As the sun set on the fourth evening of the Toronto International Film Festival, THR and presenting sponsor City National Bank hosted a rooftop fete at the sleek Thompson Hotel, where top industry players gathered to swap screening stories and handicap early awards season contenders while taking in the panoramic skyline view.
Among those in attendance were Michael Pitt, DreamWorks co-chair Stacey Snider, Fox Searchlight head Nancy Utley, CBS Films co-president Terry Press, producer Avi Lerner, Lionsgate marking exec Nancy Kirkpatrick, Relativity Media worldwide publicity evp Adam Keen and Sony Pictures Classics honcho Tom Bernard.
For Snider, TIFF is an important way to reconnect with some of the most basic pleasures of the film-going experience. “I just like the idea of waiting in line for movies – going in, not knowing what you’re going to see – and letting the story take you over,” she said.
Unsurprisingly, Utley counted the rare triple standing ovation that her film, breakout sensation The Sessions, had received the previous night following its screening as her Toronto highlight thus far. “It’s been a long journey since [we bought it at] Sundance,” she said. “That kind of reception is what this is all about.”
The Sessions actress Annika Marks, also at the party, described the difference between Sundance and TIFF as stops on the festival circuit. “At Sundance,” she said, “everyone has their film and they’re just worried if it will make it at all. Here, there is this sense among people that they are really on their way. It’s very exciting.”
A wry Reece Thompson, who appears in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which screened for the first time before an audience at the festival, put the difference between Toronto and Park City even more succinctly: “It’s warmer here!”