Dobber@TIFF: A rising star and a couple parties

Lauren Collins

I was looking forward to meeting Lauren Collins for a quick sip and nibble at Weslodge Saloon.

The former Degrassi star, who spent ten years of her youth working on the show, launched her first offering this year to TIFF audiences, a short film she coyly calls, Zero Recognition.

The story is loosely based around her own experiences: a young actress attempts to lead a normal life after starring in a Canadian TV series, but her past fame makes for some awkward and self conscious first dates. Collins’ 10-minute short showcases a lively comedic talent, self-deprecating with a little tongue meets cheek. Her character on screen comes to life at our dinner table.

Collins arrives decked out in an H&M outfit featuring leather bomber jacket and pencil skirt. Her blond curls bob against her smug mug as we run our fingers down the menu.

We settle on a drink from the saloon’s special festival cocktail list, enjoying a necessary thirst quench via grapefruit spiked Tequila Don Julio “Dale and Leo’s” Paloma and elderflower infused Cooper Ketel One. Over the next hour we feast on plump ricotta dumplings perched in savory tomato nage and crispy hen and buttermilk biscuits slathered in maple bourbon.

So how did Toronto based Collins feel after screening her first work at TIFF? “It literally made me cry! I didn’t know it if it was possible to launch my work at TIFF. I was touched to showcase the film in my own city and am excited to see what comes next. This week my dreams have come true!”

Costumes in Film

The Canadian Alliance of Film & Television Costume Arts & Design (CAFTCAD) celebrated costumes in film and television with a sweet soiree at The Spoke Club on King Street West.

More than 200 guests — including directors, producers, actors, agents and managers, as well as fashion and entertainment media — gathered to honour the work of CAFTCAD’s members over Tag Vodka sloshed cocktails and Peroni lager.

A DJ spun moody beats to a packed crowd that spent the evening chit-chatting and strolling along the room’s periphery to oogle and ahh over glorious garments. Highlights from the display included 16th-century period-inspired costumes from the CW’s hit show Reign, clothing from the vampire horror-drama The Strain, as well as wardrobe from the historically-based adventure flick Pompeii.

Italian Cinema Party

My final film fest party would unfold on the sprawling grounds of Toronto’s much adored, Casa Loma. The stoic castle was dressed to the nines last night as pretty ladies and handsome gents sauntered across red carpet and into one of the festivals most raved about annual events.

Hosted by the Italian Trade Commission each year at TIFF, The Italian Cinema Party offers a lavish slice of Dolce Vita in celebration of the nations top films.

I was thrilled (and not surprised) that a lavish party hosted by Italians would feature a fine feast. Guests strolled through chandelier-adorned rooms, digging into mountainous cheese and charcuterie boards, umami forward funghi risotto served out of Reggiano wheel, spicy sausage orecchiette and roasted rack of lamb served atop creamy gorgonzola polenta.

Bartenders tipped their hats to the Italian Riviera summer patio thirst quencher, Aperol Spritz while a choir of Prosecco flutes sparkled under the full moon which splashed along the castles breezy terrace.

Most popular was the pop up gelato stand where sweet tooth’s rejoiced over creamy scoops of limonata.

Andrew Dobson, September 10, 2014