This past weekend, I spent the day in Toronto and attended the Toronto International Film Festival. I was lucky enough to be able to get tickets to two films: the world premiere of The Face of an Angel, and a screening of St. Vincent. I will be writing proper reviews for both films and posting them, but to be brief, I loved both of them.
I’d decided to attend the festival after hearing that The Face of An Angel would be premiering there. The film stars Daniel Brühl, Kate Beckinsale and Cara Delevingne. And, as regular readers of my blog know, Brühl is one of my favourite actors, so I had to go.
I had an awesome time. This year, King Street West was closed for the festival, so there was a lot to do on the street. There were picnic tables set up, a piano, food stands, and it was very easy for the public to watch the red carpet activities at the theatres if they were so inclined. I saw St. Vincent at noon, and then spent the afternoon wandering around King Street West and other areas of downtown until I got to the Winter Garden Theatre, where The Face of an Angel was premiering. I grabbed a quick dinner, and then I got in line.
The Winter Garden Theatre is a stacked theatre, along with the Elgin theatre. Wikipedia tells me they are the last Edwardian stacked theatres in the world. I mention this, because I arrived two and a half hours before the film was set to start, and there was still a line-up for the film screening in the other theatre. I was instructed to get in the line anyway, and once the line for the other film dissipated, it turns out I was one of the first ten people in line for the film. I was thrilled to discover this, because my goal was to get a seat as close to the front of the theatre as possible, so I could get photos. You see, a few years ago, I saw Johnny Depp at TIFF, but my photos didn’t turn out particularly well because I wasn’t right at the front. So I buckled in, and waited, and hoped I would see the cast arriving on the red carpet.
The Main Event
All of that waiting paid off because I was able to get a seat in the second row in the very middle – perfect for taking photos! The theatre itself is absolutely gorgeous.
Shortly after eight, the TIFF CEO came out, introduced director Michael Winterbottom, who proceeded to introduce the cast.
Brühl coming on stage
During the introductory portion he was making faces at Beckinsale, which was adorable and hilarious
Following the film, there was a 20 minute Q&A session that was open to audience questions. I had thought about asking a question, but didn’t because I was a bit too nervous (I can be shy!), and the question I would have asked was covered in the discussion portion immediately preceding the Q&A.
While most of the questions were directed at Winterbottom, a woman directed her question towards Brühl and very kindly praised his work, which elicited a chorus of cheers from some of the audience members, myself included, and he was very humble and gracious in response before answering the question she’d asked.
He spoke about how he thought his character was based on Winterbottom himself, despite the fact that Winterbottom denies that is the case, and about his experiences making the film. The Q&A as a whole was excellent, thanks to some insightful and thought-provoking audience questions, and equally thoughtful answers from the cast, Winterbottom, and screenwriter Paul Viragh. And, as an aside, the woman next to me asked a question, which means that Brühl looked straight at me, which was really awesome.
It was an amazing experience, and I’m so glad I was able to do it. If you ever get the opportunity to go to a film festival, do it. It’s not only an opportunity to see the folks responsible for making films, but a chance to see films months (or even a year!) before the general public. I’ve gone twice now, and I’d probably go again if I can make the timing work and there’s a film (or films) that I want to see.