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TIFF 2018 My Highlights

It already feels like a distant memory but the Toronto International Film Festival wrapped up a few days ago. I was able to do see a few films, and attend a few events. No late-night parties because frankly, I’m too old for that! Here’s a recap of my TIFF 2018 highlights.

Bask-It-Style Gift Lounge

Bask-It-Style held its 10th TIFF gifting lounge in a gorgeous penthouse in the Thompson Hotel. Bask-It-Style takes celebrity gifting to a new level by hand delivering VIP gift bags to the hotels where the stars are staying during TIFF. Past participating celebrities have included: Matt Damon, Jennifer Garner, Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Colin Farrell, John Legend, Sir Elton John, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan, Blake Lively to name a few.

Photo Kennedy Pollard Ryan Emberley Photography
Photo Kennedy Pollard Ryan Emberley Photography
Photo Kennedy Pollard Ryan Emberley Photography
Photo Kennedy Pollard Ryan Emberley Photography

TURO displayed a stunning 1981 Delorean DMC-12 to promote its Airbnb for car rental service. Stars in town for TIFF2018 received a $500 voucher for their TURO service. Guests also received a $100 credit for Creeds Dry Cleaning, one of six jewellery styles from Anne-Marie Channon.

House of Hayla’s founder, Hayla was on site to showcase their new HOH Monochromatic Heels Monochrome Collection (retail value $140) The 4-inch heels come in a variety of single-tone colours and designed with comfort in mind.

Carried in Sephora, Biossance is a natural skincare brand containing squalene oil, which is in our skin’s own natural moisture which declines over time. It is also found in a variety of plants; Biossance contains squalene oil that is 100% plant based from renewable sugarcane. I can’t wait to try the Squalane Peptide Eye Gel, Squalane Vitamin C Rose Oil and Squalane Phyto-Retinol Serum. I can’t wait to try these products!

Photo Kennedy Pollard Ryan Emberley Photography

For book lovers, the reading room featured an appearance by author Hannah Mary McKinnon who was signing her new book, the Neighbours, published by MIRA. The story focuses on an intense domestic drama involving Abby and her husband, Nate. Twenty years earlier, Abby was responsible for a car crash that killed her brother. Nate also harbours a secret related to the car crash. When Abby’s former lover and his family move next door, things start to unravel.

DK Publishing was also on-site displaying their new and noteworthy fall titles, including Astrology by Carole Taylor. Ripley Publishing also showcased its fall titles as well as the latest best-selling Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Series.

TIFF Bask-It-Style DK Canada

Films

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is an upcoming biographical comedy-drama film directed by Marielle Heller and written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, based on Lee Israel’s memoir of the same name and starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant. There is already some Oscar buzz surrounding McCarthy’s performance.

Green Book stars Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen in this engrossing story of a working-class Italian-American bouncer who takes a job chauffeuring an African American classical pianist across the American South in the 1960s. The film won the People’s Choice Award at TIFF as a fan fave!

In Hold the Dark, retired naturalist and wolf expert Russell Core (Jeffrey Wright) journeys to the edge of civilization in northern Alaska at the pleading of Medora Slone (Riley Keough), a young mother whose son was killed by a pack of wolves. When Medora’s husband Vernon (Alexander Skarsgård) returns home from the Iraq War, the news of his child’s death ignites a violent chain of events.

TIFF 2018 Hold the Dark screening

Nespresso Talents

I attended a Nespresso Talents breakfast to celebrate the winners of the Nespresso Talents contest. Now in its third year, this unique competition empowers filmmakers to tell a story through the format of vertical video. This year’s theme “The Difference She Makes” had filmmakers create inspiring stories of women who make a difference. The winners were on hand to showcase their films, and chat in a panel discussion led by Sangita Patel, reporter for ET Canada, and Maxine Bailey, the Vice-President of Advancement for TIFF.

The winning short film was “Mina” by Sara Ben-Saud, and the runners-up were “SOS Poutine” by Meriem Dehbi Talbot and “If only you knew” by Moaz Tasabehji.

 

Nespresso Talents Breakfast Thompson Hotel Toronto

Nespresso Talents breakfast

Nespresso Talents panel

Nespresso Talents Breakfast Maria

Nespresso Talents Breakfast Maria and Loukia
With Loukia Zigoumis @MrsLouLou

TIFF Elgin Winter Garden Theatre

Until next year!

Toronto International Film Festival 2018 Must-See Films

The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival kicks off September 6, 2018, and this year there are more exciting films and celebrities attending than ever before. Melissa McCarthy, Jake Gyllenhaal, Julia Roberts, Ryan Gosling, Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård, Hugh Jackman, Hilary Swank, and Penelope Cruz are just some of the stars expected to walk the red carpet.

Here are some of the most anticipated films at TIFF 2018:

TIFF 2018 Must-See Films

A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut tells the story of a seasoned musician who discovers — and falls in love with — a struggling artist (Lady Gaga). In this new take on the tragic love story, as her career takes off, he fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.

High Life

Former Twilight crush Robert Pattinson starts in French auteur Claire Denis’ first English-language film about a father and his daughter struggle to survive in deep space where they live in isolation. The sci-fi drama set in space also stars Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth, and André Benjamin.

Beautiful Boy

Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years. The English-language debut from Felix Van Groeningen stars Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet.

The Old Man and the Gun

Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek lead an all-star cast, including Danny Glover, Tom Waits, and Elisabeth Moss, and Casey Affleck, in director David Lowery’s true-life dramedy about an unrepentant bank robber and jail-breaker determined to live life by his own rules.

Sharkwater Extinction

The last documentary made by the late Toronto-based filmmaker Rob Stewart will have its world premiere as a special event at this year’s TIFF. The film of Stewart’s adventure to save the world’s greatest predator was completed after his accidental drowning death during production.

Green Book

Award-winning actors Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen star in this engrossing story of a working-class Italian-American bouncer who takes a job chauffeuring an African American classical pianist across the American South in the 1960s.

The Frontrunner

Jason Reitman (Tully, Up in the Air) directs Hugh Jackman, Vera Fermiga, and J.K Simmons in this biopic about U.S. Senator Gary Hart’s 1988 presidential campaign and his scandalous affair that derailed it.

Widows

Four armed robbers (Liam Neeson, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Jon Bernthal, and Garret Dillahunt) are killed in a failed heist attempt, only to have their widows (Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo) step up to finish the job.

What They Had

Hilary Swank, Blythe Danner, Robert Forster, and Michael Shannon star in this intimate family drama about a woman who returns to Chicago to her mother now suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, while also grappling with her own past.

Ben is Back

Ben Is Back follows the charming yet troubled Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges), who returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve. Ben’s wary mother Holly Burns (Julia Roberts) welcomes her beloved son’s return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm’s way. During the 24 hours that may change their lives forever, Holly must do everything in her power to avoid the family’s downfall.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is an upcoming biographical comedy-drama film directed by Marielle Heller and written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, based on Lee Israel’s memoir of the same name and starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Gran

Life Itself

As a young New York couple go from college romance to marriage and the birth of their first child, the unexpected twists of their journey create reverberations that echo over continents and through lifetimes. This romantic comedy is written, directed and produced by smash TV hit This is Us’ Dan Fogelman, and features an impressive ensemble cast, including Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, Olivia Cooke, Mandy Patinkin, and Antonio Banderas.

The Hummingbird Project

A pair of high-frequency traders go up against their old boss in an effort to make millions in a fiber-optic cable deal. The thriller film by writer/director Kim Nguyen stars Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård and Salma Hayek.

Halloween

Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

Red Joan

Academy Award winner Judi Dench and Sophie Cookson take on the complex persona and legacy of Joan Stanley, the seemingly demure physicist who was also a long-serving British spy for the KGB. Red Joan is directed by theatre director Sir Trevor Nunn.

The Public

After learning that emergency shelters are at full capacity when a brutal Midwestern cold front makes its way to Cincinnati, Ohio, a large group of homeless library patrons led by Jackson (Michael Kenneth Williams) refuse to leave the downtown public library at closing time. Directed by Emilio Estevez, The Public also stars Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Christian Slater, Gabrielle Union, Taylor Schilling, Jacob Vargas.

First Man

After the Academy Award®-winning smash, La La Land, director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reunite for First Man, a biopic on the riveting story of Neil Armstrong and NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon.

ENTER TO WIN

One lucky reader will win two Premium Screening Vouchers* to the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below.

*Complimentary ticket vouchers are not tickets, and must be exchanged for a ticket at the Venue or your Festival Box Office.

Want early access to #TIFF18 tickets? Subscribe to The Weekly before Aug 30 to get a TIFF Insiders Code for Sept 2 10am. http://tiff.net/subscribe

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

What’s in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

What’s in the bag? As in gift bag. Oh yes, as if they didn’t need to be showered with gifts, stars get pampered at TIFF with celebrity gift bags.

How to feel like a celebrity during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)? Drop by the annual Bask-It-Style media event by GLO Communications.

Now in it is seventh year, Bask-It-Style gives busy stars one less thing to worry about while in town promoting their films during the festival. A twist on traditional gifting, celebs receive hand-delivered VIP gift bags right at their hotel doors during their stay.

I had the chance to attend the media event to see first-hand how celebrity gift bags are done, and what a better venue than the Private Estates above the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto. This upscale residence, influenced by European architectural design, features a dazzling view of the city from its large balcony.

What's in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

What's in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

This year’s sponsors cover it all from beauty to fashion and from food to books. There is something for every visiting celebrity in town for TIFF. In the past celebrities gifted have included Sir Elton John, Megan Fox, Matt Damon, Ellen Page, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Garner, Julianne Moore and many more.

2015 Bask-It-Style sponsors include beauty and fashion brands Lise Watier, Neutrogena, Calvin Klein, Studio1098, Warner’s, IZOD, Van Heusen, Tommy Hilfiger and more.

What's in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

What's in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

What's in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

Neutrogena showcased products which include their Naturals™ Purifying make-up removing wipes, Hydro Boost™ gel cream, Rapid Dark Circle Repair Eye and Healthy® Instant Skin Refiner. Warner representatives were on hand to provide on-site bra fittings to guests while introducing their new No Side Effects Bra and No Pinches, No Problem Panty.  Studio1098 showed off their red-carpet worthy fine jewellery, along with the sterling silver and ruby wishbone collection, they have created to benefit CANFAR.

What's in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

What's in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

What's in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

For those who fancy themselves culinary experts and beer connoisseurs, guests had a chance to learn about Canadian Pale Ale with Old Tomorrow CPA reps, as well as test the perfect brew of coffee by Doi Chaang Coffee.

What's in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

Colin Campbell (Free Days with George) and L.C Moon (A Bedtime Story), and representatives from DK Publishing were on hand to showcase their books.

What's in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

 

What's in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

Guests also received goodies from Meta Fibre Bar, Kenneth Bernard Quench Shampoo and Conditioner, Lise Watier’s new Rouge Fondant Suprême and Neiges Eau de toilette Roll-on. And for those with a little sweet tooth, guests indulged in white chocolate, 70% dark chocolate and milk chocolate bars from Green & Blacks Organic.

What's in the Bag? Stars Get Pampered at TIFF

Bask-It-Style has partnered with one charitable organization:  Starlight Children’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to giving laughter and happiness back to children going through serious illness. Through their in-hospital and out-of-hospital programs, Starlight provides the joy and faith these children and their families need to carry on with their tough journey. To help them continue on with their incredible work, join them on October 25, where they’ll be hosting Tea & Tiaras, a lavish fundraising event where guests can expect a delightful afternoon filled with savoury and sweet treats, an assortment of custom tea blends, as well as a fashion show and other live entertainment.

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