By Erin Letson Posted September 11, 2008, 1:01 PM EDT
TORONTO Continuing a tradition of using unique venues, the Italian Trade Commission and Film Italia held their annual TIFF party on a tall ship docked at the HTO Park Tuesday night. (The event was held in the Toronto Transit Commission's abandoned Lower Bay subway station last year.) The Kajama, a 164-foot-long, three-masted schooner, gave guests a prime view of the Toronto waterfront and a getaway from the busy downtown core.
Kim Graham of Kim Graham & Associates planned the party, and looked at several rental ships with Italian trade commissioner Paolo Ponti before deciding on the Kajama, which she said stood out because of its style and historical background. The former trading ship launched in Germany in 1930 and was featured on the reality TV show The Amazing Race.
“It would be easy to rent a hotel venue, but then you have no feel of the local scenery,” said Ponti. “We try to give character to the evening.” Ponti added that the ship complemented the party's “Follow the Stream” theme, which refers to the new wave of Italian cinema from a younger generation of filmmakers. Seven Italian productions and six co-productions screened at this year's festival.
Because the Harbourfront Centre turned down Graham's initial request for the ship's location and set-up (with a clear tent in front of it), she had to negotiate with city staff for two weeks before getting approval. Graham also had to make sure water levels were high enough to dock the ship at the HTO Park, and decided to put the sails up just before the party start time when rain clouds began to clear.
Chef Andrew Milne-Allan of the midtown restaurant Zucca Trattoria catered the event, preparing hors d'oeuvres like farinata (chickpea-flour flatbread with olive oil and herbs) and salmon carpaccio in the ship's galley. Servers offered flutes of prosecco with lemon and Campari, a party sponsor.
Notable guests at the outdoor event included Film Italia president Irene Bignardi, actress Isabella Ferrari, and Il Divo director Paolo Sorrentino.