The REAL 411 on where to spot stars at TIFF
Party like George Clooney! Sabrina Maddeaux has the REAL inside dope on where the most exclusive, secretive TIFF parties will be. You might even be able to hoist a few with Julianne Moore and Matt Damon. WENN
SABRINA MADDEAUX/ 24 HOURS
The Toronto International Film Festival kicks off this week, and with it comes some of the most intense FOMO (fear of missing out) you'll feel all year long. TIFF has a unique way of turning sensible, level-headed people into party-crashing, envy-driven monsters willing to do almost anything to get a glimpse of life behind the velvet ropes and towering bouncers. To get the good ol' mix of fear, regret, jealousy and bitter dismay started early, here's the scoop on this year's most fabulous and star-studded parties that you're probably not invited to (but can hang around outside if you're determined to starspot).
There are A-listers, and then there are stars people will risk their spotless criminal records and reputation as a generally sane person to mingle with. One of these celebs is George Clooney, who will toast the premiere of his film Suburbicon on Saturday at a popular restaurant in the Entertainment District alongside cast members Julianne Moore and Matt Damon. Since Clooney is the frontman for Nespresso, the celebration will feature cocktails crafted from their caffeinated offerings alongside his Casamigos tequila. Mixing boatloads of espresso and tequila with A-list stars is sure to be a recipe for great morning-after gossip fodder.
Not far away, RBC takes over a venue on Duncan Street that expects to see celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Kevin Hart, Jason Sudeikis and Emma Thompson (always the life of the party) celebrate films such as The Upside, Kodachrome and The Children Act. Rumour has it there will also be a private RBCxMusic Arkells concert for a few lucky invitees and a private luncheon to celebrate the one and only Roger Ebert.
TIFF is also known for its circuit of charitable events, and this year is no different with the annual Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) gala moving south to the AGO to raise funds for the charity headed by Paul Haggis that supports children in impoverished Haitian communities with programs in education, health and dignity through the arts. Boldface co-hosts include Ben Stiller, Morgan Spurlock, Javier Bardem and Cuba Gooding Jr. who will no doubt encourage wealthy attendees to show him the money. It is possible for the public to attend the APJ gala, but it will cost a cool $2,500 per ticket.
Mongrel House, the 7-day takeover of Campbell House Museum by local indie distributor Mongrel Media, is in its third season and has garnered a reputation for attracting some of the most determined wannabe party crashers. This year's schedule includes the bash for opening night film Borg/McEnroe (one only hopes Shia LaBeouf has one of his signature stunts in store) and appearances by Liam Neeson, Melissa Leo, Annette Benning, Armie Hammer and Sarah Polley for their respective projects.
Hugo Boss famously throws one of TIFF's most selective and fashionable celeb-filled parties and this year is no exception. They'll host the premiere party for I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney at the Lightbox-adjacent Montecito on Friday evening.
Not far away, Cactus Club steps up its TIFF game with flowing cocktails and food menu curated by Iron Chef champion Rob Feenie for the parties fêting Mom and Dad (Nicholas Cage, Selma Blair), Brawl in Cell Block 99 (Jennifer Carpenter, Vince Vaughan) and the highly-anticipated Long Time Running, which traces The Tragically Hip's legendary 2016 tour. As always, Soho House, which has been host to Leonardo DiCaprio, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and Matt Damon in recent years will host a slate of top-secret after parties sponsored by Grey Goose. If you can see over the heads of swarming paparazzi, you might just catch a glimpse of a megawatt star on their side smoking patio. Toronto's east end is determined to get in on the action this year with an all-you-can-drink champagne party hosted at Maison Moët (usually known as La Maquette) and perhaps the most stylish party of the fest hosted by Canadian design powerhouse Greta Constantine at the Broadview Hotel's newly minted rooftop. The guest of honour? None other than the iconic singer, songwriter and supermodel Grace Jones, who's in town to show her film Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami.