The Stars are Alive in TO!

Cynthia Cheng

waiting2The 35th Annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) opened in the city this past Thursday and once again, buzzing with celebrities and reporters.  As usual, many of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities are in town, including the so-called Three Amigos (George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt (actually, no word on whether Brad has arrived in the city yet), who each have films to promote. Oprah was also here this past weekend for the premiere of Precious, a film she executive produced.  Based on a novel called Push, the story centres around an illiterate, pregnant woman from Harlem.

Of course, with celebrities in town, fans are scattered around the city’s Yorkville area, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourites.  On Saturday, there was a mob scene outside of the Four Seasons Hotel.  There’ll likely be one nearly every day until the end of the festival.  It’s interesting where the fans gather.  There are several other hotels in the Yorkville area, yet most seem to gather around the Four Seasons. The Starbucks at the hotel has hired security so that they could keep within the fire code – the place was more than packed. 

The hotels aren’t the only place where you can find things which are TIFF-related, including crazy fans.  Almost everytheinformant corner of Yorkville is doing something.  There is, for example, a corn-on-the-cob stand on Bellair Street promoting Matt Damon’s upcoming movie, The Informant! Sephora is one of the festival’s sponsors and many area stores and restaurants are hosting parties.  A celebrity was at the Roots store a few days ago, only to be greeted by a mob of fans waiting with cameras.  The celebrity was safely escorted and driven away by a waiting SUV.  Though many of the festivities are no longer confined to just the Yorkville area – locations now vary, ranging north at the Canadian Film Centre to west in the Liberty Village area, Yorkville still seems to be its centre.  It’ll likely still be a hot area after the Bell Lightbox opens next year.

We are only half way through TIFF.  There are many more days, with many more parties to come.  Stay tuned.  The Toronto International Film Festival continues until Saturday, September 19, 2009.