For us ordinary people, taking part in the Toronto International Film Festival is an exercise in waiting through long lineups for tickets, long lineups to get into a theatre and long lineups to glimpse celebrities behind security barriers. When you’re an actual celebrity yourself, on the other hand, being a part of TIFF is a whole different story.
Early into this year’s TIFF, for example, the Canadian film industry celebrated its own at the IT House x Producers Ball, co-hosted by NKPR with Jonathan and Drew Scott, a.k.a. ‘The Property Brothers’ on HGTV.
According to Natasha Koifman, NKPR’s president, the public relations firm decided to merge its own event, dubbed the Lounge, with one developed with the Scott twins a few years ago because they were both focused on venerating the same behind-the-scenes players who steer TIFF’s biggest success stories. This year’s theme was “music and film,” with sponsors like Rolling Stone magazine.
“What would a film be without the score? It’s what gives you that emotional connection to the movie,” Koifman pointed out.
On the red carpet, however, what people want to do is look — and one of the challenges for any celebrity attending TIFF is making sure what they’re wearing is as eye-catching as what’s on screen.
The Property Brothers arguably had the toughest job of looking good, but not so good that they would take attention away from their guests.
“I just raid Drew’s closet and get as many clothes as I can,” joked Jonathan, adding that he didn’t necessary credit his brother as a fashion maven. “Drew’s wife dressed him.”
Retired race car driver and investor Anthony Mantella, who married Koifman earlier this year, said he opted for a rock n’ roll look that included a vintage Led Zeppelin T-shirt, but he admitted dressing for TIFF is an art all its own.
“It all depends on the night. If it’s black tie, it’s black tie,” he said, adding that walking the red carpet with a high-profile spouse has its own influence. “You always have to curate to her, because she sometimes is a little over the top, so I might have to be more subdued. Or maybe other times I dress it up a bit. There’s tons of variables.”
Yannick Bisson, star of TV’s Murdoch Mysteries, came decked out in black, but that was a deliberate choice too.
“You want the photos you have afterwards to be timeless,” he said. “That’s my number one goal, to not have something that looks like it was from last year or whenever but something that’s cool all the way around.”
That thoughtful approach to wardrobe was echoed by Francesco Yates, a singer-songwriter who was tapped earlier this year to open Justin Timberlake’s ‘Man Of The Woods’ tour.
“Fashion is more about instinct than anything else. You have to use it and make the best judgement call,” he said. “It’s almost like making a song. Each outfit, just like each song, calls for something different as well.”
Not everyone is so sure of themselves. Kim’s Convenience star Simu Liu admitted he was grateful for partnerships with brands like Ted Baker, who outfitted him for this year’s TIFF.
“I don’t consider myself a terribly stylish person, so I thankfully I can leave it to people who are a little more well-informed,” he said.
Noah Cappe, who has starred on everything from the Bachelorette Canada to Good Witch, said it was best to have fun with red carpet style, pointing down to his socks that featured images of Oreo cookies. The main thing, he said, was to remember why TIFF exists: to promote movies that might not get noticed otherwise.
“The big budget ones will always have a spot (at the movieplex). It’s these moments that shine the light on ones that need a little help, that need a little boost,” he said. “Some of the best films we’ve watched in the last few months are the ones that have gone through TIFF and have been discovered here.”