Posted by: Stacey Maka
The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) just wrapped up and a lot of us Torontonians are starting to feel the withdrawal – I sure am. It was absolutely an amazing year.
I had a chance to talk with Melanie who designed the t-shirts for the Toronto International Film Festival. An amesome part of her reward was viewing movies of her choice throughout the eventful 10 days. I asked her a few questions about her time at TIFF and this is what she had to say.
What inspired your t-shirt design?
I wanted to evoke the film viewer experience with the facial expression of someone really absorbed in the moving work of art presented before their eyes. I also wanted to capture the cultural significance of the Toronto International Film Festival while injecting my whimsical style.
What were your most memorable experiences at TIFF?
It was awesome having my t-shirt graphic printed on Me To We Style materials since they are a socially-conscious company. As for the festival, having the opportunity to meet directors and cast members after film screenings and ask questions was really cool. Even though language was a bit of a barrier, I chatted briefly with the director and lead actress of stylish and raw Polish film, Baby Blues, who tell me there is great vintage shopping in Warsaw.
Of all the movies you watched, which ones did you enjoy the most? (Why?)
I watched a silent black and white film from Spain called Blancanieves. It was a take on the story of Snow White, set in 1920s Spain, with influences of flamenco dancing and bullfighting. Unique. Another I really loved was The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This was one of the rare times I’ve actually read the book before watching the movie. Plus, author Stephen Chbosky directed it. Perhaps that enhanced my experience because I couldn’t contain myself and I ended up bawling my eyes out in the middle of the packed theatre!
Did you go star searching? Who were your favourite actors/actresses/directors to see on the red carpet?
Yes! In between screenings I looked to see the movie premieres that were taking place. I wasn’t able to score tickets to watch Looper, so I settled for getting a glimpse of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, and director Rian Johnson (who also directed The Brothers Bloom, which I love too) on the red carpet. Other favourites I saw were Kate Hudson, Greg Kinnear, and Zac Efron.
Did you notice any fashion trends happening during TIFF and if so what were they?
I noticed the presence of lace and floral embroidery (Kristen Stewart, Eva Mendes), sequin embellishments (Keira Knightley, Selena Gomez), full-length sleeves (Kate Hudson, Lily Collins), peplum (Naomi Watts, Emma Watson), and sheen (Joshua Jackson, Kevin Zegers).
What were some activities to do before or while waiting for your movie to start?
Besides “star-gazing”, there is also a variety of places to go for a drink or meal. The TIFF Bell Lightbox (TIFF headquarters) houses the O&B Canteen café and Luma restaurant. Food trucks were also stationed near certain theatres. There were promotional booths with freebies and contests (Bell, Orville Redenbacher, Veet). I, myself spent some time at the L’Oreal Beauty Lounge getting a complimentary manicure, along with a full-sized product give-away for signing up to their online newsletter. I may or may not have made more than just one visit;)
What made this special from going to a regular movie?
TIFF offers the opportunity to watch international and independent films that you probably wouldn’t see in your average movie theatre. There is so much talent that is not limited to just North America. And the chance to get up close and personal with these talented people makes it extra special.
Can you explain what typically happens at a TIFF event (from your own experience)?
I learned that lining up a half hour or more before your film is the best way to go in order to get a good seat. A lot of times, the director of the film does an introduction, especially if it’s a premiere screening. When it is over, there Is a Q&A session with the director and possibly cast members and writers. Sometimes they stay a little longer for anyone who wants to go up and say a few words or take photos with them.
My funniest memory at TIFF was…
Having people wanting to get photographed with me after finding out I designed the shirt they were wearing.
Any last words people curious about TIFF should know?
A lot of films that show at TIFF end up being huge successes when they are released for viewing by the general public. How great would it be to say that you called it first!
You can check out more of Melanie’s artwork from her fashion designs to graphic designs on her website at melaniesimon.tumblr.com.