The Highlights of TIFF 2015

Above top (L-R): Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson in 'Room', the cast of 'Spotlight', Jake Gyllenhaal walks the red carpet for the world premiere of 'Demolition' / Above bottom (L-R): Connor Jessup in 'Closet Monster', Tom Hardy dismisses questions about his sexuality during a TIFF press conference, and Amber Heard and Johnny Depp walk the red carpet for the premiere of 'Black Mass'

Over 300 films screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. That means countless cocktail parties, red carpet premieres, and film industry related events. It would be impossible for one person to attend everything, but there are always a few highlights that get everyone talking. If you didn’t manage to get tickets to some of your top choice films, don’t worry, most of them will be headed for a wide release in the next few months. But there are some things that happen during the festival that you just had to be there for. Here are 10 highlights, including the most well-received films, you might have missed

The Princess Bride live read

One of the most talking about, you had to be there, events of the entire festival was the live table read of the original script for classic fairy tale, The Princess Bride. Directed by Jason Reitman, the cast included Rachel McAdams, Chris O’Dowd, Patrick Stewart, and Cary Elwes even reprised his role as Westley. Reitman’s sister had to fill in as Inigo Montoya when Gael Garcia Bernal arrived late because of a delayed flight, but she did the role justice and the crowd loved it.

The Martian red carpet premiere

The big screen adaptation of Andy Weir’s runaway bestseller The Martian was arguably the highest profile premiere of the festival. Stars Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Donald Glover, and more were in town to walk the red carpet on the second night of the festival. The sci-fi adventure/survival story was a hit with critics and audiences and is sure to be a blockbuster when it hits regular theatres at the beginning of October.

Grolsch People’s Choice Award Winner, Room

A front runner for the festival’s top award wasn’t clear until the votes were tallied up and the adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel Room emerged as the fan favourite. Filmed in Toronto, the film stars Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay as a mother and son held captive for years in a single room. Past People’s Choice winners have gone on to win big at the Oscars, so watch for Room to dominate the upcoming award’s season.

People’s Choice runner-up – Spotlight

Even though Room took the top spot in the end, Spotlight, the true story of the team at the Boston Globe who uncovered a massive scandal of child abuse and cover-ups within the local Catholic Church was a close second for the coveted People’s Choice award. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Michael Keaton, it was a hit with both audiences and critics. The film is getting a lot of Oscar buzz, especially Keaton for his role as a journalist at the centre of the scandal. 

Festival kick off film, Demolition

This year’s first screening was Jean-Marc Vallee’s film Demolition which starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts. The world premiere brought both stars to the red carpet (Gyllenhaal was also spotted around town a few times at the beginning of the week) to support the film about a man who has just lost his wife and is struggling to feel anything other than numb. The film was a another hit for Gyllenhaal who can do no wrong lately with his role selection.

Best Canadian Feature Film Award Winner, Closet Monster

You can’t have a film festival in Toronto without recognizing what Canadian filmmakers have to offer. Closet Monster is the feature film debut from 26-year-old Newfoundland native Stephen Dunn. What starts out as a teenagers coming out story quickly transforms into much more. With nods to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a talking hamster voice by Isabella Rossellini, and unexpectedly odd scenes of grisly body horror, the film is like nothing else that screened during the festival.

Tom Hardy dismisses questions about his sexuality during press conference for Legend

Legend was another highly anticipated film about the real-life Kray twins, 60’s era British gangsters, one of which was openly bisexual. During a press conference for the movie, a reporter from The Daily Beast asked star Tom Hardy if he thought it was difficult for celebrities to talk about their sexuality. Hardy shut down the line of questioning immediately and later said he thought it was “inelegant and humiliating” to be asked that in front of a room full of people. While some thought the question was justified, others agreed with his choice not to answer. Either way, Hardy is obviously under no obligation to answer any question ever, and the incident only got him and the film even more publicity.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard walk the red carpet twice

Newly married couple Johnny Depp and Amber Heard hit two big red carpet premieres with his film Black Mass about real-life gangster Whitey Bulger, and her film The Danish Girl co-starring Eddie Redmayne as the first person to ever undergo gender reassignment surgery. Both films were audience and critical favourites and are sure continue to do well with wider theatrical releases. There is already Oscar buzz surrounding Depp’s performance, so expect to see more of the Hollywood power couple come award’s season.

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Tags: Jake Gyllenhaal, TIFF

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