners across the city FREE of charge through our outreach programmes. Our core outreach programs (Pocket Fund, Special Delivery, Reel Comfort) emphasize access, inclusion and diversity.
Q: Is it important for you to incorporate Canadian-designed clothes into your TIFF Soirée look?
A: Absolutely. For the 7th year in a row, I’m working closely with my lovely co-designer, Susan Dicks, who makes the bulk of my Festival clothing. It’s important for me to feel and look good as we race through those 11 action-packed days so leading up to the Festival, I scour fabric stores and land on the doorstep of Susan’s studio with ideas, Pinterest pics, and tons of ambition.
And there you have it, if you love Michael Fassbender, would like to contribute to future TIFF initiatives, and can’t wait to dress up to celebrate the 41st Toronto International Film Festival, then you should definitely attend the TIFF Soirée on September 7th. The evening will start with an exclusive onstage conversation at TIFF Bell Lightbox, followed by a rooftop cocktail party…and of course, Michael Fassbender will be there too. Tickets are still available and can be purchased HERE. See you there?
More photos from past TIFF Soirées after the jump!
1. Variety Studio at Holt Renfrew with Moroccanoil
Once again, I was able to be a fly on the wall at the annual Variety Studio at Holt Renfrew on Bloor St, watching celebs in their natural habitat, as they sat on couches sipping Belmonte Raw juice, played pattycakes, and hung out with their publicists. This year was quite eventful and I wrote an entire post about it on Yorkdale.com, so if you’re into Kristen Stewart, Nicholas Hoult, Bryan Cranston, Idris Elba, Sandra Bullock, and more – you definitely want to check it out! Who asked for an extra Moroccanoil goodie bag for his wife? Who refused to make eye contact? Who was the loudest interviewee? Read all about it here!
2. Essentials Lounge
Each year the Essentials Lounge by EGPR is a much-needed haven, helping journalists and bloggers prep for extra-long TIFF days and nights by pampering us with the essentials (get it?) necessary to get through 2 weeks of parties, interviews, red carpets, and more, in style and in good health. As always, this lounge focused on handing out swag to the media, not the celebs…and this year I felt especially spoiled! Mainly, because…Krispy Kreme doughnuts! I don’t know about you, but I am OBSESSED with them. I know I shouldn’t have them all the time, but when life hands you a box of 6 glazed doughnuts, you take them and you eat them immediately. After my doughnut break, other notable stops at Essentials included Dior Beauty makeup touch-ups, cutest Saucony Original shoes for those long days on your feet, personalized bottles of Thierry Mugler Angel perfume from Clarins Canada, comfy Canadian-designed Knix Wear underwear, natural beauty goodies from Kosmea Australia, and did I mention the doughnuts?! Needless to say, I emerged from this lounge, loaded up like a mule, with complimentary Vitaminwater Zero in tow and doughnut glaze on my lips. Thanks, EGPR! I blame you for those extra 10 pounds of Krispy Kreme doughnuts I am going to eat this month.
3. Sky Afterparty with CHANEL
When CHANEL invited me to attend the TIFF afterparty for Diane Kruger’s latest movie Sky, I was ecstatic. As you all know, Diane is a huge style inspiration and I couldn’t believe I would get to “party” with her at Soho House in Toronto. So the night I flew back to the city from NYFW, I rushed home to change, then rushed back to the event in my best Diane-approved outfit, only to find myself staring at the back of Diane Kruger’s beautiful head for most of the night, too shy to approach her, making my dream of photoboothing with her (or even having a small chat) go up in smoke. Such is the life of a peasant civilian. Kruger, who was, of course, wearing an exquisite CHANEL Haute Couture frock, was hanging out with her co-stars, director, and friends in the corner of the patio, while the rest of us tried to mingle nearby as inconspicuously as possible. I have to say I was a bit sad that we didn’t become BFFs at this party…after all we have so much in common – we both love cats, CHANEL, and Joshua Jackson…but alas, this time, a meet-cute was not in the stars. Perhaps another time.
More after the jump!
It’s official…2014 is out, 2015 is in! But before we move on to all things new and exciting, I wanted to do a little revisiting, in part to look back on the wonderful year that 2014 was, and in part to have this post for posterity, and in case I ever need a reminder of some awesome things I did last year. If you hate those “me, me, me” posts, then this one may not be for you. Sorry (not really).
2014 started out pretty well for me, unlike 2013 (credit card fraud galore!), I kicked off the year with a brand new video segment I created in partnership with Yorkdale and Max Kopanygin, called Styled By Nelia. Since January, we shot 9 segments, with 9 amazing retailers, and plan to shoot lots more in 2015. Since I truly hate to be on video, this was a huge challenge for me, but I got more and more comfortable with every episode we shot…and hope to get a little better with each video going forward.
In February, I had the pleasure of participating in a photoshoot for eLUXE’s Spring 2014 lookbook, featuring Canadian bloggers. And as I will find out later, this will not be the last collab with eLUXE that I would shoot in 2014.
At the beginning of 2014, I also go to test out the Olay Regenerist Luminous skincare line, with beautiful results. Freckles, be gone!
More after the jump!
Another TIFF came and went, and while I was only here to catch the first few days of the festival, this year’s celeb sightings were pretty memorable to say the least. Below are my top 5 TIFF experiences this year. Grab some snacks, it’s going to be a long one.
1. Variety Studio Presented By Moroccanoil At Holt Renfrew
Last year, Variety Studio was definitely a highlight, but this year…oh, this year was juicy! After enjoying my amazing Moroccanoil hand/arm massage just like the one celebs were getting (hey, Jemy!), I settled down on the couch to
people celeb-watch, and let me tell you, being a fly on the wall at one of these things can be very insightful. While there was no Fassbender action this year, I did find myself in the eye of the Cumberbatch-Redmayne-Worthington-Goode-Knightley-Jones-Leech tornado…the Brits taking over the room in a loud, accented storm of hugs, compliments, and camaraderie. You could just tell that all those actors are truly fond of each other, and are definitely not “over it” all just yet.
For all the Cumberbatch fans out there, your beloved did seem to be genuinely nice and funny. Upon arrival, he checked out the Moroccanoil station, trying a bit of cream on his hands, before joining the rest of his group for a lively chat. Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch were hugging right above me as I shrinked back into the leather couch, trying not to trip anyone with my feet and knees. That’s when I overheard Redmayne exclaiming post-hug “You smell…delicious!” to Cumberbatch. Must’ve been the Moroccanoil. Redmayne’s fiance Hannah Bagshaw was in the room too, looking lovely and normal, sharing a hug with Cumberbatch, not stuck to Eddie’s side, navigating the room on her own. But back to Cumberbatch…at one point, when the cameras were rolling for a Sam Worthington interview, and a Variety staffer yelled out: “WE ARE ROLLING! QUIET, PLEASE!”, Benedict cheekily and loudly quipped: “Rolling with Sam Worthington? Let’s talk louder then!”, before peeking behind the interview curtain to wink at Worthington.
Out of all the hot Brits in the room, Keira Knightley was actually the one I wanted to get close to (not in a creepy way, I promise!). She’s one of my favourite young actresses, and I was most definitely starstruck. I tried to summon the courage to ask her for a photo, but she was never alone – either chumming it up with her co-stars, or chatting with her hair and makeup people. She wore a beautiful Chanel dress, and I tried to inconspicuously sneak a few shots for my Instagram. She smiled a lot, laughed a lot, shared that she was tired, but definitely didn’t look it. She looked happy, thin, but not frail, healthy, and so very beautiful. Can you tell I have a bit of a crush?
Other notable moments at the Variety Studio included: grabbing a photo with the delightful Bill Nighy, who was walking around with an apple in his hand, never having the moment to himself to actually take a bite, and who made eye contact with everyone in the room, instead of ducking his head and avoiding the normals; watching Richard Gere chatting up the hot tequila girls; realizing that the woman on the couch next to me is Elizabeth Banks, who changed out of her white pumps and into some Birkenstocks for comfort; observing the insanely handsome Matthew Goode and super-stylish Jena Malone light up the room with their larger than life personalities (on two different days) – definitely not wallflower types; sitting on the couch next to Downton Abbey’s Branson’s publicist, before
Branson Allen Leech himself leaned over me to talk to her; sharing a serendipitous moment with Mark Ruffalo outside the Variety Studio’s bathroom – if life was a movie, that would’ve been our meet-cute.
More after the jump!
Can’t believe another TIFF has come to an end…12 Years a Slave won People’s Choice award, I saw Michael Fassbender at the premiere, admired the Khaleesi’s natural beauty, watched Abigail Breslin get a hand massage, and attended a few fun TIFF Suites. It was a whirlwind several days, but as always – it was a blast! This year, more than a few high-profile stars made their way to Toronto, and while most actresses chose low-key looks (no super fancy Venice-style gowns for us!), there were still more than a few notable outfits that turned heads at TIFF.
Some of my faves included the inimitable Emma Thompson in a mod pink frock, Julia Roberts in a lacy red Dolce & Gabbana, Keira Knightley in a beautiful Mary Katrantzou dress, and Alicia Vikander in a floral Erdem gown (Canadian points to Alicia!). But there were definitely lots more to admire! Here’s hoping next year we’ll see even more glam celeb looks in Toronto.
Which of the below 15 TIFF looks did you like best? Share your favourites in the comments.
More after the jump!
Toronto International Film Festival is a tricky time for those who cover the festivities. On the one hand it’s incredibly thrilling to have so many talented people descend upon our hometown, but on the other…running around from film to film, from one interview to another, having to submit articles, and then having the energy to attend late-night parties is not for the faint of heart. But then again…some people would kill for the opportunity to experience it all. So instead of complaining, both media and industry types buck up and survive it all. What definitely helps year after year are the amazing TIFF Gifting Lounges, which offer both celebs and industry insiders a chance to pop in for much-needed hair and make-up touch-ups, mini manis, mini massages, delectable bites and of course, freebies!
Each year, it seems like more and more lounges pop up in Toronto, so even hopping from one to another in an attempt to cover them all may seem like a gruelling task all on its own…but hey, someone’s gotta do it! Below are the highlights from the lounges I got to visit during this year’s TIFF!
Essentials Lounge is a much-needed media haven year after year. Its sole existence is to arm the press with the essentials necessary to “survive” TIFF and “recover” once the festival is over. At this year’s lounge, we were gifted with face-savers like Elizabeth Grant’s Essence of Torricelumn treatment to repair and renew tired skin, and Collagen Re-Inforce Rejuvenating Gel Eye Pads to practically erase any evidence of sleepless nights and fatigue. Both worked their magic on my skin all week long! Magic, I’m telling you.
Our amazing Essentials gift bags also contained hair products from Aveda (smells so good!), makeup from Hard Candy Cosmetics (fun colours to play with), Calvin Klein underwear, Centrum Vitamins (TIFF flu is a thing, people!), Ethical Bean Coffee (for that extra boost of energy), Nike+ Fuelband (to count how many calories one can burn running from one premiere to another), HP Slate 7 tablet (because it’s much easier to carry than a laptop, and just as useful for blogging on the go), and lots more. Needless to say, with thoughtful gift bag contents that are actually helpful during TIFF, Essentials Lounge was a lifesaver for many bloggers and media types covering the festival this year.
2. Variety Studio
While Variety Studio, hosted by Holt Renfrew and sponsored by brands like MoroccanOil and British Airways isn’t a gifting lounge per se, it was definitely a place to be during the festival. Where else could you watch Susan Sarandon get an intense MoroccanOil hand massage (smells and feels amazing) while holding her dog Penny in her lap, Michael Fassbender (whom I actually missed AGAIN!) getting his flirt on, Jude Law eating brownies on the couch, Matthew McConaughey storming into the room and greeting everyone in his thick Texan drawl, Abigail Breslin talking about her “guy” and looking all grown up while also enjoying a MoroccanOil treatment…I mean, the room was swimming with celebs for days, and I was super lucky to have been able to get a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes. Plus, Jared Leto smiled at me and I chatted with Demian Bichir, so there’s that.
More after the jump!
TIFF is here, and Toronto feels like a beehive – buzzing with crowds that keep spilling out onto the streets to get a better look at their fave movie stars. Well, today, I was one of those people. As I was walking by Princess of Wales theatre, I heard people scream Brad Pitt’s name, and decided to cut in and see if I could get a glimpse of Michael Fassbender…and what do you know?! He showed up, got pretty close to where I was standing (my Canon camera at the ready), and while we didn’t have an eye-locking moment like I did last year with Ryan Gosling, I did manage to get a couple of good shots of the Irish dreamboat. Not too bad for day 2 of TIFF, not bad at all!
So what about you? Have you had any close encounters this year? Share your fave TIFF celeb moments in the comments.
More FASSBENDER after the jump!