When this year’s Toronto International Film Festival descends on the city from September 7 to 17 for its 42nd iteration, it will welcome some high-profile A-listers. Here is our definitive guide to where to stay, what to do and who you might see at one of the world’s most acclaimed film fests.
Be prepared for some serious stargazing around Toronto. The festival’s premieres will welcome the likes of George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lawrence, Matt Damon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Craig and local favorite Drake — just to name a few.
HOW TO WATCH
With festival tickets going on sale to the public on September 4 at 10 a.m., there’s still an opportunity to plan a trip to “Hollywood North” for TIFF 2017. Or, head to the red carpet at David Pecaut Square to get a glimpse of cinema’s elite before their premieres.
WHAT TO WATCH
This year’s event will showcase 339 films, including 147 world premieres from more than 74 countries — that’s more than 27,400 minutes of film over the course of 10 days. A full schedule is available on the Toronto International Film Festival website, but these are a few of the highlights you don’t want to miss:
Gaga: Five Foot Two
This will be one of the most anticipated documentaries to premiere at TIFF this year. The all-access, behind-the-scenes movie digs into the publically adored Lady Gaga and the vulnerability of the offstage Stefani Joanne Germanotta, filmed over an eight-month period by director Chris Moukarbel. The debut screening will be followed by an intimate onstage performance by the artist herself.
So much tennis
Part sports drama, part psychological thriller, Borg/McEnroe opens this year’s festival. The film tells the story of the epic rivalry between Swedish tennis player Björn Borg and American John McEnroe, played by Sverrir Gudnason and Shia LaBeouf, respectively, culminating in the 1980 Wimbledon Championships.
Similarly, Battle of the Sexes features Emma Stone and Steve Carell re-creating the legendary 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
More movie magic
Other great films include The Upside (Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart), about an unlikely friendship; First They Killed My Father, an adaptation of a memoir by Cambodian native Loung Ung growing up under the Khmer Rouge regime, directed by Angelina Jolie; and Darren Aronofsky’s thriller, Mother!, featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto is a hotbed for TIFF activity, located just steps from the red carpet in David Pecaut Square and film premieres at Roy Thomson Hall.
Take advantage of your stay here and enjoy a specialized TIFF-themed treatment at Four-Star Spa My Blend by Clarins. Go for the Red Carpet Glow, an exclusive anti-aging facial that will help lift, reshape, firm and relax your skin to help you get camera ready.
Opening just days before the festival, Toronto’s stylish new Bisha Hotel is certain to host a few premiere events and after-parties in its lobby lounge (complete with secluded VIP elevators) or on the brand-new rooftop patio with its scenic city vistas.
EAT AND DRINK
Four-Star Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto will offer a lavish TIFF-inspired cocktail menu featuring The Gala, a tipple made with Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch, popcorn, salt and kola bitters. Or, sip on the TIFF Orange, made with Don Julio 1942 Tequila, Aperol, marmalade and lemon.
For those looking to catch sight of some stars while dining like one, enjoy the champagne and caviar high tea in the Lobby Lounge that will be abuzz all throughout the festival.
Up in the glitzy, glamorous Yorkville neighborhood, Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Toronto is partnering with Perrier-Jouët to create a luxurious urban escape. The exclusive Garden of Wonder pop-up takes over chef Daniel Boulud’s dbar patio during the festival with a secret hideaway enveloped in lush foliage. Here, you’ll find Perrier Jouët champagne flowing by the glass, by the bottle or in fanciful cocktails while light canapés like ceviche and smoked salmon delights guests and celebrities alike.
Located in The Adelaide Hotel, Toronto (which will transform to Canada’s first St. Regis Hotel in 2018), the intimate, street-side Bar Adelaide is perfect for those looking to either unwind before dinner or have a post-movie drink. The stylish lounge is offering up a classically curated TIFF cocktail menu (a gin-powered Mary Shelley or cognac-starred Submergence, perhaps?) along with local-inspired bites during the festivities.