Nadia Elkharadly: TIFF comes to Toronto

Nadia LogoWell DBAWISers, it’s that time of year again.  No, it’s not summer anymore, as the vicious chill in the air would indicate (please recall I’m a desert flower so any temperature below 25 degrees constitutes as a vicious chill for me).  No, it’s not Christmas, as the chill isn’t hellish as opposed to vicious.  Now is the time that the glitterati, the paparazzi and the wishtheywere-ies look forward to more than anything; the Toronto International Film Festival.  Every September, celebrities from the far reaches of the globe (though mostly from New York and Los Angeles) descend upon Toronto for a few days of worship, film promoting and party attending.  And with them come all the trappings that a world class film festival would merit; the red carpets, the flash bulbs, the media frenzy, and the fan worship that help to make TIFF what it is today.


As a Torontonian with very little interest in the cult of Hollywood, aside from which male actor has the best abs, what action movie is out currently and which female celebrity’s wardrobe is most enviable, TIFF Emer Schlossergenerally holds very little interest to me.  Usually I turn to one of my oldest galpals, Film buff Emer Schlosser to tell me what’s worth seeing and doing in the way of TIFF related festivities.  I also will touch base with another dear friend, party promoter and planner extraordinaire Aleksandra Jassem to learn what the hottest parties are and what areas to avoid during the celebrity stalking mess that Toronto seems to turn into every year around this time.  Let’s start with what this festival is all about: the films.

Every year scores of movies are premiered at TIFF.  Some premieres are huge red carpet extravaganzas, where actors, directors and other film americandreamsinchina_01-300x200creating types prance down long red carpets in their best gala wear in promotion of the most anticipated works that are debuted during the festival.  This is the opportunity for movie buffs, fans and everyone in between to share the same movie theatre as those onscreen before them during the film.  For these gala premieres film expert Emer recommends (excerpts taken from Addicted Magazine):

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: Idris Elba stars in this biopic as the incredible man who was pivotal in South Africa’s political evolution. Based on Mandela’s autobiography, the riveting story dives right into the infamous period of unrest. It’s directed by Justin Chadwick, no stranger to tackling an African freedom fighter figure, who’s helmed The First Grader which played at TIFF in 2010.

Supermensch The Legend of Shep Gordon: Mike Myers makes his directorial début in this documentary about entertainment industry legend Shep Gordon, the man behind superstars like Luther Vandross and Raquel Welch, as well as being the genius behind Celebrity Chef. Obtaining interviews from Alice Cooper, Sylvester Stallone, Emeril Lagasse, and Canadian songbird Anne Murray, I’m interested to see if Myers’s previous comic success will translate to behind the camera.

Check out her article at Addicted Magazine here for more recommendations and tips.

r100_04Midnight Madness is also a great TIFF event.  Films start at midnight and are generally of the horror persuasion, and make for some great film going experiences.  Emer’s recs for TIFF Midnight Madness include:

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?: A film crew called “The Fuck Bombers” become embroiled in a revenge-fuelled Yakuza feud in what’s described as, “a perverse and blood-soaked orgy of outrageousness from cult director Sion Sono (Suicide Club).” This one seems like one that will see the height of a Midnight Madness audience, something the will elicit lots of laughs, oohs, ahhs, and applause.

Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno will also be a big one. It’s an homage to Italian cannibal flicks, which I can’t say I’m personally the biggest fan of, but it’s sure to have a racous crowd and lots of gore-induced gasps and groans.

For more recs and raves head back over to Addicted by clicking here.

When films begin screening at midnight and don’t wrap up until 2am, it can be a challenge to get your party on after a screening.  But, tiffbelllightboxthankfully for us hard drinking and living types, the crew at TIFF and the party people they work with have always been happy to accommodate with a 4am last call at over fifty locations across Toronto.  With the arrival of the TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre on King Street West, most of the festivities and parties are moved to the south west part of Downtown, rather than the more upscale Yorkville area that has hosted TIFF soirees of recent memory.  You can check out the list of all fifty venues here, but party expert Aleks and I recommend the following:

The Everleigh

everleighRising from the ashes of former King West hotspot Century Room the Everleigh has a new look, a new vibe and a more mature crowd than its predecessor.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, TIFF could be the perfect time for you to head on over to see the changes for yourself.


Another reincarnation, EFS took over the Rockwood location on Mercer Street.  Boasting a rooftop patio, expensive cocktails and the standard glamorous King West crowd, EFS will definitely be in the thick of things when it comes to the TIFF party scene.

And of course there are always star studded events at members only club Soho HouseThe Toronto branch of the celebrated international The Shangri-la Hotelline of clubs celebrates its one year anniversary this month, as it opened for TIFF in 2012.  As mentioned, you have to be a member, or the guest of a member, or specifically invited to attend events at this venue, but it’s SLTO-Heroshot-2definitely a sight if you can get in.  And if you can’t get into the Soho House after making the trip there, head next door to The Shangri-la Hotel, a beautiful hotel with an Asian inspired them that boasts incredible service as well as a 4am last call.

The Spoke Club, another members’ only venue, will also be hosting Nikki Beach Toronto, which brings the beach club concept that was made famous in St. Tropez and Miami to Toronto.  While the Toronto edition isn’t at a beach, it is at the beautiful Spoke Club and will apparently attempt the same ambiance at TIFF that it creates at its other locations.  Like the Soho House shenanigans, I’m sure Nikki Beach Toronto will at the very least be a sight to see.

cherrycolas_logo1And last but certainly not least, if you’re looking for a place to get your drink on that doesn’t have the pretention or douchery of King Street West, head on down to DBAWIS’s favourite chic, dark and mysterious bar Cherry Cola’s.  Also boasting a 4am last call, the chill vibe at Cherry’s tends to attract some very interesting people around this time of year.  If you’re in the mood to avoid the celebrity insanity and still hang out at a cool bar with a cool crowd, Cherry’s is a great option for you.

If you’re brave, take to the streets of Toronto during TIFF for some movie watching, celeb spotting and late night drinking, and be sure to say hello if you see me out and about.

Until next time,




Nadia’s column appears every Wednesday

Contact us at:

DBAWIS ButtonNadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

addicted mag

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