The Festival usually is dead in the finale few days, but this years incompetence by TIFF leaders lead to an unusually busier than usual end to the fest.
The day started with a press conference for the John Travolta flick The Forger. On the way in, the TIFF crew quite literally were pushing him towards the entrance as Mr. Travolta made an effort to at least let everyone know he wanted to come over. His co-star Tye Sheridan signed for some people as he arrived earlier. On the way out, it was all about John Travolta, as the Grease & Pulp Fiction star made every effort imaginable to get an autograph or photo with, or both for everyone that could manage a spot at the front rail. He really gave the fans everything they could hope for out there.
Shortly after a press conference for Shelter took place. The movies director, actor Paul Bettany and his wife, Jennifer Connolly both rushed in. But on the way out, Bettany signed and took photos with everyone who asked, while his wife, a person I have gone for multiple times in the past and NEVER seen sign, actually picked up a pen, and signed for a couple minutes before leaving (despite her husband still working his way thru the crowd).
I killed the next couple hours grabbing some food, and staking out a spot for the red carpet of a film directed by Captain America star Chris Evans, Before We Go. The crowd eventually got really deep and by the time the movies stars Alice Eve and Chris showed up, the crowd was several hundred long, and several deep all the way along. Alice showed up 1st and I managed to get her quickly, and before I even had time to consider going to try for another, Chris was there. I had a great spot, but my luck, he didn't come to my area and seemed to be moving away. Eventually I got a better spot, and got an item in front of him. Chris signed it, and before I could rescue the item from the gaggle of camera phones, outstretched arms and masses of humanity, I watched as either Chris or his guards sleeve rubbed across the photo and sure enough when I got it back... it was a bit smudged. I was quite disappointed since it was for a buddy and I knew he was a big Capt. America fan. Immediately after Chris went in I took a spot up at the back of the theatre in the hopes of scoring with them again.
Luckily director Evans decided to sneak out for a bit during the film and did a 2nd huge session at the back of the theatre. I managed 2 more autographs from him there which made me feel a bit better about my smudged one from earlier. Unfortunately, Alice Eve did not come over after the movie ended and Chris, who signed a lot for someone that many call "not good" also didn't sign after the film. But I was happy with the outcome.
With nothing else really on the radar. I took myself across the street to Roy Thompson Hall in the hopes of squeezing out a decent spot for The Forger premiere. Although I scored a couple Travolta autographs earlier, I still had a couple items left, and wanted a chance at Christopher Plummer again...not to mention, I had hopes of getting Abigail Spencer. Sure enough John Travolta did not disappoint on the red carpet either. He did something I have only ever seen George Clooney and Ryan Gosling do prior, he actually did the entire line, from the very end, right to the top. This helped me get my other two items done in no time. I was the first person he picked up a pen from, and he was off to the races. I was done with him in less than 2 minutes. I never saw that sharpie again...but a small price to pay for 2 autographs from the man himself. My Spencer hopes were dashed when she didn't sign too much and only in the thickest part of the red carpet where gaggles of lookie loos and nutjobs with step ladders park themselves to get photos generally are most probable to congregate and waste vital space. The two Travoltas felt good, but knowing I missed Spencer and Plummer (who I never even saw show up...must of did so during the Travolta session) did disappoint a bit.
TIFF total - 117 autographs
A+ John Travolta (press & carpet)
A Paul Bettany
A Chris Evans
B+ Tye Sheridan
C+ Alice Eve
C+ Jennifer Connolly
C Abigail Spencer
F Anthony Mackie
Generally a dud day with 1 or less movies had 2 things to go for this year.
First was going to be A Little Chaos premiers at POW & RTH. Historically, the 1st premiere doesn't get too many, if any stars at it, as they tend to just do the gala event at RTH. So when I showed up to POW & got the attention of the ONLY crew member at TIFF who I think deserves a raise for the way she handles her job & the crowd, Shannon and asked her about the POW premiere, I was not shocked when she told me there was no arrivals expected.
Shortly after I went to RTH to nab a spot.... in hindsight, I shoulda stayed there. After awhile, someone I was with got a tip where the Alan Rickman was eating, and the assumption was, it was the pre-gala party that some films occasionally have. We went to place and saw almost every autograph hound still working the fest there waiting. Sure enough it was what we had heard, Alan Rickman was seen inside. Everyone shuffled around for an hour or 2 hoping Kate Winslet was also in there, but as it turned out she wasn't even in town yet from all reports. While waiting there, someone noticed Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens go by, he had the other film that night, the Midnight Madness showing of The Guest to do. Me and another hound went across the street and got him. Shortly after, Alan Rickman came out and got into a vehicle and left. I headed back to RTH to find a spot and was disappointed to notice there was a considerably deeper crowd than I expected.
While waiting around for that carpet to start, we got word that Kate and Alan both showed up at the 1st premiere, but not for a red carpet, just to watch & be seen by the audience. Major opportunity lost. Eventually both Winslet and Rickman showed up to the RTH red carpet, but the absurdly stupid crowds of cell phone picture takers and ladder using wannabe paps in row 2 made it nearly impossible to get close if you actually wanted something from the stars. I got shutout. But I did make my day a bit. There was some mickey mouse film crew trying to do their "report" with an on air personality, a camera man with a full on TV camera, and 2 assistants/producers trying to keep an area large enough for 7-12 people to fit in so they could do their report while Alan Rickman was signing just feet away. I decided this was absurd and ignored the assistant/producers attempt to stop me from walking right into the take. Afterwards, the cameraman said "we're gonna have words" and I invited him to come and have words...he declined. I noticed they were still doing their stupid reports, so I went and stood beside them. Eventually I found my chance to be a nuisance back to them. A crowd chant of "Kate, Kate, Kate" broke out, and I chimed in with my large bolstering voice...right beside their interview. They of course stopped and waited for the crowd to die off...as soon as they started up again, I then started an "Alan, Alan, Alan" chant...which then got the entire crew mad at me. Eventually I told them their options were do their report from somewhere that's NOT in the middle of a crowd of people who could actually use that space, or deal with me....the left. But not before they called me "mean" and a "douchebag" and said to me "I hope you sleep well at night". Funny, coming from the 4 people who wanted to take up space that probably a dozen could fit in to just so they could do a report that they literally could have filmed ANYWHERE ELSE... or earlier before the talent arrived...or after when things were done. For the record, I slept well that night.
I then took my small moral victory away and attempted to get Kate Winslet leaving that premiere. There was a hope they would have an after party, or that even still, it was possible she could be going back to the other premiere which would be ending soon. Both Alan and Kate departed almost within minutes of the other movies projected end time, and with the POW only being a 2 minute drive away there was hope. I rushed over to the venue, but neither vehicle ever showed up. An hour later I got a text from a friend letting me know Kate had gone to the airport and was gone already.
My last event of TIFF 2014 found me at Ryerson Theatre. I think this was the 1st time I can ever remember a Midnight Madness premiere being the final event of TIFF for red carpets. It was the Dan Stevens movie, which also starred Maika Monroe. With all my Stevens stuff done earlier in the day, I could focus on Maika. When she showed up, it did not take long to run out of the 5 items I had as Maika signed everything that was out there for the sparse crowd of die hards who went till the end. Dan Stevens was amazingly great as well, and he won me over there.
Good way to end the best TIFF of my career, running out of items for the final premiere.
TIFF total - 124 autographs (new record)
A+ Dan Stevens
A Maika Monroe
B Kate Winslet
D+ Alan Rickman