The most important happening of TIFF’s third day had come and gone before noon. At the foot of the TIFF Bell Lightbox on John Street, the Share Her Journey Rally was held Saturday ahead of the 12:30 p.m., premiere of This Changes Everything. Actor-director Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, was among a handful of speakers whose powerful stories and ideas kicked off day three. The rally was a call to action – #MeToo was the movement that raised awareness – but progress, it appears, has been slow, and the underlining theme of the remarks was that now is the time to work toward gender equality on both sides of the camera.
Stacy Smith, a professor at University of Southern California who works with Davis’s institute, brought with her some staggering statistics about the business at the centre of all the nearby buzz: of the top 100 films of 2017, only four leading characters were women of colour. Out of 1,100 films made over the past 11 years, just 4 per cent were led by female directors. Among the other speakers were director Nandita Das, whose film Manto had its North American premiere this week at the festival, actor Mia Kirshner, a founder of the #AfterMeToo moment, British screenwriter Amma Asante, and Cathy Schulman, the Oscar-winning producer of Crash who also serves as president of Women in Film.
Nearby at Roy Thomson Hall, the world premiere of This Changes Everything was held, for which Ms. Davis serves as both a subject and executive producer, and later in the evening, at the top of the Bisha Hotel, the documentary film, which explores systemic sexism in Hollywood, was feted by Vanity Fair and jewellery maker David Yurman. Others out at the evening soiree included actors Jackie Cruz, Patricia Clarkson and Chloë Grace Moretz.
Uptown, at The Windsor Arms Hotel, the 10th annual Artists for Peace and Justice gala, which raises funds to help serve the poorest communities in Haiti though programs in education and health-care, was taking place. Co-chaired again by PR pro Natasha Koifman and Zoomer Magazine editor Suzanne Boyd, the pair were joined by some notable co-hosts including actor Susan Sarandon, who co-chairs the organization's board of directors. The event raised north of $1.4-million for the cause.
Back downtown, Olivia Munn was among those being honoured at The Creative Coalition’s Spotlight Awards Dinner which was held at the House of Aurora. Munn spoke for over 10 minutes, and addressed recent controversy around her new film Predator, which premiered here at the festival. The actor recently expressed dissatisfaction that it took too long for Fox to address her concerns regarding scenes that featured an actor who is a registered sex offender. The scene were removed from the final cut.
Nearby, Autograph Collection Hotels gave a Garden Party at Mongrel House to celebrate Maggie Gyllenhaal’s recent appointment as an adviser for the hotel chain’s Indie Film Project. The evening featured a brilliant performance by Martha Wainwright and highlighted three screenwriters: Sarah Jane Inwards, Amanda Idoko and Chiara Towne, who were selected by Gyllenhaal to participate in a Screenwriters in Residence program.
Also happening Saturday night in various spaces around the city: Viola Davis, Patrese McClain and Elizabeth Debicki, stars of heist thriller WIDOWS, were celebrated at Momofuku with a cocktail party co-hosted by Variety and AT&T. Over at RBC House, back-to-back parties celebrated Everybody Knows, starring Oscar winner Penelope Cruz, and Farming, which stars Kate Beckinsale and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Salma Hayek was at the centre of the festivities on the Cactus Club Cafe Rooftop, during a party hosted by Audi to mark the premiere of The Hummingbird Project.
The evening came to a close at the always well-attended Hollywood Foreign Press Association/InStyle party, which this year moved to the Four Seasons Hotel. Among them out: Bel Powley, who stars in White Boy Rick, rising star Amandla Stenberg, who this week premiered The Hate U Give, actor Amanda Brugel, who was among those speaking at the rally earlier in the day, Trudy Styler, a producer of the film Skin, which premiered earlier in the day and was celebrated at The Hazelton Hotel, actor Elle Fanning, and Melissa McCarthy, who premiered Can You Forgive Me, directed by Marielle Heller.