TIFF 2016 may have come and gone, but one of the biggest highlights this year was on Sept. 7 — the third annual TIFF Soirée, a fundraising event with special guest of honour: Michael Fassbender.
Upon arrival, guests with VIP tickets enjoyed drinks and pop corn, and were then escorted to the cinema hall. After a welcome speech by the Director and CEO of TIFF, Piers Handling, Artistic Director Cameron Bailey introduced the guest.
Fassbender entered the stage in a perfectly-tailored Gucci tuxedo. Ladies in the audience were gushing how charming, sexy and well put together he was. Many admired his outfit, his posture and his accent.
For about an hour, Bailey had a conversation with the actor. They discussed how Fassbender has worked with director Steve McQueen on three movies: Hunger (2008), Shame (2011) and 12 Years a Slave. The latter won People’s Choice Awards at TIFF in 2013 and an Oscar for Best Picture. Fassbender said that McQueen works fast to finish a movie, unlike other Hollywood companies he has worked with. For example, 12 Years a Slave was filmed in 35 days. They filmed 27 pages of dialogues of Hunger in one morning, while in Hollywood it’s typical to shoot only two pages of script per day.
The audience was able to watch short clips from Fassbender’s films. The actor said that the role where he was the closest with his character was in Hunger. “Because I was hungry,” joked the actor.
Fassbender also shared his professional acting techniques: for example, he doesn’t like to rehearse, and most of the time his characters start with the shoes that he is wearing — this is how he gets into the role, starting from the feet.
After the formal part of the event, VIP guests were invited to the after party on the sixth floor of the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Malaparte. Fassbender was also in attendance. He circled around the room, posed for photos with sponsors and some lucky fans, and took off, leaving everyone to dance to the tunes of Kardinal Offishall, who was DJ-ing that night.
“These are not social drinks, these are dancing-shoes drinks,” encouraged the rapper DJ. He was playing groovy funk and R’n’B songs from the ‘70s all the way to 2016. Of course, no party in Toronto ends without some Drake and Justin Bieber hits. The guests danced the night away accordingly.
About TIFF Soirée
Proceeds from TIFF Soirée enable TIFF to continue its charitable year-round activities which include:
- Pocket Fund, which works to ensure that no child or youth is turned away from TIFF’s educational and cultural programming due to financial circumstance. It provides subsidies, including free access and transportation, for children and families who would otherwise be unable to participate in TIFF’s film-based learning programs. Pocket Fund Participating groups last year included Aboriginal Legal Services, Covenant House, Down Syndrome Association, For Youth Initiative, Rexdale Community Health Centre, the West Scarborough Boys & Girls Club. Thanks to the support of TIFF’s members and donors, they were able to cover costs for 4,534 children and youth to experience the joy of film through film screenings, filmmaker talks and workshops at TIFF Bell Lightbox last year.
- Special Delivery: A program that reaches out to youth in under-served communities and brings film screenings, director discussions, and workshops to community partners across Toronto, free of charge. It has served almost 15,000 in the Greater Toronto Area since it started in 2002. Last year alone, TIFF was able to bring screenings and workshops to 1,576 under-served children and youth across the GTA, working closely with community outreach partners such as Applegrove Community Complex, Red Door Family Shelter, Four Corners Health Centre, among many others. TIFF’s ongoing relationship with Outburst! and Reclaim Honour, two Muslim women’s empowerment groups in Toronto and London, Ontario, reached new heights in 2015. Using stop-motion animated films to challenge dominant media representations of Muslims and Islamophobia, the participants in these workshops were able to tell their own stories in a meaningful and impactful way at a time when strong and diverse voices are needed.
- Reel Comfort: Brings film screenings, facilitated discussions and film-craft workshops to in-patient psychiatric units at five Toronto hospitals and community organizations with a focus on mental health, also free of charge. One of Reel Comfort’s greatest strengths is its ability to cultivate meaningful connections and provide a creative outlet where there are very few therapeutic and rehabilitative activities available. In 2015, TIFF helped over 1,200 mental health clients, which supported them in their recovery and promoted positive mental health and understanding for all. Given that family and friends are permitted to attend Reel Comfort sessions, the daughters of a client helped shoot a film during a workshop, giving them a chance to share a memorable experience and actively create something with their mom. At a recent animation workshop, the Toronto General Hospital’s in-patient psychiatry unit dining room was transformed into a cinema, as the hand-drawn 16 mm films created by the participants were projected on the wall. Participants cheered and congratulated one another after each of their films was shown.
Looks on and off the Red Carpet