5 Things You Should Know About TIFF Premiere Parties

I’ve always been a major movie buff, but in 2017, I covered my first Toronto International Film Festival as an accredited member of the press. Here’s what I wish I’d known beforehand about attending an exclusive TIFF party.

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TIFF parties at RBC House
Photo: Sonia Recchia

1. Know Your Location

In my mind, I’d always imagined TIFF parties taking place in glitzy clubs and over-the-top hotel ballrooms. As it turns out, many of the festival’s most prestigious and star-studded shindigs are hosted in surprisingly intimate surroundings. In 2017, I was invited to my very first TIFF party: the premiere of the romantic drama Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. Held on the third floor of RBC House on Duncan Street in Toronto, it was an industrial loft-style space with whitewashed brick walls and herringbone floors, dressed more like a chic living room than a flashy nightclub. The trendy venue is widely regarded as “ground zero” for events, press junkets, dinners and parties during TIFF.

Check out our ultimate guide to the Toronto International Film Festival!

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Elvis Costello and Paul McGuigan
Photo: Sonia Recchia

2. Don’t Stress Out About What You’ll Wear

Unless you’re a celebrity posing on the red carpet, there’s no reason to act like you’re walking a runway at New York Fashion Week. The best TIFF parties happen indoors at night under dim lighting, so there’s a good chance your outfit won’t be seen by many. I decided to keep it simple: a charcoal gray suit, light blue dress shirt, navy seed-stitch tie, and black Oxford shoes. Guys can even get away with a pair of black jeans or beige chinos as long as they’re paired with a jacket and dress shoes. For ladies, an understated black dress or pantsuit will do the job nicely. Keep in mind if you’re planning on wearing heels, you’ll likely be standing all night.

Don’t miss our guide to dressing properly for every occasion.

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Warren Beatty at the premiere of "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool"
Photo: Sonia Recchia

3. Selfie Addicts Beware!

TIFF parties are all about the celebrities: Jamie Bell, Kate Mara, Annette Bening and Warren Beatty were in attendance at the party I attended, as were Jason Isaacs and Elvis Costello. Did I take photos with them? No. Why? Like me, they wanted to have fun too, and fun means not having to pose for photos with strangers while you’re conversing with your significant other. If you’ve been invited to a TIFF party, I suggest putting your smartphone away and playing it cool. But if you can’t help yourself and absolutely need that special selfie, make sure you ask their publicist first.

Here are the book-to-movie adaptations to watch at TIFF 2018!

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Wine list at premiere of "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool"
Photo: Sonia Recchia

4. There’s Plenty of Food and Drink to Go Around

TIFF parties are a cocktail lover’s dream, plain and simple. I treated myself to a glass of Meiomi Pinot Noir and a delicious cocktail called “Star Struck,” made of Ciroc Ultra-Premium Vodka, Ciroc Red Berry, Prosecco, agave, and lime and blueberry juice. Skip grabbing a bite before heading to the party, too—sharply-dressed servers are constantly making the rounds with plates laden with mouthwatering hors d’oeuvres. The tastiest snack I ate? A tie between bacon-wrapped dates and mini vegan tacos.

Spice up your pre-screening party with these TIFF-inspired cocktails.

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Jamie Bell, Kate Mara, Annette Bening and Warren Beatty
Photo: Sonia Recchia

5. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it: most people don’t get to hang out with movie stars, so when you’re at an exclusive premiere party, it’s easy to feel like you don’t belong. Remind yourself to have fun (what’s the point of going to a party if you’re not planning to let loose, anyway?). When you’re going stag, as I did at the Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool party, you’ll find yourself mingling with the most fascinating people as the night goes on. I even said hi to Jason Isaacs! (That’s Lucius Malfoy to you Harry Potter fans!)

We’ve rounded up five other Canadian film festivals worth checking out!

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