It’s not often that you can catch some of the best filmmakers in the world in Toronto, but earlier this fall we attended two exclusive events as part of the Toronto International Film Festival 2023 that featured Pedro Almodóvar and Sylvester Stallone.
These renowned individuals were both in the city to screen their latest films. Almodóvar’s short film was already available to the public via select theatres, while Stallone’s documentary had its World Premiere at TIFF and is only publicly released in Canada today via Netflix.
Both events were exclusive and limited to several hundred attendees only. They were organized in the In Conversation With format. As in past years, this meant that each star first attended a closed-to-the-public Red Carpet, and then sat down for a one-on-one conversation with TIFF’s CEO Cameron Bailey.
Both filmmakers posed exclusively for FAJO.
In Conversation With: Pedro Almodóvar
Almodóvar has really limited his appearances lately and wore sunglasses during his Red Carpet appearance. He had a long conversation with Bailey and then answered a variety of questions from the audience, in both English and Spanish. Some of the topics he talked about included his spectacular career, the challenges of making films in Spain due to various political tensions over the years, his cinematography and casting choices, and his close working relationship with many renowned actors, including Antonio Banderas who got his first big break in an Almodóvar film.
In addition, the filmmaker screened his latest short film, called Strange Way of Life. Presented by Saint Laurent Productions, all of the costumes were by Anthony Vaccarello. Saint Laurent is now the first luxury brand to count the full-fledged production of films among its activities.
The film stars Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal. It was produced by Almodóvar’s renowned production company El Deseo, and is both stylish and provocative. Almodóvar’s brother Agustín, who often collaborates with him, was also in attendance and sat in one of the front rows at the event.
In Conversation With: Sylvester Stallone
The event with Stallone was in a similar format. The renowned actor talked extensively about his past films (due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, he was selective with what was discussed), but he also explained how all of his career has led to this point: him launching a new documentary about his life. The film, called Sly, is available on Netflix Canada as of today.
During his conversation with Bailey, Stallone also discussed how his career started, why he took on certain projects along the way, what drew him to specific stories and characters, and how filmmaking has changed over his five decades in the industry. He also said that he truly enjoys filming in Canada and has a strong fascination with Canada’s nature.
Strange Way of Life is available in select theaters.
Sly is now available on Netflix Canada.
With files from R. Stephenson Price.