City Living: Best moments from TIFF 2011

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is undoubtedly one of the most exciting, hectic and energized times of year for the fourth floor. The film fest creates the type of atmosphere that we thrive on and despite the fact that we are pulling 18-hour days, we really do love it. We may say we’re stressed out and tired but the truth is, we’re catching a buzz from the entire experience and relishing every moment. Once the red carpets are rolled up and the celebs are on to their next destination, we are left with new experiences and great memories.
We have put together our most unforgettable moments from TIFF 2011. We want to hear your stories as well, so please tweet, comment and share with us.
Watching K’naan perform to a small crowd of about 350 people at Festival Music House, front and center, and hearing his yet-unreleased tracks performed live for the first time.
Image courtesy of JJ Thompson.
Bringing Sarah Silverman from the wrong red carpet at the Alliance party to the right red carpet. She was very cool and laid back, and took it all in stride. We got to chat with her for 10 minutes, and laughing with a comedian is the best experience.

Image courtesy of Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images.

Chatting with The Sheepdogs during soundcheck, then hearing them for the first time at Festival Music House. They are now a huge fourth floor favourite, and we can’t wait to see them when they come back in November. Filmmakers – USE CANADIAN MUSIC!
 Image courtesy of Ryan Emberley.

Seeing Drizzy ride up to the Breakaway premiere in a rickshaw. Way to keep it real, Drake. 


Catching a glimpse of the very chic Tilda Swinton on our way back from the Tastemakers Lounge. Girl crush solidified.

Meeting Backstreet Boy Howie D. at the Hello! Canada party. A childhood dream long in the making. He’s just as cute in real life. 
 Our friend Tracy with Howie D.

Hitting the Strombo party late-night and turning around on the patio to find Bono and K’naan standing immediately behind us. The party was immediately amped up a notch (or five).

Everyone getting ready at the office each afternoon for the night ahead was probably the most fun. Checking out everyone’s outfits, helping with styling advice, zippers and hair – definitely some serious bonding moments, which helped us get through the long hours.  

Our office was basically everyone’s closet for two weeks.

Finally, from Debra, who quite possibly worked the most hours out of us all (and saw the most action!): 

So many favourite moments this year. Between Tastemakers, the Alliance red carpet, Harry Rosen Moth Diaries party, Festival Music House, the four films I worked on – it’s hard to pick just one! I did love being at the Soho House for the Ides of March cocktail party. It was intimate, not too busy and filled with power execs and talent like George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei and more. Was one of those ‘it’s definitely TIFF’ moments. Also loved dancing my butt off to Sam Roberts at FMH. Until next year…

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Rave: Hope Rising! Benefit Concert

The evening might have started off with a bit of rain, but the Sony Centre boasted a cheerful full house for the Hope Rising! concert, in support of our amazing client, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, this past Tuesday.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation brought together a sparkling line up of A-list performers, including Alicia Keys, K’naan, Rufus Wainwright, Angélique Kidjo, Jully Black, Holly Cole and Gloria Reuben. Harry Belafonte co-hosted a VIP roundtable dinner and discussion earlier in the evening, along with Stephen Lewis.

One of our fave moments came earlier in the day, while we were waiting for a few people to arrive at a hotel to participate in a few interviews. Angélique Kidjo walked into the lobby, bursting with personality and energy. The African grandmothers arrived soon after, and upon seeing Angélique, hugs, excited greetings and an impromptu dance-off started. It was loud, warm and genuine, and was a glimpse into what was to come later that night.  

Angélique Kidjo. Credit: Alexi Hay

Some of the best performances of the night came from the same African grandmothers who flew in especially for the event, and d’bi Young and Ngozi Paul. They helped bring some of the true flavours of Africa to the event.

Emcees Gloria Reuben, Marci Ien and Jian Ghomeshi did a fabulous job at keeping all 3,200 people at the Sony Centre entertained between performances.

One of the most rousing and touching speeches of the evening came from Stephen Lewis himself. His legendary eloquence and fine balance of humour and seriousness was perfect to introduce Alicia Keys, and remind everyone why they were there and how we can all help make a difference.

 Legendary singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte at Hope Rising!.

Alicia Keys, K’naan, Angélique Kidjo, Rufus Wainwright, Gloria Reuben, Jully Black and Holly Cole all acknowledged, in their own way, the tragedy that the HIV/AIDS pandemic has brought to the people in Africa and how charities like the Stephen Lewis Foundation are helping improve the lives of thousands of people. 

Alicia Keys belts out a hit at the piano during Hope Rising!.  
We’re so happy to have been a part of this event. We love that we got to share in a thrilling evening of raising awareness for a meaningful cause like this. 

All photos courtesy of Cameron MacLennan, unless otherwise noted.