Piers Handling

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Guests and programming announced for TIFF Asian Film Summit

Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist screens at TIFF 2012; Nair will appear on a panel called India: Bollywood & the Independents

TIFF has confirmed the programming (and guests) for its Asian Film Summit, which will be held on September 10 at the Shangri-La. In addition to the previously announced guest of honour, the triple-threat actor, producer and director Jackie Chan, and former U.S. senator Chris Dodd, festival regular Harvey Weinstein was announced in the role of Master of Ceremonies for the closing banquet. In the press release, Piers Handling, director and CEO of TIFF, explains that the summit aims to “foster deeper relationships and generate new business opportunities between key film players in the East and West,” something that federal finance minister Jim Flaherty congratulated them on (also in the press release).

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TIFF 2012: 17 galas, 45 special presentations and a lot of star power at this year’s festival

This morning, TIFF CEO Piers Handling and Artistic Director Cameron Bailey announced TIFF 2012’s opening night gala, galas and special presentations. The big surprise? Genre film Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, is opening the festival, and not Midnight’s Children as some had hoped. It appears that TIFF is continuing to have fun by “mixing things up,” evidenced by the fact that in the last two years, TIFF has opened with hockey musical Score: The Musical (2010) and U2 rock doc From The Sky Down (2011). But besides the surprising opening night gala, there’s a lot to be excited about, including the star power that could be coming through Toronto this September.

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TIFF 2012: Looper, a time travel thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, set to open the festival

At a press conference at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this morning, Piers Handling, TIFF’s CEO, and Cameron Bailey, its artistic director, announced this year’s opening gala: Looper, an action thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a time-travelling assassin whose bosses hire his older self (Bruce Willis) to assassinate him. In other words: Inception + yippee-ki-yay + a little flux capacitation. The film, which is directed by Rian Johnson of The Brothers Bloom fame, also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels, so it’s a safe bet they’ll all be making red carpet appearances this year. At the announcement, Handling said, “It’s a smart genre film. It’s a young filmmaker, a filmmaker to watch. It’s entertaining and it will help [attendees] get their heads into the rest of the festival.” It’s also not Score: The Hockey Musical, which opened 2010’s TIFF, so there’s that to celebrate too. Check back later today for a full roundup of this year’s galas, special presentations and, of course, the stars attached to all of them.

Correction: Apparently, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stays put in time and his bosses send Bruce Willis back to his time to be killed. Also, time travel plots are extremely confusing.

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Gallery: David Miller, Jully Black and others share the one thing you should know before you die at the Top Ten Event

(Image: Jenna Marie Wakani)

Here’s the concept: nine notable Torontonians (chef David Rocco couldn’t make it)—or honorary Torontonians for the night—each get 10 minutes to share the one thing they think everybody should know before they die. Last Thursday, former Toronto mayor David Miller, singer Jully Black, TIFF CEO Piers Handling and others showed up at the Winter Garden Theatre to offer their collected wisdom at Stuart Knight’s second annual Top Ten Event in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. We showed up to receive said wisdom (and, of course, to fraternize with the bold-faced names at the exclusive after-party—Sandra Shamas now wants to be our Facebook friend. Just sayin’.). 

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Camera: Toronto’s peerage class gets dolled up for a royal visit at the TIFF Lightbox


Camera: Grace Kelly Exhibit
November 2, TIFF Lightbox. It’s not often that royalty comes to town (not that we’re bitter, Will and Kate). So when Prince Albert Grimaldi, ruler of Monaco, arrived with his new wife, the South African former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock, Toronto’s peerage class got all dolled up. The couple was here for the launch of Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess, a TIFF exhibit celebrating Prince Albert’s late mom. They toured the exhibit, then repaired to the VIP room, where the prince downed brewskis and the press-shy Wittstock, understated in Dior, chatted quietly with the much less understated Suzannes (Boyd and Rogers). Though the royals departed around 8:30, the rest of the party hit the dance floor to the grooves of a live Motown band, energized as they were by their brush with nobility—the champagne-soaked jelly desserts didn’t hurt, either.

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Camera: the $1,500-a-plate fundraiser celebrating the new Marc Chagall exhibit at the AGO

Camera: Chagall Ball

(Image: George Pimentel Photography)

October 15, AGO. If ever there were an event to rouse the city’s tastemaking, power-brokering elite, the $1,500-a-plate fundraiser celebrating the new Marc Chagall exhibit at the AGO was it. Outside, at least nine valets parked Beemers and Bentleys. Inside, ladies dazzled in sequins and feathers while men toed the sartorial line in black tuxedos. ­Bottles of Stolichnaya took the place of ­centrepieces, so the crowd was well lubricated by the time the event’s honorary chair, Norman Jewison, rose to speak about the painting (titled The Fiddler) that he donated to the exhibit. He told the story of how he purchased the work at an auction in London, a rollicking tale that involved an overzealous cab driver and a spot-on Cockney accent. When he received a standing ovation, he seemed touched, but astutely credited the Stoli shots for loosening his tongue and the crowd.

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The Loaded List: we catalogue the astronomical salaries of Toronto’s ruling class

The Loaded List
It’s not particularly polite to ask rich people what they earn. But tact is overrated, and we wanted to know, so we asked anyway. When they told us to get lost, we got sneaky. We dug up disclosure documents, annual reports and the tax filings of charitable organizations. When those trails went dry, we surveyed industry insiders who know what other people make—headhunters and consultants and analysts and colleagues—and asked for an educated guess. After hundreds of calls and emails and deep-throat meetings in dark alleys, we phoned the high earners back and told them what we found. Again, with feeling, they told us to piss off.

What follows is our shamelessly gawking, as-precise-as-possible examination of the highest-paid people in the city’s top industries. When the information was available, we included bonuses and perks and, in some cases, exercised stock options. Our findings verified that a high earner in finance is almost always on a different plane (a private jet, usually) than a high earner in, for example, the lowly arts. One major discovery: Heather Reisman took a pay cut. One truth reconfirmed: no matter how rich you are, there’s always someone who makes a helluva lot more.

CLICK HERE TO START THE STORY »

VIEW BY INDUSTRY » GOLD ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT FUND MANAGERS SPORTS SHOP OWNERS MEDIA LANDLORDS BAY STREET PUBLIC SERVANTS

VIEW BY SALARY » SEE 69 OF THE RICHEST PEOPLE IN THE CITY’S TOP INDUSTRIES, SORTED BY SALARY FROM HIGHEST TO LOWEST

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Nadine Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now? wins the Cadillac People’s Choice Award—but will it be Oscar bait?

(Image: Christopher Drost)

And that’s a wrap.

The official closing ceremony for the 36th annual Toronto International Film Festival took place at the Four Seasons Hotel yesterday. TIFF 2011 co-directors Cameron Bailey and Piers Handling hosted the affair, and the attendees sipped mimosas and munched on egg souffle, spinach-and-flower petal salad, roast potatoes and crème brûlée (note: festival food is yum). Where Do We Go Now?, a dramatic comedy set in war-torn Lebanon that follows the lives of several women trying to keep their husbands out of the conflict, received the Cadillac People’s Choice Award, which in past years has been a sign of Oscar-y things to come (but we’re not so sure about this one). The Cadillac People’s Choice Documentary Award went to Jon Shenk’s political documentary The Island President and Gareth Evans took home the Cadillac People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award for The Raid.

Full list of winners here.

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Festival Music House’s second night is a bluesy, country, rock ’n’ roll affair, with Sam Roberts and more

Sam Roberts (Image: Ryan Emberley)

Yesterday we gave you a play by play of night one at Festival Music House, and last night we were back, ogling the good-looking crowd and dancing to the incredible bands. While night one drew limited numbers until K’naan’s headlining set, night two filled the house early. Perhaps it was the promise of the open bar that drew media and industry patrons to Mod Club last night, but most likely it was the killer Canadian lineup: performing last night were Whitehorse, Ladies of the Canyon, Lights, The Sheepdogs (who recently graced the cover of Rolling Stone, becoming the first unsigned band ever to do so) and the Sam Roberts Band. Check out who was there and how well everyone performed after the jump.

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Apparently, TIFF co-director and CEO Piers Handling isn’t too excited about the state of post-9/11 cinema

TIFF Co-Director and CEO Piers Handling (Image: Josh Jensen)

We’re pretty sure most of the city is having a good time taking in the hype and hoopla surrounding the 10-day celebrity bonanza that is the Toronto International Film Festival. But apparently, TIFF co-director and CEO Piers Handling isn’t nearly as excited about the state of global cinema as the city is about the film festival. In an intriguing—and surprising—column in the Toronto Star late last week, Handling muses about whether or not the events of 9/11 will have a lasting impact on movies, film and cinema, and what that impact might be.

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Kathleen Turner got people talking at this year’s annual George Christy luncheon

Lynne St. David, Paul and Judy Bronfman and Norman Jewison (Image: Jordana Divon)

Famed Hollywood reporter George Christy’s annual Four Seasons cocktail party and luncheon saw Toronto’s upper-crustiest hanging with celebs in the Avenue Bar. The ground-floor space felt a bit like a fishbowl, as passers-by leaned on the glass to ogle anyone inside. The tweenyboppers camped outside were probably disappointed that Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez didn’t attend, but we did see Kathleen Turner, Geoffrey Rush, directors Norman Jewison and Atom Egoyan, TIFF co-president Piers Handling, Gina Gershon, and the Mulroney family (including Brian—it’s like this year’s TIFF is a prime minister paradise as Stephen Harper has also been spotted around town—his wife Mila, son Ben, and Ben’s twin boys. Guests argued over Turner’s best film role—some thought it was as Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone, while others preferred her as the matriarch to the troubled Lisbon girls in The Virgin Suicides (we still maintain her best was as Beverly Sutphin in Serial Mom) as they guzzled seemingly bottomless glasses of champagne. The heat in the narrow bar had some complaining (we heard Suzanne Boyd kvetch), but as we understand it, the best solution to a heat wave is to drink excessively, so we felt fine. Check out the scene in our gallery after the jump.

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Secrets of a society photographer: George Pimentel shares his favourite shots

Galen Weston Jr.’s Bieber haircut, a commando mission to shoot Conrad Black, and the never-ending battle for fashion supremacy—George Pimentel has seen, done and documented it all. Tonight, the celebrity photographer shares 300 of his favourite Toronto society snaps at a VIP-filled bash at the Carlu. In case you didn’t get an invite, here’s a sneak peek at some of Pimentel’s most memorable shots.

Begin the slide show >>

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TIFF PHOTO GALLERY: Harvey Keitel and company walk out on producer’s speech at gala for A Beginner’s Guide to Endings

Director Jonathan Sobol and the cast of A Beginner's Guide to Endings at Roy Thomson Hall (Image: Karon Liu)

No one likes to sit through a thank-you speech that lasts more than 30 seconds, so when the cast and director of A Beginner’s Guide to Endings had to stand on the stage while producer Nicholas Tabarrok went off on his second tangent behind the podium, Harvey Keitel threw his hands in the air and walked off the stage—followed by director Jonathan Sobol and the rest of the attending cast members, including Tricia Helfer, Paulo Costanzo and Jason Jones. The audience inside Roy Thomson Hall erupted in gasps and laughter as Tabarrok continued with his speech, which even drove TIFF co-director Piers Handling to walk out on him as a follow-up gag.

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TIFF PHOTO GALLERY: Olivia Newton-John, Nelly Furtado and the rest of the cast walk the red carpet at the Score gala

Actress Allie MacDonald walks the red carpet at the press gala at Roy Thomson Hall for Score: A Hockey Musical (Image: Karon Liu)

Reaction to the movie itself may have been mixed, but excitement was universal as TIFF kicked off with the gala premiere of Score: A Hockey Musical. We were there to catch shots of the diverse guest list: Olivia Newton-John, Nelly Furtado, Hawksley Workman and many more.

See our gallery below.

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TIFF PHOTO GALLERY: Dan Aykroyd, Jason Reitman at the dedication of Reitman Square

Ivan Reitman at the Reitman Square dedication held at TIFF Bell Lightbox (Image: Sonia Recchia/Getty Images)

Yesterday wasn’t quite TIFF, but it was the perfect occasion to get some buzz for a homegrown project before the celebrities arrive. Piers Handling, Dan Aykroyd and Adam Vaughan were on hand for the dedication of Reitman Square, named after Leslie and Clara Reitman, the parents of Ivan (and grandparents of Jason), who once owned a car wash at this site. Ivan, along with his sisters Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels, donated the $22-million plot of land that now houses the Bell Lightbox.

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