For eleven days in September, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) introduces around 300 new films, a multitude of actors, filmmakers, emerging actors, new producers, scriptwriters, agents, other film industry personnel and film buffs from all around the world. Trinidad born Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of TIFF, states in a directors’ welcome: “The 2012 Festival is bursting with provocative voices, compelling stories and influential filmmakers.” He continues: “Search out new filmmakers presenting their first feature films, explore far regions of the world through cinematic voices and expose yourself to new ideas and perspectives.” Natalie Hill from Trinidad & Tobago followed his advice and came to TIFF this year in her first role as Executive Producer of a major film Arthur Newman with the members of the crew including Director Dante Ariola, screen writer, Becky Johnston, and stars Colin Firth, Emily Blunt, and David Andrews.
Anne Heche, who also starred in this film was unable to attend. The film had its world premiere screening at the majestic Elgin Theatre in downtown Toronto last week before an appreciative audience. Last year’s best actor (A King’s Speech) Colin Firth, co-star Emily Blunt and Director Dante Ariola spoke briefly before the screening and also answered a few questions from the audience about their character portrayals at the end of the film. Hill was recognised at the preceding red carpet arrivals before an enthusiastic crowd of photographers, fans and autograph seekers at the entrance to the Elgin Theatre on Yonge Street. Arthur Newman is a beautifully made film about two social outcasts who are unhappy with their existing lives and are trying to find their place in the world by adopting new identities. Arthur assists Blunt’s character by taking her out of a disastrous situation after a chance meeting and she decides to go along with him on this fraudulent deception.
Meanwhile down on Toronto’s Harbourfront concurrent with TIFF, another Trinidad and Tobago national, Frances Ann Solomon’s brainchild Caribbean Tales Film Festival continued with screenings, workshops and Question & Answers, a project which has been gathering wide international interest. In the centre of town movie stars follow the red carpet creating all sorts of cinematic excitement with stars in shows making appearances such as Will Smith with his family, children Willow and Jaden and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith who produced the documentary Free Angela and All Political Prisoners for which Angela Davis was in town with the film’s director Shola Lynch. Among the many movie stars and film personalities seen on the red carpet at Roy Thompson Hall and other exciting venues were director Deepa Mehta in the company of author Salman Rushdie, Kevin Bacon and Billy Bob Thornton both from Jane Mansfield’s Car, Hugh Grant Cloud Affairs, Helen Hunt at the premiere of The Sessions, Pierce Bronson as dashing as ever in Love is All You Need, sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning and Jennifer Garner and husband Ben Affleck.