The queue for Persepolis at TIFF

TIFF Today: September 9, 2007

A look at the news and events surrounding the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, and a very quick look at one Canadian short film every day.

Day Four

It seems like everyone in this city steps up their game when the Toronto International Film Festival rolls around. And I do mean everyone. The buskers on the corner of Bay and Bloor have two amps, two guitars, a bass, a flute, and a drum kit. Sure, there are buskers like this all around the city during the rest of the year, but rarely do you see a full band playing Journey covers on one of the busiest corners in Toronto. And rarely do you see a crowd of fifty to a hundred people just sitting around on the sidewalk listening to the band play a Stevie Wonder song.

Perhaps what's even rarer is seeing people walking down the street in Toronto dropping $20 bills in busker's basket. The average amount that people were putting in the basket (no lie) was at least five dollars.

Down the street, the Indigo was showing artsy film installations made by their employees, sidled right near their huge display of novels-turned-films. Over at the Hazelton Hotel, the new Mark McEwan restaurant One, that just opened this week, is already drawing crowds hoping to catch a celebrity sighting. Even Metro, the free weekly daily, has a special weekend film festival edition. Toronto is stepping up its game.

If you're set on using your weekend in order to do some celeb stalking, here are some of the big names that will be arriving in town today:

  • Eddie Vedder
  • Keira Knightley
  • James McAvoy
  • Vanessa Redgrave
  • Alexi Tan
  • Don Cheadle
  • Rolf de Heer
  • Werner Herzog
  • Kate Bosworth
  • Tommy Lee Jones
  • Sigourney Weaver
  • Sean Penn
  • Marcia Gay Harden
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Emily Mortimer
  • Brian De Palma
  • Thandie Newton
  • David Schwimmer
  • Mena Suvari
  • Kenneth Branagh
  • Liam Neeson
  • Michael Douglas

Remember how everyone was upset when Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect was taken off the air? Well, you can catch up with what he's been up to at the festival today: Maher and Larry Charles will take the stage to discuss religion, comedy and whatever else enters their heads — and they'll share a teaser clip of Religulous, their work-in-progress. You can catch this special Mavericks presentation at 1pm at the Ryerson Theatre.

We've talked about Darfur Now on blogTO before; the discussion about the film including a panel featuring Don Cheadle, Adam Sterling, Ted Braun, and other filmmakers goes down tonight at the Isabel Bader Theatre at 5pm.

And now, a short (100-word) look at a short:

No Bikini
So many short films these days try to wow you with luscious cinematography or fancy animation. With Claudia Morgado's Escanilla's No Bikini, however, the strength of the film is rather in one of the most primordial aspects of film-making: the story. A wonderful tale of a six-week sex change, No Bikini has a charming narrative underlying the love-yourself-and-be-strong theme. While it may seem as though Escanilla is trying to force the message on us a bit too strong — instead of the delightful story speaking for itself — there is a fell good sentiment in No Bikini, that we all need to see from time to time.

Claudia Morgado's Escanilla's No Bikini screens before Breakfast with Scot at the Scotiabank Theatre tonight at 6:30pm and on Tuesday at 9am.

(Image: The queue for Persepolis at TIFF, taken by Sam Javanrough.)

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