Lain's Log

Festival fever!

September 14/12.

I spent the past four and a half weeks covering the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) for Tribute Entertainment.

The job involved attending screenings, taking notes, reading press kits, writing questions and interviewing actors, actresses, screenwriters and directors - and getting very little sleep. It's the first time I've covered the fest in a decade (although I did it for 18 years at Global TV).

My old friend, Bonnie Laufer Krebs (former producer at Global TV) is now producer of Star Interviews at and was convinced I could do the job and be part of the Tribute team

at the InterContinental Hotel (TIFF headquarters for media) on Front Street West. Thanks for the chance and the vote of confidence Bon!

In prep for the gig, I drove around the Yorkville area, scouting out Green P parking lots so I'd know where to leave the car during Manulife Bay/Bloor screenings,

visited the InterContinental to get my bearings,

and talked to the poor doorman who tried his best to explain to me how to get into the non-valet underground hotel lot, as I am directionally-challenged.

Also trekked to the Hyatt Regency to pick up my media pass and an official TIFF bag which contained packets of info, a bottle of Coca Cola, a bag of microwave popcorn and a couple of condoms. (guess ya just never know when you might need those necessities in a screening room).

By the time all the scouting was done, it was time for Max's first day of grade 12 and off he went. I didn't even have time to make his lunch!

(Meanwhile, Kate started her first day in Journalism at Ryerson, but I couldn't get a pic of her).

While they were at school, I was trying to get stuff done before the start of the Festival - a bit of last minute grocery shopping,

checking in with The Biebs again while stocking up at Shoppers Drug Mart - (where he still likes to hang out),

and working at the kitchen table,

which quickly became my makeshift TIFF desk! Press notes covered practically every OTHER table top and floor in the house as well. What a mess.

I spent hours in the dark at the Varsity Theatre, (never DID make use of the Coke, popcorn or condoms),

noticed a lot of film displays at the hotel,

found the ET Canada floor just off the main lobby - (the public washroom just behind the big black camera board had the most space and best lighting for makeup),

visited with camera folks and journalists looking for celebrity action out front,

and studied my notes behind closed doors at the Tribute suite, where there was a steady stream of interview guests in and out all day, every day (thanks to Bonnie's expert booking skills).

My personal fave guests were the directors of the animated flick A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman. Left to right, they are: Bill Jones (son of Monty Python star Terry Jones), Jeff Simpson, and Ben Timlett. They all brought pipes in tribute to the late Graham Chapman who was well known for his pipe smoking. I'm holding their Sigmund Freud doll. Freud plays a role in the film. And best of all, the movie is narrated by the late Graham Chapman himself from audio recorded back in 1986, three years before his death.

I also got the chance to interview Terry Jones who provides a particularly funny voice in the film...(NOT Freud!)

Also got the chance to talk with Dennis Quaid, who has a very challenging role in the upcoming theatrical drama At Any Price. Zac Efron plays his son, Dean. Quaid spoke to me about his role in the new TV western drama Vegas. He portrays badass Sheriff Ralph Lamb opposite Michael Chiklis as Chicago mob boss Vincent Savino. The show is set in the 1960s. Quaid says he hasn't appeared in a television series since my old fave crime drama Baretta with Robert Blake back in 1977. Vegas debuts September 25th on CBS/Global at 10 p.m.

Another of my interviews included horror filmmaker Rob Zombie, director of The Lords of Salem, which stars his beautiful wife, Sheri Moon Zombie. They were great together, and as a lifelong horror fanatic, it was wild to meet them!

It was fun to chat with CCH Pounder "Carolyn Maddox" of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Tatyana Ali ("Tyana Jones": Love That Girl! and "Ashley Banks": The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). They both star in the new Sudz Sutherland drama Home Again.

In between screenings, interviews and prep work, I was caught up in the midst of Toronto cinema mania. Everywhere I went, crowds of people

clicking away, tweeting,
 and star seeking.

I couldn't hang around looking for celebs though. I was too busy waiting in Press & Industry screening lineups at the Scotiabank Theatre,

and trying to keep my eyes closed during that long, scary, dizzying escalator ride down to the ground floor!

The best times for me? - Reuniting and working again with my old Global team - Bonnie and Ola Sturik (who filled in for me years ago at Global during my maternity leaves!) Nicer women you could never meet! Watching them do their stuff was eye-opening. Our cameraman, Colin Grant, told me, "Bonnie's my girl!" He travels the world shooting everything you can imagine, but says he CAN'T miss TIFF because he HAS to work with Bonnie every year! I practically begged him to appear in a photo, but he's shy and said no, however, in the end, at the last second, he reluctantly agreed to pose with the Tribute team, as you'll see below.

Tribute TIFF team in our camera studio suite.
Back row (left to right): Aaron Marcovitch (editor), Colin Grant (shy cameraman extraordinaire), Devin Garabedian, Ola Sturik.
Front row (left to right): Riya Bawa, me, Sheena Kamal.
Sadly missing in action in this shot are Bonnie Laufer Krebs, Shelby Bronstine, Ali Malik, Morgan Bates, Alexandra Heilbron, Marni Standen and photog Joanne Chu-Fook who snapped this pic!) Thanks everybody!

Tribute team photos by Joanne Chu-Fook of JCF Photography.

When all my interviews were finally over, I headed for my favourite Danforth restaurant, The Friendly Greek for the first beer I've had in a couple of years! (a Carlsberg!) -

served by the best waiter, Kotsaftis "Bill" Vasilis. (He asked me to put his pic in the blog since he's on his way home to Greece for a month-long vacation and wants his family to see him at work)! Have a blast in Athens!

Since my son, Max and his girlfriend, Robyn, were out seeing KISS at the Molson Amphitheatre (in full makeup!) and Sam was out at a business dinner,

I took Kate out for Greek food and a cranberry cooler to celebrate surviving TIFF - and toasting her first radio interview for her Journalism course. It was fun and felt GREAT to relax after four kinda stressful weeks. Cheers!

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