Italian Trade Commission Throws TIFF Party in Abandoned Subway Station

The underground gala celebrating Italian cinema featured Felliniesque fashions, directors' chairs for seating, and a DJ playing tunes ranging from opera to hip-hop.

By Steve Levenstein October 4, 2007, 11:11 AM EDT

TTC Commissioner Adam Giambrone (left, background) mingled with guests in one of four orange-upholstered subway cars parked at the disused Lower Bay subway station for Film Italia, ANICA and the Italian Trade Commission's annual TIFF party.

Photos by Kim Graham & Assoc.

Italian Trade Commission's annual TIFF gala, Lower Bay Subway Station
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The Toronto Transit Commission’s Lower Bay subway station—closed since 1966 but still used for film shoots—served as a backdrop for Film Italia, ANICA and the Italian Trade Commission’s annual TIFF party on September 13. Planned and designed by Kim Graham & Associates with the cooperation of the TTC, the event attracted a host of film industry notables, including Italian filmmakers Vincenzo Marra, Silvio Soldini, and Alessandro Capone.

Kim Graham & Associates chose to decorate the disused station, which is somewhat of an urban legend for many Torontonians, in a surreal, retro glam theme. The fun started for guests when they alighted on a rich red carpet bordered by red velvet ropes from Performance Solutions at the Cumberland Street entrance to Bay subway station. From there, they made their way downstairs to the Lower Bay platform by following goldfish stickers displaying this year’s Film Italia theme.

Caterwaiters from Terroni and three TTC buskers contributed to the ambiance by sporting Felliniesque hairstyles and headdresses from Emma Bennett. Boutique le Trou chipped in with a fashion show saluting Italian films of the past and present. And Performance Solutions helped out by supplying directors’ chairs as seating for guests.

For its part, the TTC provided an authentic New York subway bench and four older, orange-upholstered subway cars. Terroni served Italian red wine, Prosecco, and antipasto from the car windows, while DJ Juno Youn of Spin Gallery set up his gear on the platform and spun tunes ranging from opera to hip-hop.

Prior to the party, the TTC had never rented out Lower Bay subway station for a special event. Kim Graham & Associates’ Kim Graham saw this as a distinct opportunity. “It’s important to stand out and be different during TIFF, and by using the Lower Bay station we succeeded in capturing the public’s imagination.”

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