Every September, the city of Toronto gathers to celebrate the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It is a time when both locals and visitors get a chance to view the premieres of new films, rub elbows with international celebrities and attend some of the best parties of the year.
The central King Street West is blocked off to create a pedestrian festival zone, and occasionally act as an outdoor red carpet. People from the city and abroad lined the sides of the street hoping to catch a glimpse, or if they were lucky a photo, of their favourite celebrity.
This year, many films touched upon transgender and other LGBTQ themes. In About Ray, Naomi Watts plays a mother of a teenage boy named Ray, played by Elle Fanning. Ray always knew he was a boy, and is now insisting on transitioning. Along with his mother, absentee father and lesbian grandmother, played by Susan Sarandon, Ray navigates through this important but uncertain time in his life.
In The Danish Girl, Eddie Redmayne transforms into Lili, a painter in the 1920s Copenhagen and one of the first recipients of sexual reassignment surgery. Einar and Gerda, played by Alicia Vikander, are a happily married bohemian couple. One day Gerda asks her husband to put on women’s clothes so she can finish her painting. The experience touches him so deeply that it causes him to rediscover himself and realise that he is truly a she – Lili.
In Maggie’s Plan, the title character played by Greta Gerwig, finds herself in a love triangle with an unhappy professor (Ethan Hawke) and his intellectual equal of a wife (Julianne Moore). He leaves his wife and has a child with Maggie, but several years later she finds him taking her for granted. She forms a plan to give him back to his first wife, but she learns that things don’t always go as intended.
In other films, American political campaign tactics come to South America when political consultant Jane Bodine, played by Sandra Bullock, and her professional arch nemesis, played by Billy Bob Thornton, are both hired to fix the Bolivian presidential election. Our Brand is Crisis is a fact-based story produced by George Clooney.
But films were not the only attraction at TIFF. Annual parties such as the Nikki Beach event at the Spoke Club did not disappoint, with the opening White Party being especially popular. And Soho House held its famous Grey Goose parties and exclusive premieres.
Between the red carpet premieres, events and meeting George Clooney, FAJO had an exciting week at TIFF and can’t wait to be back next year.
Here are some of our favourite quotes from the interviews we did on the Red Carpet.
Naomi Watts on how she chose her outfit that day: “I just love the colour!It’s a daytime event. It felt strong.”
Julianne Moore on if her daughter is following in her fashion footsteps: “No!” (laughs) “I mean, she is very interested in fashion, and she loves clothes. But she definitely does her own thing. Teenagers are more critical; they are like: ‘What are those pants about?'”
Elle Fanning on how dressing as a boy helped her with the role: “It helped tremendously, even with the physicality of it. I think first of we had to kind of decide what type of boy Ray was. He was a skater boy, who lives in New York, so he kind of roams the streets. He wears a lot of layers, because he wants to hide his curves. Every day, I wore a chest binder. And that affects you, even in the way you stand. So that definitely helped.”
Ethan Hawke on what he likes the most about his house in Nova Scotia: “Being with [my] family. If you are someone like me, a lot of times when you are in public, there is a certain authenticity to everything you experience. Getting to be up in the country, and looking at seals, eagles, the ocean, shells and starfish, is very fun.”