TIFF Parties: Hosts Spotlight Snapshots of Iconic Hollywood Stars, Nerds

By Susan O'Neill September 21, 2010, 12:11 PM EDT

Photo: George Pimentel for BizBash

Magazines, charitable organizations, and video-game development companies were among those hosting celebrity-studded parties during the 35th Toronto International Film Festival, which came to a close Sunday with an award reception at the Intercontinental Toronto Centre Hotel. Here's a look back at a few of the events on this year's circuit.

Amfar and Dignitas International
Amfar, the Foundation for AIDS Research, partnered with Dignitas International to host the second annual Cinema Against AIDS Toronto fund-raiser at the Carlu on September 12. The event, which featured performances by Ace of Base and the Thompson Egbo-Egbo Trio, attracted attendees like actors and co-chairs Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, Amfar ambassador and fashion designer Kenneth Cole, and Nobel Peace Prize winner and Dignitas co-founder Dr. James Orbinski.

Jeffry Roick of McNabb Roick Events dressed the Carlu in red and black for the gala. “This year we came up with an invitation that was red and gold, and that's where the decor came from. We felt it should be very geared toward film because of TIFF,” said Mary Ann Buffam, director of development for Dignitas. A one-of-a-kind portrait of Marilyn Monroe, adorned with more than 18,500 Swarovski crystals, sat at the top of the grand foyer, which Roick fitted with a red carpet for the evening. The event drew more than 500 guests this year (up from 380 in 2009). An additional 200 guests attended the after-party, held in the Carlu's Round Room.

Hello! Canada
After two years at the Birks store on Bloor Street, Hello! Canada moved the magazine's annual TIFF cocktail party, dubbed “Hello! Hollywood—Public Faces, Private Lives,” to the Royal Conservatory of Music's Telus Centre for Performance and Learning. The theme coincided with a retrospective look at Hollywood's biggest stars, which is appearing in three consecutive issues this month. Marie Cazaux, Hello! Canada's promotions manager, used red lighting and red cocktail tables throughout the space—a nod to the publication's logo—and projected images of stars like Marilyn Monroe and Sean Connery onto the walls. “The venue is so big. I felt the projection was the best way [to dress the space]. It also fits with the theme,” she said.

In Style and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association
For the 11th annual In Style and Hollywood Foreign Press Association TIFF party, organizers used Douglas fir trees and manzanita branches to dress the Courtyard Café at the Windsor Arms Hotel. An oversize bronze bowl filled with rust and burnt-orange dahlias and gold mokara orchids anchored the centre of the room. Guests dined on passed hors d'oeuvres like Dungeness crab and Kobe sliders. Food stations included a carving station of prime rib and short ribs, along with sweet and savory risotto and a selection of pasta offerings. In Style's ever-popular candy bar made a return appearance with nearly 100 pounds of sweet treats. DJ Pesce spun tunes throughout the night, and stylists from Sephora offered makeup touch-ups.

One year after announcing plans to create a new video-game development studio in Toronto, video-game publisher and developer Ubisoft revealed the company's new Toronto home with a Revenge of the Nerds-themed launch event during the festival's opening weekend. Ubisoft Toronto managing director Jade Raymond and her team welcomed guests to Ubisoft’s 20,000-square-foot studio for a party with music by guest DJ Peaches Geldof, daughter of rock 'n' roll legend Bob Geldof. “Celebrating our grand opening during one of Toronto’s biggest celebrations is an honour for our company and a tribute to the creative force of the city,” Raymond said.

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