Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

At 35, TIFF finally moves out of mom’s basement



After 35 years, the Toronto film festival is has finally got a permanent home — a C$200 million five-story complex with five posh theaters, two galleries, a bistro, and a restaurant.

The “Bell Lightbox” — which threw open its doors to the public for the first time on Sunday — will help consolidate the festival’s sprawling operations that typically move around Toronto’s downtown from year to year, forcing returning guests and journalists to scramble to get their bearings.

In the last decade, festival press conference have occupied at least three different hotels, while the main box office has jumped around various venues, including a large tent on the front lawn of city hall last year.

The festival will continue to screen most of its 300-odd roster of films at public theaters, but having its own screens will allow it to hold exhibitions, screenings, and film lectures year-round.

Rainn Wilson reigns in Ebert’s Toronto twitter showdown



Who knew Dwight Kurt Schrute III could sell paper and tweet with Internet wit and humor, too?

At the Toronto International Film Festival’s Filmmaker’s Lounge on Saturday, Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute of “The Office”) out-tweeted four other film industry panelists — hard-core tweeters all — in a “Twitter Showdown” hosted by MTV’s Dan Levy.

“Griff the Invisible”: unconventional superhero


RyanKwantenAussie native Ryan Kwanten is a long way away from his “True Blood” character, Jason Stackhouse, in the new Australian film, “Griff the Invisible”, which had its world premiere on Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“Griff”, directed by Leon Ford (most recently seen in the miniseries, “The Pacific”, as 1st Lt. Edward ‘Hillbilly’ Jones), is not exactly your typical caped-crusader movie. Set in Australia, Griff (played by Kwanten) is a socially awkward and bullied office worker — a la Clark Kent. At night, he assumes his alter-ego to protect his neighborhood in Melbourne.

Waiting 127 hours for “127 hours” in Toronto


So it wasn’t exactly 127 hours of waiting, but Saturday was not the smoothest day for the 35th Annual Toronto International Film Festival, if the screening delays and theater changes were anything to go by.

Hard-core festival goers are used to planning their days with military precision from 9am until the wee hours of the morning.

Truth or fiction?

Tiff-truthorfictionSometimes that line between truth and fiction is so blurry it’s hard to tell it’s there. First there was the JetBlue flight attendant, Steven Slater, who stormed off his job (and left down the emergency chute) after an altercation with a grumpy passenger — a true story so odd that it almost had to be fiction.

And now there’s movie flight attendant who storms off her job (and leaves down the emergency stairs) after an altercation with the demons in her own mind — a fictional movie story so odd that it almost had to be based on Steven Slater’s true story.

Bill Gates to America: education matters


Director Davis Guggenheim (R) and Bill Gates attend a news conference to promote the film "Waiting For Superman" during the 35th Toronto International Film Festival September 11, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill

Worry about the U.S. public education system has brought billionaire Bill Gates into the movie business, with a cameo role in a documentary looking at the “full-on crisis” of undereducated kids, in a school system that’s failing to meet their needs, and a tough message to business leaders:
Education matters, and good students will strengthen American business and improve its competitive position.
Gates is one of the experts who appears in “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary that focuses on staggering signs that American children are falling way behind their counterparts in other countries, even as school spending increases.
Director Davis Guggenheim, who also directed Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” tells the story through everyday students, as well as key reformers and stakeholders in education.
“We are in full-on crisis mode,” producer Lesley Chilcott told a press conference which Gates also attended.
Gates said Microsoft is finding it increasingly difficult to find home-grown science and engineering students, and many science students did not come through the public school system.
“If you look at a computer science department in the top schools the majority are not U.S.-born,” he said. “That just says something about our education system.”

Pictured above:

Director Davis Guggenheim (R) and Bill Gates attend a news conference to promote the film “Waiting For Superman” during the 35th Toronto International Film Festival September 11, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill

Robert De Niro’s school of less is more


deniro Would-be thespians take note, screen legend Robert De Niro has the day’s free acting lesson.

The actor, on a whistle stop at the Toronto Film Festival to promote “Stone”, which co-stars Edward Norton and Milla Jovovich, told Reuters the secret to great acting is keeping on-screen reactions to a minimum.

Ian Somerhalder dishes on season 2 of “The Vampire Diaries”


What a difference a year makes. Just ask “The Vampire Diaries” actor Ian Somerhalder, who spoke with Reuters recently about the issues close to his heart — the environment and animal welfare, as well as the hit CW show, the fans and what’s in store so far for season 2. Here’s more from our chat:


Q: You’ve been back on set for a few weeks now. What’s it like? Thinking back to a year ago when people weren’t sure whether things were going to take off?

Shocko Spocko — Just what the Universe needs. Another “Star Trek” book!


Just what the Universe needs – another “Star Trek” book!startrekbook

In the merchandising Universe that is “Star Trek”, where cash flush Trekkies can buy everything from a USS Enterprise shaped bottle opener to a Photon Torpedo replica coffin, another book about Star Trek might not show up on anybody’s scanners,  but “Star Trek The Original Series 365″ , by Paula M. Block with Terry J. Erdmann (available now from Abrams Books, NY., $29.99), is packed with  interesting data and fun facts.

Block and Erdman are no strangers to the history of Star Trek’s future having previously written a number of books dealing with Trek’s Universe.  With ” Star Trek The Original Series 365″,  they take the reader back to the big bang of all things Trek, the Original Series. The book begins with a concise introduction by Dorothy “D.C.” Fontana, well known to Trek fans as a former writer and story editor on the Original Series.

Toronto film festival — bedbug free and ready to roll


With the Toronto International Film Festival set to kick off  on Thursday, organizers appear to have dodged a nasty subplot that could have turned the 11-day drama into a horror movie.

The trouble began last week after a Toronto woman woke up with itchy spots on her back after visiting the Scotiabank Theatre, where several festival movies will screen. bed bug