By Erin Letson Posted September 17, 2009, 12:50 PM EDT
TORONTO With six films and 13 co-productions from Italy at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and the Italian Trade Commission and Film Italia's reputation for hosting an annual festival event known for its venue selection—past parties have been held at the T.T.C.'s Lower Bay station and on a tall ship docked at H.T.O. Park—publicist Kim Graham of Kim Graham & Associates said she received lots of last-minute R.S.V.P.s to the group's TIFF party Wednesday night.
The lower-key festival event, held at the MaRS Discovery District, attracted more than 400 people and took on a chameleon theme and slogan: “Try on the colours of Italian cinema.”
“We try every year to shock people and to be a novelty,” said Italian trade commissioner Paolo Ponti of the party, which he planned in collaboration with Graham. Ponti said MaRS was chosen as a venue this year because of its melding of old and new and its representation of innovation. (The centre is known for leadership in science and business research.)
The trade commission called on Toronto-based, Italian-born set and costume designer Mimmo Baronello to design the event for the first time. With only two hours for set up and a spacious venue to work with, Baronello hung several “chameleon eyes"—spherical paper lamps surrounded by coloured cellophane—throughout the venue. He also hand-crafted a papier-mâché chameleon statue as a display for the entrance and used rotating blue and green lighting to further mimic reptile eyes.
To keep a more traditional Italian theme, Baronello noted that a classical pianist replaced a DJ so people could easily talk and mingle. 10tation Event Catering put a local twist on its Italian-style food offerings, including seared Ontario pickerel with a Riesling, lemon, and caper sauce, braised duck ravioli with porcini mushrooms, and bite-size pizzettes with prosciutto, Parmesan, and arugula. Guests drank wine and cocktails made with Campari, an event sponsor, and notable guests such as actress Lisa Marcos (The Listener) and Italian director Marco Bellocchio made appearances later in the evening.