TIFF11: The Celebrity Factor

Chris Sparling, Rodrigo Cortés, and Ryan Reynolds
during the Buried Q&A at TIFF10.

It’s only one more day until the Toronto International Film Festival.  As I previously described, I will be seeing a whopping 25 films spread out over the course of the 11 days of the festival. Of those, 9 will be premiere screenings.

As such, I thought I would talk a bit about the thing that seems to dominate all media coverage related to TIFF – the celebrities that will be in town.  Based on what’s shown on entertainment news programs, the only films worth seeing at TIFF this year are the ones that involve Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, U2, and Madonna, among others.

I personally have never been too concerned with celebrity culture at TIFF.  I’ve been generally more interested in the films themselves, than with who’s staring in them.  While stars can be a factor in my selection process, I also take a close look at the film descriptions, and, if possible, the trailers while I create my film list.

Guy Pearce Q&A for Death Defying Acts at TIFF07

To me seeing a celebrity at a screening has been more of a perk than anything else.  This is my ninth year going to TIFF and I think that the number of screenings I’ve been to that had, well known, celebrities in attendance is still in the single digits.

Every year since 2006, I’ve been lucky to attend at least one screening every year that had cast members in attendance (whether they were well-known or not).  Some of the bigger names I got to see over the years included Giovanni Ribisi, Scott Cann, Mena Suvari, Monica Bellucci, Guy Pearce, John Leguizamo, Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga, Zach Braff, and Ryan Reynolds.

Even if a celebrity is not present, many of the TIFF screenings I’ve been to had at least the director show up for a Q&A.  To me, this is just as interesting, if not more, than cast members actually being in attendance.

I’m sure that many of the 9 premiere (and some of the other) screenings I’m going to this year will feature an appearance by cast members.  Though, only 2-3 of those films will feature someone I am familiar with.  However, either way, I still expect to enjoy seeing many great films (with hopefully many great post-film discussions) over the course of the week.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).