Bungalow 8 Founder Amy Sacco Hosts Festival Pop-ups in Venice, Toronto While Toasting Venue's 15th Anniversary

"My motto is ask not what your party can do for you, ask what you can do for your party," Sacco dishes to THR.
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Amy Sacco

Nightlife guru Amy Sacco — who returns to the film festival circuit with back-to-back Bungalow 8 pop-ups in Venice (at the Bauer Palazzo Hotel by night and the Grand Canal Patio by day) and Toronto (at Thompson Hotel rooftop) — has another reason to celebrate this fall. Her iconic New York City watering hole Bungalow 8 is turning 15. 

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Sacco recently to dish on her globe-trotting business, why film festivals still matter to her, her most memorable night at Bungalow 8 and who should play Amy Sacco in the movie about her enviable life. 

How do film festival parties/lounges differ from what you do in New York City?

My clubs around the world are a home and safe haven for our international family, aka #Cultof8. During festivals it is a more amplified Hollywood family reunion than a typical New York night. For a fleeting moment we have the three R's: rebels, raconteurs and rogues for a few days of fun and celebration.

A general view of atmosphere at the Bungalow 8 during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 7, 2013. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for NJPR)

With all your success in NYC, why keep going back on the film festival scene? What do you like about it?

My motto is ask not what your party can do for you, ask what you can do for your party. Immediately after the success of our first festival in Venice nine years ago, I realized that we had created a needed experience for the entertainment community. I love that we have these glamorous backdrops to celebrate the work of the artists and for our team, it is the ultimate team building exercise... powered by amazing moments and lots of Red Bull!

What’s your favorite thing about Venice? About Toronto?

Venice? The glamour! La Dolce Vita, baby. They are the most gracious hosts, too. Toronto is more cosmopolitan, and you're guaranteed to see 50 percent more of the usual suspects there, who add into the fun.

Do you work with the film festivals at all in any official capacity?

No, although we would always welcome any joint participation!

What elements make for a great festival party?

Here's my list: Always keep a basket of slippers for girls to slip into after dancing for hours in stilettos. Never rival the authentic backdrop of your setting. We curate the guests as specifically as we do the cocktails.... It's all about the mixology! DJs who can tap into the swagger. Location, location, location! Nothing exceeds excess. A clever and discerning doorman. A brilliant mistress of ceremony to curate the evening — moi! Always treat every guest like a celebrity. Ambience equals lighting, sound, service and soul. Always invite a few conversation pieces, by that I mean a few unusual guests — perhaps it is a street performer, a gymnast, a magician, anyone who will be on the fringe of what is expected. You need the freak factor to inspire the attendees.

Is there a night you’d like to forget?

Yes. It will be included in a book to be published upon my death titled Re-Memoirs. As it will be exactly how I remembered it, no matter what anyone else recalls.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve experienced doing one of your events/lounges at a film festival? Be specific and use names if you can?

Too many to count! Mostly couples who have run off together and never looked back. One time a guest fell into the canal, another arrested, another did back flips, and once Madonna DJ'd from the comfort of her banquette. Never a dull moment!

What’s the latest your film festival event has gone?

I think it is still going on! Cannes parties don't die! Wash, rinse, repeat.

Bungalow 8 is nearing its 15th anniversary. That's a major milestone. How does it feel?

Wow, yes! We opened in 2001. From the original concept on 27th Street to outposts in Amsterdam, London...and now the glamorous pop-ups from Montauk to Monaco.

What’s your best memory of Bungalow 8 over the years? Any special night or party that stands out in your mind?

Two, and both with Armani. My first ever party was in celebration of Mr. Armani, and Sophia Loren said she liked my pasta. How's that for a stamp of approval? A few years later we did a surprise birthday party with Armani for my friend George Clooney's 50th birthday following the Met Ball. The Beckhams sat across from the then-Cruises, and it was a wall-to-wall of who's who. Sting, Fergie and John Mayer were all part of the "Happy Birthday" song. And for "insurance purposes" I had an actual NYC fireman bring out George's cake since there were so many candles, and when I brought out David Beckham's cake — also celebrating a birthday that night — I was knocked over by a supermodel and somehow fell right into David's lap with the cake and candles burning. By some miracle after the fall the candles were all still burning!

How do you relax after the film festival grind?

No rest for the wicked!

If there was a film made about your life, who would you want to star as Amy Sacco?

Cameron Diaz as the young me, and Joanna Lumley as me today.

 Amy Sacco attends "Rebel" by James Franco, a site-specific installation art exhibition presented by Liberatum and British artist Amanda Eliasch on Sept. 3, 2011 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)