Toronto 2019 According to Producer Don Carmody
The principal of Don Carmody Productions shares his take on the fest.
What’s your "only in Toronto" moment?
Having a celebratory dinner at Sotto-Sotto [ in 2001] after the premiere of David Mamet’s Heist with David, Danny Devito, Gene Hackman, Rebecca Pidgeon and others and having absolutely no one approach the table for an autograph or anything. When we were leaving, everyone in the restaurant applauded, so they knew we were there. Very Canadian to not be aggressive with stars in town for TIFF.
What was your TIFF high point?
Bringing an elephant in full regalia marching down Yonge street to the Elgin for the premiere of Breakaway.
What can’t you live without at the festival?
My iPhone. Duh. It's my lifeline
Most Canadian thing about Toronto?
How polite and open the people are and how diverse the city has become over the years.
What’s the one place to go in Toronto?
Josos! it’s a tough get, though, during TIFF. I once had the owners call me because a very suspicious person had called up trying to get a reservation pretending to be me. They said he had a very thick French accent. Turned out to be Samuel Hadida, my French partner on the Silent Hill and Resident Evil films desperate to get a table and he knew I knew the owners.
Where do you avoid during the festival?
If I can, the zoo that has become the Hyatt
Who’s your favorite Canadian actor-director and why?
Director has to be David Cronenberg. We go back so many years. My favorite actor at the moment is Stephan James. Was glad to be instrumental in hiring him early in his career on Sudz Sutherland’s Home Again. He was brilliant in that and just gets better and better.
Do you have a Toronto fest horror story?
Unfortunately, it was 9/11. I was in early prep on Chicago when the planes went into the Twin Towers. Spent hours having Harvey Weinstein and his people screaming at me to get them out of town and back to New York.
What’s the most Canadian thing about Toronto?
How responsive the audiences are at TIFF. They love everything. I’ve seen absolute dog movies get standing ovations. I think the TIFF audiences respond so positively because they don’t want to hurt anyone's feelings. I think that’s why the studios, filmmakers and stars all seem to love coming here.
Advice for a Toronto first-timer?
In the immortal words of Steven Spielberg: Wear comfortable shoes!
This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter's Sept. 6 daily issue at the Toronto Film Festival.