While excitement was high, night one of the TIFF party scene served as a warm-up for bigger things to come. Dev Patel and Hugh Laurie were some of the the bigger names of the first night. Both were out at Weslodge for a preparty ahead of the premiere of their film, The Personal History of David Copperfield, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic novel, directed by Armando Iannucci. Castmates Aimee Kelly, Rosalind Eleazar and Morfydd Clark were on hand, too, for the gathering hosted by CIROC Vodka. No sign, though, of another of the film’s stars, that most elusive Tilda Swinton.
Although the aforementioned was the first cocktail-hour-timed gathering of this year’s festival, the celebrations unofficially kicked off Sept. 4 with the Birks Diamond Tribute award, now in its seventh year, which, in partnership with Telefilm Canada, honours some of Canada’s best female film talent. The swish luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel, hosted by Sarah Gadon, honoured director Micheline Lanctôt, actors Jean Yoon and Wendy Crewson, emerging directors Jasmin Mozaffari and Sophie Dupuis, and screenwriter Marie Clements, each of whom will receive an honorarium from Birks to support their next project.
Night one was a warm-up for the plethora of pop-up party spaces, which over the course of the festival play host to a bevy of pre- and post-premiere parties. On Duncan Street, RBC House threw a party in collaboration with OVO, and while Drake didn’t make it, Oliver El-Khatib, Majid Jordan, G0HomeRoger and Kid Masterpiece were among those who took the stage.
Launching last night, in its fifth year, was Mongrel House, which played host to the party for The Traitor. Elevation Studios hosted a pair of post-premiere parties in their space, the first for Jeff Barnaby’s zombie horror film Blood Quantum, one of a handful of films by Indigenous filmmakers set to premiere during TIFF 2019. The film’s stars Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, Brandon Oakes and Kiowa Gordon were out, and later, the same space hosted the post-premiere party for Albert Shin’s latest film Clifton Hill. His cast, including Tuppence Middleton, Marie-Josée Croze, Eric Johnson and Noah Reid were all in attendance.
Wrapping night one, over on Adelaide Street at Tutti Matti, was a party to celebrate Gabe Polsky’s doc Red Penguins, and nearby at Gusto 101, the party for opening-night gala film Once Were Brothers was under way, with Robbie Robertson, director Daniel Roher and producer Martin Scorsese all out. Later, back at Weslodge, director Joey Klein’s opioid crisis drama Castle in the Ground had its post-world-premiere toast, with its stars Neve Campbell and Imogen Poots both in attendance.
Looking ahead to parties for opening weekend: Chanel and Variety are set to host the Female Filmmaker Dinner, and Dame Anna Wintour is to receive the inaugural Share Her Journey Icon Award at the Four Seasons Hotel. Susan Sarandon, Dakota Johnson, Hugh Jackman, and Leonardo DiCaprio are just a few confirmed to attend parties in the coming days, the latter headed to the fest for the Sunday afternoon screening of eco-conscious doc And We Go Green, from filmmakers Malcolm Venville and Oscar-winning director Fisher Stevens. Also expected: Nicole Kidman for The Goldfinch, Allison Janney for Bad Education and Meryl Streep for The Laundromat and the first TIFF Tribute Award.