Here we go! Thank-you TIFF friends & partners

by W. Andrew Powell
Toronto International Film Festival - Bell Lightbox

One moment it’s January and you start planning to do something big for TIFF, and the next it’s September and you’re a few days away from the festival. The last eight months have been a blur, but it’s been nothing less than a thrill ride all along the way, with challenges, and rewards, at every turn.

With the Toronto International Film Festival just a few days away, I thought it was a good opportunity to say thanks to a lot of people, because this year is looking pretty fantastic.

For TIFF 2017, The GATE is hosting an interview lounge, presented by Hamilton Watch, and planning has taken more time than I could have expected, but it has been something unique to do for my 17th year covering the festival. The GATE has a space for interviews, we’re capturing portraits in the lounge, there’s even space to just sit and relax, and on top of that we’re bringing in rescue dogs through Save Our Scruff for a little cuddle-time for anyone who needs a break.

Then there’s a VR experience for a guided meditation with House of VR, premium Scotch whisky from The Macallan, refreshing low-calorie drinks from Sparkling Ice, skin care for men and women courtesy of Flawless by Frday, 4k video streaming with Roku, beer courtesy of Woodhouse Brewing, and gluten-free treats from Impact Kitchen.

The whole experience would not have been possible without the support of Hamilton Watch. The company came on board as our title partner early on, and they’ve been nothing short of amazing. I’ll proudly be wearing my new Hamilton Ventura watch throughout TIFF, and we’re giving one away to a lucky winner later this week!

Hamilton has been a great partner all along. They took me down to Hollywood last fall for their Hamilton Behind The Camera Awards, where we toured prop-rental company History for Hire, interviewed Dunkirk production designer Nathan Crowley for his ODC X-03 watch design, and then interviewed honourees on the red carpet before the event, including Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins, and Mike Mills for 20th Century Women.

The Government of Canada, through the Canadian Periodical Fund and Canadian Heritage has also been a huge supporter of not just our Interview Lounge, but The GATE in general. This is our third project with the initiative, and it’s incredibly rewarding, and one of the most important tools to help us innovate and expand.

I’ve spent a lot of time planning for the interview lounge, but I haven’t been the only one involved. Early on writers Bonnie Laufer Krebs and Andrew Parker signed on to contribute, and will be writing and doing interviews in the lounge. Rick McGinnis returns as our official TIFF portrait photographer. And photographer and friend of The GATE, as well as my brother-in-law, Matthew Romaschin will be our interview videographer for part of the event.

I’m also lucky to be working with social media guru Joshua Grant, and all-star publicists Alina and Emily from Alina Publicity have been integral in helping bring together a lot of the elements for the lounge.

And you know who else I need to thank? As always, it’s the publicists handling TIFF and TIFF films and talent. I spend hours a day coordinating with the publicists, and setting up interviews, and my coverage would be nothing without their help. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank-you!

You can follow along for all the fun on social media with the hashtag #GATELounge17.


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