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Live Reporting

Genevieve Hassan

All times stated are UK

  1. That's a wrap!

    So that's it for our live coverage of this year's festival. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

    It's been a busy week with so many red carpets they're going to need a big vacuum cleaner to scrub it up well for TIFF 2016.

    Watch this space to see which film wins the coveted People's Choice Award on Sunday - will it be next year's Oscar winner?

    As I leave, I'm reminded of Ridley Scott's The Martian. Posters of Matt Damon's face have been all over Toronto bearing the tagline "Bring Him Home".

    A couple of days ago I was offered the chance to have my face put in the poster. I was told to adopt the sort of expression I'd make if I found out I was stranded on Mars - but it looks more like I'm on the receiving end of a cattle prod.

    See you next year TIFF, I'm going home.

    The Martian poster

    Man Who Knew Infinity

    I've spent my last hours in Toronto interviewing Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel, who are starring together in The Man Who Knew Infinity. 

    Set in 1913, it tells the true story of an Indian maths genius who travelled to Cambridge University and, with the help of his eccentric professor and mentor, changed mathematics forever. 

    It sounds like a hard sell - a film about maths - but to use a well worn cliche I've heard many times over the past week, "it's much more than that". 

    Patel revealed he is not very good at maths himself, even admitting he struggles to work out how much to tip at restaurants. While Irons was remarkably laid back, taking the time to roll a cigarette with liquorice paper. 

    Keep an eye out for a feature on the film nearer to its release date next year. 

    Mr Right

    I also caught comedy hit man/romcom Mr Right - the festival's closing film starring Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell and Tim Roth. 

    Rockwell plays a hit man on the run who unexpectedly falls in love with Kendrick's character. It was a fun film and I chuckled a lot throughout at its quirkiness.

    The guy next to me did fall asleep around the 40min mark though, but when he woke up 20mins later he was chuckling away too. 

    I put it down to spending far too many hours in dark rooms sitting in comfy reclining chairs.

  3. Film round-up

    As it's my last day at the festival today, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on some of the other films I've seen during my time here.


    A big screen adaptation of Emma Donoghue's 2010 Booker-nominated novel, starring Brie Larson as a woman who is held captive in a small room with her young son for years.

    Larson puts in a great performance, but it is Jacob Tremblay, who plays the young Jack, that will have people talking. I wouldn't be surprised if both of them are recognised in some way when award season begins.

    From my view on the balcony of the Princess of Wales Theatre, I saw lots of people dabbing their eyes and wiping away tears so if you catch it at the London Film Festival next month bring some tissues, Otherwise you'll have to wait until January for a wider UK release.

    View more on youtube
    Eye in the Sky

    Eye in the Sky

    The politics and ethics of drone warfare are examined in this thriller starring Dame Helen Mirren as the intelligence officer in a secret drone operation to capture a group of terrorists in Kenya. But after it turns into a kill mission, tensions rise when a young girl finds herself in the blast area.

    Eye in the Sky feels a bit late to the party on this issue. While the premise is OK in itself, and tries to raise tension from all the government indecision, the film is nowhere near as good as Ethan Hawke's drone drama Good Kill which showed at TIFF last year. 

    That film was filled with far more suspense and better examined the ethics of the issue through the eyes of a drone pilot. 


    Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult star in this sci-fi romance set in a futurist society where emotions have been eradicated. But when a new disease - SOS (Switched-On Syndrome) starts to spread, switching people's emotions back on, the two leads have to escape after they become infected.

    Maybe it was because I saw this film on an Imax screen, but I have now seen enough soft focus, super close-up shots of Stewart's angst-ridden face to last a lifetime.

    It's your standard teen/young adult type fare, which I doubt will have much of a wider appeal past its target audience.

    View more on youtube


    This adaptation of JG Ballad's 1975 novel has taken some 30 years to get off the ground as it was apparently too difficult to make. Ben Wheatley took up the challenge to direct - with his wife writing the script.

    Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller and Jeremy Irons star as some of the residents in a modern apartment block, which becomes a class-war battlefield after a power failure.

    It may well become a cult film for its style, but it was a bit too random and all over the place for me. 

    If you're not a fan of copious amounts of violence, are squeamish, or get upset at cruelty to animals, this probably isn't for you.

    Dark Horse

    This documentary follows the group of friends from a working men's club in Wales, who pooled their resources to breed racehorse Dream Alliance - which subsequently went on to win the 2009 Welsh Grand National.

    It does a great job illustrating the snobbery the group experienced, having raised their horse on an allotment before racing him at Aintree. 

    The people in the screening behind me were left scratching their heads on numerous occasions though, as they couldn't understand the Welsh accents or a few of the jokes.

    I'm sure they didn't appreciate the references to Butlins, Asda or the footage of Clare Balding either...

    View more on youtube
  4. TV joins TIFF

    For the first time this year, TIFF decided to showcase TV programmes.

    Describing its new Primetime strand as "serial storytelling: television in its artistic renaissance", six shows have been showcased.

    Among them include Jason Reitman comedy Casuals, Argentinian thriller Cromo, the second season of French thriller The Returned and rebooted US drama Heroes Reborn.

    The cast of the latter show attended the premiere screening of the first two episodes on Wednesday - a week ahead of its broadcast in North America.

    Cast of Heroes Reborn
    Cast of Heroes Reborn

    I watched the first episode last night, which begins in 2014 with Evos - i.e those who have powers - out in the open. But after a terrorist attack on an Evo conference, they're forced into hiding, hunted down and killed.

    It sees some familiar faces from the first time round return to the show - and as someone who stuck out Heroes for its original four seasons, it shows a lot of promise.

    Hopefully the fact Heroes Reborn is only a 13-episode mini-series and not a full 22-episode season will help keep the story on track and not wander around the wilderness while it tries to fill time in between plot points.


    Freeheld still

    I finally caught a screening of Freeheld - the Julianne Moore and Ellen Page film which tells the true story of New Jersey detective Laurel Hester, who fought to leave her pension to her partner, Stacie Andree after she was diagnosed with cancer.

    It pretty much has Oscar written all over it.  

    Much like last year's The Theory of Everything, the score for this film - this time provided by Hans Zimmer and The Smiths' Johnny Marr - evoked a lot of the tears from the people around me.  

    There was lots of sniffling and snuffling, and blowing of noses once Hester is given her devastating news.

    I reckon Moore could earn herself another best actress nod for her performance, with Page probably nabbing a supporting actress nomination too. 

    Steve Carrell also has a very funny turn as gay rights activist Steven Goldstein - "that's Steven with a 'v', as in 'very gay'," he says.

    The end credits song, written by former 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry and sung by Miley Cyrus, is pretty good too.

  6. TIFF shines spotlight on London films

    City to City programme

    Since London is in the spotlight at the festival, Film London and the British Film Commission has been maintaining a large presence with the aim of promoting the UK film industry and getting more production in the country.

    I spoke with chief executive officer Adrian Wootton about what they've been up to.

    How do you hope the City to City programme will help get more production into the UK?

    A festival the calibre of TIFF giving films and film-makers from London this kind of platform is hugely rare and incredibly valuable. It is fantastic exposure for some of our emerging talent, while also putting an international spotlight on our industry. 

    We've been working hard to promote the UK as the best place in the world to make movies, but it is the films coming out of the UK that are the best possible advert for our industry. 

    They showcase the excellence of our writers, directors and producers, but also the diversity of our stories, as well as our crew and infrastructure etc. 

    Our strategy in TIFF has been to capitalise on the London focus, using this to showcase everything the UK industry has to offer - and using the 40+ UK films screening at TIFF to help us tell the international industry the UK is the best place in the world to make films.  

    The Martian

    Have SFX companies like Framestore providing effects for Gravity and The Martian given Hollywood a wake-up call as to what else the UK has to offer?

    The UK's VFX offer has developed into the world's best over the last 10-15 years and Hollywood has been taking advantage of this excellence for quite some time. 

    Our production infrastructure is also frequently utilised by Hollywood: Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation, are just just three examples of global busters out this year which were produced in the UK. 

    However, we know there is always more we can do, which is why we are out here at TIFF, talking to the international industry to ensure they know exactly what the UK can offer and how we can deliver for their projects. 

    Why should the public care, isn't this just something the film industry will benefit from?

    The productions industries are one the UK's most thriving - they deliver for the economy, have continued to grow while other industries have slowed, and create tens of thousands of jobs.

    UK-shot film and television seen the world over also act as adverts for the UK - and research shows locations viewed on screen is a powerful driver for tourism. 

    Also, we are supporting a rich diversity of film-making, helping film-makers to bring British stories of every kind to the screen for UK and international audiences. 

  7. Random questions

    As is usually the case at press events involving international journalists, there are always some random - and quite frankly bizarre - questions asked of the celebrities.

    My experience at this festival is no exception, so here is my top five weird questions I've encountered:

    1. What do you think of sci-fi as a genre and do you like it? - to Blade Runner, Alien and The Martian director Ridley Scott.
    2. What are your tips for people to do in Toronto? - to American actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
    3. You've bought a house in Mexico, what do you think about Donald Trump's comments about Mexicans? - to George Clooney.
    4. Is there any comparison between movie making and riding a bike? - to Stephen Frears, director of Lance Armstrong film The Program.
    5. What is the best tasting breed of dog to eat? - to Tom Hiddleston, referencing a scene in JG Ballard adaptation High-Rise. This journalist was actually British...
  8. Middle class has 'choke-hold' on UK film

    Michael Caton-Jones

    One of the strands at this year's TIFF is the City to City programme, which hightlights films from one particular "city undergoing a disturbance or transformation".

    In the past, Seoul, Tel Aviv and Buenos Aires have been featured, but this year the spotlight is on London.

    Six directors attended a press conference yesterday to talk about their films, the process of making films in London and British film-making in general.

    I asked the panel if they felt pressure to conform to stereotypes - tight-laced dramas about posh people or gritty urban tragedies - in order to appeal to a broader international market.

    It sparked a heated and passionate 10-minute debate, with Rob Roy director Michael Caton-Jones (pictured) complaining the middle class had a "choke-hold" on UK film, stifling creativity.

    David Farr claimed it was "posh people" who were the problem, while Elaine Constantine said the US was to blame because audiences don't understand northern accents.

    You can read more about their comments in our story - or watch the full press conference below. My question is around the 26 minute mark.

    View more on youtube
  9. Brie Larson wins IMDB award

    Brie Larson

    Brie Larson, star of the big screen adaptation of the best-selling novel Room, was the guest of honour at a ceremony last night where she was presented with IMDB's Starmeter Award.

    The prize recognises breakout stars on the website's Starmeter chart, determined by the search behaviour of IMDB’s users.

    The actress Instagrammed a picture of herself with IMDB founder Col Needham, who presented her with the award,

    She said: 

    Quote Message: Thank you IMDB for honouring me tonight with your Starmeter breakthrough award. Because of my chameleon-like abilities to disappear into different characters, no one would know I was in the films I'm in without you.
    View more on instagram

    There are more than 20 films showing at TIFF this year that focus on LGBT issues.

    As well as The Danish Girl and Freeheld, the others include gay rights drama Stonewall; gender identity story About Ray - starring Elle Fanning as a teenage girl living as a boy; and Canadian film Closet Monster, about a teen unsure of his sexuality.

    There's also Swedish film Girls Lost, based on the successful teen novel Pojkarna, written by Jessica Schiefauer.

    It follows three 14-year-old girls who, after drinking the nectar of a magical plant, turn into boys at night.

    Kim, already unsure of her gender identity, embraces her new form; Momo begins to fall in love with Kim; while Bella is just happy the change isn't permanent.

    Girls Lost still

    The book caused some debate in Sweden because it was aimed at teenagers. The film is rated for an 11+ audience in the country - which definitely wouldn't be the case in the UK audience, thanks to its use of sexually aggressive language and the sexual bullying the girls endure. However, there is already talk of a Hollywood take on the book.

    I spoke with director Alexandra-Therese Keining about bringing the novel to the big screen. 

    What first interested you about the book?

    I was drawn to it because it was such a fantastic mix of magic and realism, and the whole gender aspect really fascinated me. 

    I was inspired by [gender theorist] Judith Butler - she has a very exciting thesis about gender where it is not something you are from the beginning: You can manipulate it and change it in different kind of ways, more like a fluid state.

    Girls Lost still

    As the book was controversial in Sweden, do you expect your film to get the same treatment?

    I think [the film] might be provocative to some people and a bit uncomfortable, perhaps. 

    I wouldn't mind the debate actually because it is quite an important theme. [The characters] being such a young age and going through that kind of dilemma I find very, very sad.

    The message I want people to take away is the opening statement of the movie - if you're closed, this story isn't for you. But if you are open, watch it and learn something.

  11. 'I'm never a real person'

    Kevin Bacon lamented yesterday that he's never played a real-life character on screen. In Black Mass he stars as the FBI agent  in charge of bringing down gangster Whitey Bulger.

    But while Depp portrays the true sinister criminal, Bacon's character was a combination of several people rolled into one.

    View more on twitter

    At the premiere last night, I reminded the actor he starred as the real-life astronaut Jack Swigert in 1995 film Apollo 13.

    "Oh yeah.... I forgot about one," he replied.

    I guess when you have 80 film and TV credits to your name it's easy to forget what you did 20 years ago.  Even if the film did win two Oscars.

  12. Also on the red carpet

    Other premieres last night included the Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth comedy drama, The Dressmaker. Both stars posed with fans on the red carpet.

    Kate Winslet
    Liam Hemsworth

    The cast of Spotlight - including Brian d"Arcy James, Liev Schreiber, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery and Michael Keaton - also gathered for their screening.

    Cast of Spotlight

    Based on the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered a child molestation scandal and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, some of the journalists who are depicted in the film also attended the premiere.

    Cast of Spotlight

    Mark Ruffalo decided to Periscope his red carpet experience, which you can still catch for the next few hours.

  13. Tissues at the ready

    Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette

    Drew Barrymore and Toni Collete were in town over the weekend for their latest film, Miss You Already - a comedy drama about two life-long friends whose relationship is tested when one of them is diagnosed with cancer.

    Written by British comedy actress Morwenna Banks (aka the voice of Mummy Pig in Peppa Pig), it's being released in the UK this month to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    Speaking at a press screening in London before TIFF, Banks said it took a long time to get the film made.

    "There's a difficulty in tackling the subject of cancer in a film with jokes in it," she explained.

    She also praised Collette, who plays cancer patient Milly, for having "no vanity" while making the film.

    "I didn't' want a romanticised view of cancer, I wanted the raw reality. We often talk about people 'battling' cancer - but they don't always become heroes and saints. Milly fights back, but fights dirty."

    Miss You Already tissues

    At the screening I went to, there were small packs of Miss You Already branded tissues on the arms of all the chairs.

    I noticed early on a couple of early eye-dabbers around me, but then at one particularly emotional point there was a collective sound of plastic rustling as scores of people opened their packs to get at their hankies.

    So be prepared for a bit of a weepy.


    As expected, about half of Toronto came to the Elgin Theatre to catch a glimpse of Johnny Depp arrive for the Black Mass premiere.

    After he made a surprise appearance on Saturday to support his wife, Amber Heard, at her film premiere, the actress returned the favour.

    Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

    Stars of the film including Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon and Joel Edgerton walked the red carpet and spoke to press, which I took a few snaps of.

    View more on instagram
    View more on instagram

    But as Depp himself arrived fashionably late, he was literally bundled down the press line by about four bodyguards, without stopping to chat. I managed to catch a blurry image of him as he was whisked past.

    View more on instagram

    He did, however, have time to stop right in front of me while Joel Edgerton was speaking to us and jokingly square off against him, blowing him a kiss. The cameraman next to me caught it all on camera and kindly let me film the moment through his viewfinder.

    View more on instagram
  15. Mother knows best

    Johnny Depp in Black Mass

    Black Mass sees Johnny Depp play notorious US gangster James "Whitey" Bulger - the gangster-turned-FBI informant who became one of the most ruthless and dangerous criminals in Boston history.

    The star gives a sinister performance with an unblinking steely glare that even made me feel uncomfortable in my seat.

    His turn has received great reviews - with Depp joking director Scott Cooper had "revived my career" after a series of flops.

    There's a great scene in the film where Bulger gives some questionable advice to his young son.

    At this afternoon's press conference, Depp revealed the advice his mother gave him for how to deal with bullies. Watch below.

    View more on instagram
  16. Good grief!

    I interviewed some of the coolest guys in the world yesterday - Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Yes really.

    I also spoke with Lucy, Linus, Sally and PigPen (he was a bit stinky).

    It was all to promote the upcoming Peanuts Movie, which is out in the UK in December.

    As you can imagine, a bit of computer jiggery-pokery needs to be done, so I'll hopefully be able to bring you the video in the next day or so.

    In the meantime, here's the trailer.

    View more on youtube
  17. Johnny madness

    Johnny Depp will be on the red carpet tonight for the premiere of crime drama Black Mass.

    After the hysteria he caused the other day when he surprisingly appeared at The Danish Girl premiere, I'm almost expecting a police presence in case things get a bit too crazy.

    Before that, he'll be attending an official TIFF press conference with his co-stars at midday (17:00 UK time). You'll be able to watch it streamed live on YouTube below, which is currently counting down the seconds until his arrival.

    View more on youtube
  18. Freeheld hopes for better tolerance

    Last night saw the premiere of marriage equal rights film Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page.

    Moore stars in the real-life drama as police detective Laurel Hester, who fought New Jersey county officials to leave her pension to her partner Stacie Andree (Ellen Page) after being diagnosed with cancer.  

    Moore told us she hoped the film would help create tolerance towards LGBT issues: 

    Quote Message: Discrimination occurs when something is perceived as other and different from you. The more familiar you are to it, the less you are able to do that and I think films can make you feel that way about different things.
    View more on instagram

    Ellen Page added it was more than just a film about marriage equality:

    Quote Message: First and foremost it's a love story and that's what you hope will come across to people - straight or gay.
    View more on instagram

    The film is released in the US on 2 October. It has yet to receive a UK distributor, but here's the trailer to give you a taster.

    View more on youtube

    Chris O'Dowd

    On Saturday I spoke with Irish funnyman Chris O'Dowd yesterday about his latest film, The Program.

    Directed by Stephen Frears, it follows cyclist Lance Armstrong's fall from grace after admitting to doping, and the journalist who exposed him.

    O'Dowd plays Sunday Times writer David Walsh, who spent years trying to reveal the extent of Armstrong's deception.

    Alpha Dog star Ben Foster stars as the cyclist - who bears such an uncanny resemblance to Armstrong he could almost be his double. Take a look at him in the trailer.

    View more on youtube

    The actor went to great lengths to prepare for his role, including taking performance enhancing drugs to better understand Armstrong and see how the drugs work.

    He saw the results for himself when he found he had more energy and was able to cycle for longer and harder than he was previously able.

    Surprisingly, he didn't tell anyone he was doing it until he revealed it in an interview on Thursday.

    O'Dowd must have missed the memo as I was the one who ended up telling him about it.

    "I wasn't aware," he told me, adding jokingly: "He didn't offer me any - I know I could've done with some drugs to enhance my performance." 

    He said he thought Foster's plan was "very smart", adding: "I think if you have to take drugs in a role, it's very hard to do without taking the drug at some stage in your life.”

    Read more about Chris's comments.

  20. Return of the Man in Black

    Despite slowly announcing over the past few days who would be taking part in his live read-through of The Princess Bride script, Jason Reitman kept the two best castings a secret.    

    Prince Humperdinck, originally played by Chris Sarandon, would be played by Sir Patrick Stewart - and Westley, originally played by Cary Elwes, would be played by.... CARY ELWES!

    Cast of Princess Bride script read through

    It would appear Gael Garcia Bernal didn't make the performance, which is a shame. Reitman tweeted an earlier plea to an airline to get him there on time, but it looks like they failed.

    View more on twitter

    Unfortunately for me, because The Danish Girl premiere overran, the staff at the Ryerson Theatre wouldn't let me in for the Princess Bride event.

    My seat had been given away and I wasn't allowed to stand at the back, so I had to miss out. Inconceivable!

    TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey filmed the cast being introduced onto the stage, with Elwes receiving a standing ovation. 

    Just these three minutes looked amazing. I'm genuinely gutted.

    View more on youtube
  21. Eddie on his Oscar chances

    View more on instagram

    Speaking of The Danish Girl premiere, Eddie Redmayne told me he spent a considerable amount of time researching the role.

    Quote Message: I spent a year meeting members of the trans community from different generations and their generosity and kindness at explaining their stories... in order to educate me and to educate cisgender people was wonderful.

    The star said it had been a privilege to portray Lili Elbe on screen, but played down his chances of picking up a second Oscar for his performance.

    Read the story and see pictures of the stars on the red carpet on our Instagram page.

  22. Here's Johnny!

    There was an unexpected surprise at The Danish Girl premiere last night when Johnny Depp arrived on the red carpet to support his wife, Amber Heard, who stars alongside Eddie Redmayne in the film.

    Amber Heard and Johnny Depp

    Standing inside the Princess of Wales Theatre with the rest of the gathered press, we heard a massive scream from outside unlike anything I've heard before.

    Then the news quickly spread down the line like wildfire and everyone inside was equally excited. He didn't stop to chat though, and was whisked past us as the reporter next to me called out: "Johnny, Canada loves you!"

    The North American premiere of Depp's latest film, Black Mass, is happening on Monday - I expect there'll be even more excitement then.

  23. 3D glasses update

    After my earlier plea for smaller 3D glasses to wear at the cinema, I have been reliably informed there are actually smaller sizes available.

    I have no idea how this crucial bit of information has passed me by all these years and why I've never been offered them before. Possibly because as a grown-up, it's assumed I wouldn't have a head the size of an infant's.

    To save the embarrassment of me having to ask for a pair, I have a kind benefactor who is going to give me some - which I'm sure will revolutionise my life.


    The Danish GIrl

    I caught The Danish Girl Saturday morning - Eddie Redmayne's follow-up film after his Oscar-winning turn in The Theory of Everything - about Lili Elbe, the first transgender woman to undergo sex reassignment surgery.

    It's another powerful performance from Redmayne, who brilliantly captures his character's internal anguish through the subtlest of facial expressions and gestures.

    Tom Hooper's camera direction makes for a beautifully shot film, with an equally stirring score.

    Alicia Vikander's portrayal of Elbe's wife, Gerda, who supports Lili through her transformation, is also worth a mention for her vulnerability on screen.

    It has all the hallmarks of another Oscar-winning performance, but we'll have to see if any other contenders for the best actor prize emerge over the coming months.

    I have to say, I was personally quite disappointed at the reaction of some of the other press around me at the screening, who laughed at pivotal moments of the film which were patently not funny.

    Scenes where Gerda discovered Lili wearing a dress for the first time, Lili's first kiss with a man, being told she was insane by doctors accompanied by orderlies with a straitjacket - all were met with laughter from large groups of the audience.

    While there are moments of humour in the film, I doubt it was Tom Hooper's intention to make light of the issue.

    View more on youtube
  25. TIFF Kids tackles serious drama for young movie goers

    As well as the big ticket films movie lovers are keen to see at TIFF, organisers also put on four films as part of their TIFF Kids programme, to make it inclusive for all the family.

    This year, as well as screening a remastered and slightly extended edition of the animated classic The Iron Giant, there is another film tackling a serious subject seldom seen on the big screen.

    Swedish film My Skinny Sister follows 12-year-old Stella (Rebecka Josephson), who discovers her older sister Katja (Amy Deasismont) develops an eating disorder in her quest to be a successful figure skater.

    My Skinny Sister

    It goes on to deal with the emotional dilemma Stella faces on whether to tell her parents or not, and the strain the illness puts on her family when the secret is finally revealed.

    I spoke with Sanna Lenken, who wrote and directed the film.

    What was the inspiration behind the film?

    It was personal in many ways. I had been sick myself and I've seen too many girls starting to starve or puke and then end up in a clinic. I felt very strongly the topic of eating disorders hadn't been on the screen very much. 

    There was a story to be told from a new perspective - it's not only one girl who gets sick, a whole family is affected.For me the disease is very telling about our society. It’s mostly girls who get it, and in my opinion it’s because of the limitations and demands on being a ”women”. 

    To be able to survive, to gain some sort of power and not filled with angst, you start to control yourself through food. It’s society which is the crazy one and not the girls who are sick.

    If we lived in an equal world I’m sure the disease wouldn't be as big of an issue as it is now. 

    My Skinny SIster

    You don't get many feature films about eating disorders - let alone one aimed at teenagers and children - why do you think that is?

    I think it’s because of the lack of directors who are female. We need more perspectives and experiences about life than only from a male perspective.

    What message do you hope people will take away after watching the film?

    That it is important to be free as a person and to be healthy. A child or a girl shouldn't have to face the challenges that Katja and Stella struggle with in the film.

    Something has to change. And one little step is to feel less lonely and to discuss things. That’s the feeling I hope to convey to the audience.  

  26. Red carpet action

    Toronto is definitely the place to be if you want to celebrity spot. Here's a look at some of the stars that walked the red carpet at the other premieres on Friday night.

    Emily Blunt

    Emily Blunt was out to promote drug thriller Sicario.

    Benicio del Toro

    Her co-star Benicio del Toro got caught in the rain as he arrived.

    Dame Helen Mirren

    Dame Helen Mirren signed autographs for fans ahead of the screening of drone drama Eye in the the Sky.

    Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

    George Clooney made a surprise appearance at the premiere of Sandra Bullock's political drama Our Brand is Crisis. The actor served as a producer on the film.

    Tom Hiddleston

    And Tom Hiddleston took selfies with fans ahead of the screening of his Hank Williams biopic, I Saw the Light.

  27. Stars out for The Martian premiere

    The Martian premiere was a bit of a wash out as the heavens opened and stars had to walk a soggy red carpet.

    Practically all the cast including Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Sean Bean and director Ridley Scott attended.

    Jessica Chastain

    As a journalist on the red carpet, it was a bit of a wash out too - with the stars running late, they were mostly whisked past me - even Sean Bean. 

    But I did manage to get across Matt Damon telling another reporter he believed the human race will eventually need to get to Mars.

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    Ahead of the film's premiere screening, the cast and Ridley Scott also took to the stage to introduce it to the audience.

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    TIFF Periscoped all the red carpet arrivals if you want to watch it.  

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  28. Critics react to The Martian

    The Martian

    Reviews are out for The Martian - and they're pretty good.

    Here's a sample:

    Hollywood Reporter: Ridley Scott goes back to the future, a familiar destination for him, and returns in fine shape in The Martian. Constantly absorbing rather than outright exciting, this major autumn release should generate muscular business worldwide.  

    Variety: The Martian should do far more than just make Fox a ton of money; it could conceivably rekindle interest in the space program and inspire a new generation of future astronauts.

    Daily Telegraph: Nail-biting it ain't, but thanks to a zingy script and a winning lost-in-space performance from Matt Damon, this is the most fun Ridley Scott has been in years

    Toronto Sun: It’s a big, captivating adventure, grounded in science but fueled by emotion. The only problem with The Martian is it’s just too good at, well, solving problems. 

  29. Dear 3D glasses manufacturers...

    Not that I've taken Jake Gyllenhaal's advice about letter writing to heart, but please, PLEASE, can you make glasses for children to wear at the cinema?

    I've been graced with a particularly small head for an adult and the pair I had to wear to watch The Martian kept slipping off my nose while being slightly crossed-eyed to focus out of the inner corners.

    I'm sure the small-headed among us would be eternally grateful.


    During The Martian press conference, Matt Damon gave a demonstration of how to act like you're in space. I'll be sure to give it a try when I get home.

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  31. 'Mars, fear my botany power'

    The above quip is one of many uttered by Matt Damon in The Martian. The film sees the star play astronaut Mark Watney, who is stranded on Mars after a mission has to be aborted and the crew leave him behind, presumed dead.

    With only a short supply of food and water, Watney is left in a bit of a pickle - so it's a good job he's also a botanist so he can grow his own potato farm on the inhospitable planet until rescue arrives.

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    Based on Andy Weir's book with a script by Buffy the Vampire Slayer writer Drew Goddard, it's a full throttle romp that makes science fun and funny - in a Big Bang Theory kind of way.

    At the press conference after the screening, Damon said Goddard described the film to him as a "love letter to science", and it really is.

    Damon totally carries the film and with stunning cinematography and special effects - provided by British SFX company Framestore, who were also behind Gravity - it's one of Ridley Scott's best films in years.

    There's also a great disco soundtrack - which will make sense when you see the film.

    Speaking of the press conference, the event featured quite possibly the largest talent line-up I've ever seen, with 13 cast members in attendance, 

    Despite the moderator's best efforts to get everyone to say something, poor Sean Bean was overlooked. He didn't even get an introduction at the start either when the credits of his co-stars were being exhaustively read out.

    I'll make sure I speak to him on the red carpet tonight so he doesn't feel too left out.

    You can watch the full press conference below.

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  32. Red carpet-tastic

    It is a bumper night of red carpets later with five films receiving their premieres.

    Dame Helen Mirren will be out to promote drone drama Eye in the Sky, as will Sandra Bullock for political film Our Brand is Crisis.

    British actors Emily Blunt and Tom Hiddleston will also be out for their films Sicario and I Saw the Light.

    But the film most are looking forward to is Ridley Scott's sci-fi adventure The Martian, starring Matt Damon.

    I'll be on the red carpet - which TIFF will be Periscoping (the event, not me thankfully) - and there's a press conference about to start which you'll be able to watch streamed live on YouTube.

  33. Jake's letter-writing complaints

    Jake Gyllenhaal

    As Demolition is about a man who writes letters to a vending machine company, it was inevitable Jake Gyllenhall would be asked if he had ever written a complaint letter to anyone at the film's press conference.

    It turned out he had:

    Quote Message: When I was at school we were supposed to learn how to write complaint letters. So I decided to write to Kentucky Fried Chicken to say I was upset they discontinued Chicken Littles - which were a particular type of mini hamburger with fried chicken in the middle.
    Quote Message: It was deeply upsetting to me at the time and I thought they should bring it back, and I think indirectly, I had something to do with [it bring brought back onto menus]. It's empowering and I encourage most people, if they can, to really express themselves and bring back whatever they think has been taken away from them in their lives - in my case really important things, like fried chicken.

    Jake also praised the idea of letter writing as the central theme to the film, adding; 

    Quote Message: Handwritten things are becoming less and less of an importance to certain generations and that's why I loved it - ironically it feels fresh because it's old school.

    You can watch the whole press conference below - Jake's KFC complaint is around 24:15.  

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  34. Talk of the town

    Jake Gyllenhaal

    Jake Gyllenhaal's beard is a hot topic on local TV this morning: Everyone is talking about whether it suits him or not.

    I'm not entirely sure why, because he has been sporting it for some months now. But nevertheless, it's the talk of the town.

    There was also a lot of praise for Naomi Watts' dress on the red carpet.

    Naomi Watts

    The Demolition cast and director are about to give a press conference on the film - I will see you on the other side.

  35. Demolition launches TIFF

    Opening night gala Demolition went down well with the audience at the Princess of Wales Theatre.

    I managed to get a front row seat for the best view of Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and the rest of cast as they introduced the world premiere of their film.

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    The comedy drama sees Gyllenhaal star as grieving widow Davis, whose life unravels after his wife dies in a car crash, and his subsequent attempt to rebuild it.

    After a vending machine fails to dispense its chocolate peanuts to Davis Mitchell at the hospital - I know, but stick with me - he writes a letter of complaint to the machine's company. 

    Naomi Watts stars as Karen, the customer service rep who forms a bond with Davis as his letters become more personal and revealing.

    The film then mixes scenes of Davis trying to cope with his grief with various crazy scenarios including smashing his house to bits, dancing in the street and getting shot in an attempt to start afresh.

    I chuckled quite a few times, but I doubt it will win any awards - especially as it's not out in the US until next April, well after award season ends.

    Reaction on Twitter from the audience was generally positive:

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    However critics were less kind, with more leaning towards the negative.

    The Guardian: "A frustratingly aimless soul-search that veers uncomfortably between quirk and melancholy."

    Screen Daily: "A self-consciously quirky comedy-drama that badly overestimates how captivating its damaged, searching characters are."

    Variety: "Jake Gyllenhaal gives his best performance since Brokeback Mountain."

    The film has yet to secure a UK distributor and release date, so watch this space.


    Tom Hiddleston is at TIFF with two movies - High-Rise and Hank Williams biopic, I Saw the Light.

    He's now tweeted the first clip from the latter musical film. Watch him flex his vocal cords below.

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  37. Inconceivable!

    One of the things I'm most excited about this weekend is director Jason Reitman's live script reading of classic film The Princess Bride.

    Here's some of cast snapped back in 1987 when the film won TIFF's People's Choice Award.

    Cast of Princess Bride

    Reitman, who will also narrate at the event, has begun announcing on Twitter the stars that will be taking part.

    So far, he's announced Community star Donald Glover - aka rapper Childish Gambino - will be playing the role of Vizzini, originally played by Wallace Shawn, and Canadian actor Gage Munroe will be reading as the grandson, made famous by Fred Savage.

    Although no one can really fill Andre the Giant's shoes, Reitman has chosen former NHL star Georges Laraque to play Fezzik.

    As for Inigo Montoya, the director has just revealed it will be read by Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal. A piece of inspired casting I reckon - although it probably helps the star is in town to promote his new film, Desierto.

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    As we await news of further casting, I've spotted Cary Elwes - who originally played Westley in the film - is also going to be in town to promote his latest movie, Being Charlie.

    If he is not brought back for this reading it will be a crime.

  38. 'Let's do this'

    It's a beautifully sunny morning in Toronto as we count down to opening gala Demolition later.

    TIFF's artistic director Cameron Bailey just tweeted this picture on a streetcar emblazoned with the festival's logo.

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    One of the reasons TIFF is so popular is the ability for the Average Joe to buy tickets to see the films - and then vote for their favourite to win the top prize, the People's Choice Award, at the end of the festival.

    Tickets went on sale at the weekend and there was a mad scramble on TIFF's website. This was my place in the queue when I went online on Sunday - with screenings for Demolition, Black Mass and The Danish Girl already sold out.

    TIFF tickets

    For those lucky enough to get tickets for Demolition tonight, they'll not only get to see the film months before its general release, but they'll also get the chance to rub shoulders with stars such as Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts - along with Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee - who are expected to introduce the film on stage.

    It's quite a good reward for the $22.75 ticket price.

    I'm lucky to also get a ticket, but for everyone else, here's the trailer.

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    Natalie Portman

    Natalie Portman wore a rather fetching floral dress to the Soiree last night.

    Organisers live streamed the red carpet on Periscope, with the actress answering one question sourced from the festival's Twitter followers - on the film industry's attitudes to women.

    She said:

    Quote Message: I don’t know that I’ve seen them change, but I do feel that there’s a lot of conversation right now about female directors, and why there aren’t more of them.
    Quote Message: I think the conversation is pushing studios to hire more women and also for women to start getting more inspiration and support... which is exciting. It hasn’t quite changed yet, but the conversation is, I think, a big, important step.

    You can still catch the Periscope for 24 hours via the link below.

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  40. A night for Natalie

    I have arrived in Toronto and it seems to be the calm before the storm.

    Tomorrow, the three-block stretch of King Street where TIFF HQ is located will be closed to traffic until Sunday for Festival Street – a pedestrian area featuring art installations, live music, entertainment and of course, the red carpets.

    Tonight sees TIFF’s annual evening Soiree, with Oscar-wining actress Natalie Portman the guest of honour.

    She’ll be taking part in a conversation about her career including her directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, which is screening at the festival.

    TIFF Lightbox

    I walked past a modest red carpet for the event, with only a small handful of photographers and fans waiting outside the TIFF Lightbox. It was similarly quiet a little further up the road at the Princess of Wales Theatre. 

    But I’m sure all that will change tomorrow once Jake Gyllenhall arrives in town for opening gala film, Demolition.

    Let the games begin!

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  41. Aretha docu-film pulled

    Aretha Franklin

    TIFF doesn't officially begin tomorrow, but already there's been a little bit of controversy.

    Amazing Grace, a previously unreleased Sydney Pollack film which documents the recording of Aretha Franklin's album of the same name in 1972, has been pulled two days before it was due to be screened. 

    It comes after the singerwon an emergency injunction against the film being screened at the Telluride Festival over the weekend. 

    Franklin claimed the film improperly used her name and likeness, and required her consent for distribution. After the judge's ruling, the singer said: "Justice, respect and what is right prevailed and one's right to own their own self-image." 

    TIFF organisers said they were "extremely disappointed that Toronto audiences will not be able to see this extraordinary piece of art". 

    "The footage in the film is truly a cinematic treasure of 20th Century music, and we hope global audiences will have opportunity to experience this film once a resolution is found."


    Toronto Film Festival logo

    It's the beginning of September, which means stars are about to flock to Canada for the Toronto Film Festival. 

    As a successful screening here can do wonders for a film's Oscar campaign, it's no surprise British Academy Award winner Edddie Redmayne will be returning to promote his latest film, The Danish Girl, following last year's success with The Theory of Everything. 

    Best actress Oscar winner Julianne Moore will also be stopping by, hoping to replicate her success with TIFF 2014 film Still Alice. This time she's in marriage equality drama Freeheld. 

    Almost 400 films are screened at the festival. And, unlike Cannes, members of the public can also buy tickets. So it can be a bit overwhelming choosing what to watch first. 

    But fear not, for we've put together a guide to the films that have got people talking