So on Thursday night, I set out with two events on my agenda. One was a dinner, the other was an afterparty. It would be my first time covering both types of events. The Roosevelt Room was hosting a dinner for “Hollywood producing mogul,” Harvey Weinstein and the cast of Sarah’s Key. According to the publicists, the dinner was in celebration of Weinstein’s purchase of the film and apparently Kristen Scott Thomas was set to attend. I felt obliged to go, seeing as she’s one of my Dad’s favourite actresses.
I arrived at nine with some friends, and was seated down at one of nine white tablecloth-covered tables in the middle of the restaurant. But while we were on the guest list, it soon became clear that we weren’t on the VIP guest list. The talent was late, as usual, but when Kristen Scott Thomas arrived she was ushered into a room in the back. I didn’t even see her. Sorry Dad. The back room was where the real action was happening but a waiter told us that no, we couldn’t go in. We were assured that the next event—a celebration of Belstaff jackets—would boost the energy level but I wasn’t so sure. There are many things that get me excited, but jackets isn’t one of them. A waiter offered another option: that we stick around to get rich men to buy us drinks. Rumour has it they come in droves as the night goes on. However, gold digging was not on the agenda this evening.
So around eleven, we headed over to the after party for Rio Sex Comedy. In the afternoon, I had emailed my friends warning them, “this may or may not be fun.” Now, this is an embarrassing admission, but until that night I hadn’t actually been to a film’s private after party yet. My strategy had been to attend the big name parties, like the InStyle Party, or the Hello! Party, or the Vitamin Water party. As a TIFF rookie, pre-screening cocktails or post-screening parties didn’t register on my radar. And what a rookie mistake that was.
This party was less of a party and more of a friendly hang out at an open bar and free food with people who happen to be actors. Charlotte Rampling stationed herself at the entrance of the restaurant casually chatting. Bill Pullman made his way through the bar, laughing and shaking hands congenially. And there were scores of other people there from all over the world, some from Brazil, some with English accents. Sure, maybe these people weren’t the likes of Matt Damon or Blake Lively, but to me, they represented a refreshing side of TIFF. A stripped-down version where the focus was on the film and the people, as opposed to the glam and the profit.
I could have gone to another party after. Internationally famous Puerto Rican musician Louie Vega was djing at AME, a restaurant down in the entertainment district in King West. But thumping bass and random people was not how I wanted to end my stint at the festival. So I went home instead, opting to remember TIFF by people coming together and enjoying their work in film.