The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a film festival that happens every year and takes over King St. West in Toronto. Many short films are screened and premiered during this week and there are also many, many celebrity appearances.
Although I didn’t get to attend any of those screenings (by the time I found out about it, the ones I wanted to see were sold out or were during my work hours – BOOHOO), I was able to walk around and experience the festival through the events and activities happening around the screenings.
For the first week of TIFF, King St. West was closed off to allow for red carpet premieres, press, sponsor booths, and other events to take over. I knew that TIFF was going to happen soon, but I didn’t know exactly when it was starting. So when I was taking my usual streetcar route to work down King St. West and the driver announced that we were detouring because of a closure, I knew that for the next 2 weeks, Toronto will be buzzing with entertainment. How exciting!
The night before, most of the night events were already set up. I’ve just finished up with another event that I attended and had to go by King St. West to get home. VISA had a sponsor booth and a red carpet backdrop going on, so I took advantage of that (like a typical tourist) and forced my friend to snap a photo of me so I could feel ~important~.
After I finished work the next day, it was day 1 of TIFF and I decided to hit the streets and see what the buzz was about. King St. West was closed alllllll the way from Spadina to University, which is a pretty huge stretch. There were TIFF logos and people everywhere – I couldn’t tell which one out-numbered the other. Many restaurants along the street expanded their patios so it flowed into the middle of the street, which was awesome because walking makes people hungry and no one wants to wait in line for food – good thinking.
As I was walking past the Royal Alexandra Theatre, I noticed that people were starting to gather in front of the barriers. Being the short person I am, I couldn’t see what was going on, so I asked the security guard nearby. He told me that a film was being premiered here in an hour that starred Tom Hardy (aka Bane from the Batman movie).
After that, I somehow managed to squeeze myself alll the way to the barrier where the red carpet was happening. It wasn’t the most pleasant smelling (because I’m so small, I’m up to peoples’ armpits. Combine that with humid weather and the fact that it was around 5:30pm, well.. it wasn’t great) but I had a good view of what was going on.
Every time you heard a scream, it was most likely that a celebrity has appeared on the red carpet (like a wild Pokemon). After about 30 minutes of waiting, Tom Hardy shows up. It was probably one of the scariest moments in my life. When a celebrity appears, people turn into… different people. Everyone around me started pushing and shoving to get a glimpse of Tom Hardy. Talk about desperation. Phones and cameras were being shoved as close as possible to the barrier (where I was) so I pretty much got a face full of electronics.
As Tom Hardy approached my section of the barrier, the crowd around me went wilder. “TOM, TOM! TAKE A SELFIE WITH ME!” “CAN YOU SIGN THIS?” – those are just a few of the many things that were being shouted at him. I think he saw my struggle to stay alive in the roaring crowd, so when he came up to me, he said this – I kid you not.
“You’re a cute height.”
At this moment, I understood why people were so crazy. Although people say celebrities are just people like us, being acknowledged by the one person that everyone is screaming at made me feel pretty freakin’ special. I didn’t get a selfie with him because he was moving down the line of people so fast, but I managed to snag this picture of his handsome face:
I didn’t care who I was pushing into, I just wanted to get out of the crowd after this. Tom Hardy called me out in front of the hundreds of people shouting at him. I was on cloud 9.
I stumbled across another red carpet event that was happening across the street, but I couldn’t use my magic to get to the barrier like I did before. Again, I asked a security guard nearby about this crowd of people and he said that Dustin Hoffman would be arriving on the red carpet shortly. I didn’t want to put myself in the same stinky armpit situation as before, so I passed on this red carpet event. L’Oreal was a sponsor, as you could see from the picture.
I was pretty exhausted by this point, but I managed to stumble across a red carpet event that was happening to promote the fall season line up for CBC. They invited me in and I accepted. The entire place was decked out in red and white – typical Canadian colours. There was an interview being televised in a section of the space and caesars were being served to guests. Again, being the Toronto tourist that I am, I walked the red carpet for CBC and posed for a photographer to snap my photo. It honestly felt like I held a celebrity status.
The weather was looking a bit gloomy, so after all these festivities, I decided to head home. If I were to come back next year, I would most definitely check out some screenings. I was a bit disappointed this year because I found out extremely late, but hey, there’s always next year.