Makers of movies, members of the press and a plethora of film fans will soon descend on the city of Toronto for 11 days of premieres, screenings and yes, plenty of parties. Dissecting the social calendar every September requires balancing acute levels of buzz, philanthropy and even geographic trends, but so far, this year's TIFF compass is pointing south.
That's a result of more affairs keeping close to festival HQ at the corner of King and John Streets. Even the Variety Studio, which for nearly a decade popped up inside Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street, has migrated downtown to the Shangri-La, where it's being presented by AT&T, itself taking over the hotel's Momofuku Noodle Bar.
The most coveted invites this year include one for a party hosted by Hugo Boss for director Craig Gillespie's I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie, who plays infamous figure skater Tonya Harding, which will be fêted early in the week at Montecito, director Ivan Reitman and Innov8 Hospitality's joint restaurant venture just steps from the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
The party for George Clooney's Suburbicon, hosted by Nespresso, will be a big one, too, now that the film's stars Matt Damon and Julianne Moore have been confirmed.
Audi Canada will host its share of postscreening must-attends, including a gathering for Deniz Gamze Erguven's Kings starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, and one for Scott Cooper's Hostiles featuring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi.
Long-time TIFF sponsor Royal Bank of Canada will for the first time host RBC House, which pops up at 11 Duncan St. for the first half of the festival as a space for the big bank to celebrate big-buzz films, among them The Upside starring Kevin Hart and Breathe starring Andrew Garfield.
A couple of notable happenings remain uptown, namely at STK at Avenue Road and Bloor. The restaurant is ready to host a handful of receptions and dinners in collaboration with retailer Nordstrom, including one for Call Me By Your Name, the latest from Italian director Luca Guadagnino, and starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet.
Later in the week, it will celebrate Lynn Shelton's Outside-In, starring Edie Falco, Jay Duplass and Ben Schwartz.
Over the years, TIFF has smoothly merged industry and philanthropy, with the Artists for Peace and Justice gala a prime event. Once held uptown, APJ is moving south this year, too, hosting its to-do in aid of sustainable development and education in Haiti at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Expected attendees include director and APJ founder Paul Haggis and actors Javier Bardem, Ben Stiller and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Later in the week, the Creative Coalition's Spotlight Initiative Awards Dinner, to be held at the busy STK, will honour supporters of the cause, including Bill Pullman, Jason Isaacs, Zachary Quinto and Jason Biggs, and on the eve of the festival's opening night, actress Priyanka Chopra will be the focus of this year's TIFF Soirée. Proceeds from this annual fundraiser head to TIFF's Share Her Journey campaign, which aims to support female voices in film and television.