How To Do the Toronto Film Festival in Style

P. Jennifer Dana is a real life Hollywood insider. A producer and world traveler, she has worked on many films, including the independent hits “In A World” and “It Follows,” which have premiered at Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, and Tribeca. Her newest film, "Mr. Right," starring Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell has the honor of being the closing night premiere at this year's Toronto Film Festival, which runs from September 10-20th. She gave us exclusive tips on the buzziest films to look for in theaters soon, plus the scoop on what to do, what to see, where to eat, and where to stay whenever you might be in Toronto.
Photographer: Galit Rodan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Toronto Film Festival is great because you get a really well edited selection of films from all over the word plus the best of Hollywood, since the fall Oscar season starts there. And, unlike other festivals, at Toronto you can actually get tickets to all these amazing films. Not only that, Toronto is just a great, vibrant city, especially at the beginning of September.

A few years ago the festival moved from its old headquarters in Yorkville to a new space downtown called the Light Box Theater, which is phenomenal. It’s the central meeting place for everybody at the festival from moviegoers, to the industry, to actors and filmmakers. You could run into anyone there from writer/director Tom McCarthy to Jeff Bridges. You might discover an amazing international film you’d never otherwise get the chance to see, and then run into the director in the lobby.

What To See

“Brooklyn,” directed by John Crowley, written by Nick Hornby, starring Saoirse Ronan, Domhnail Gleeson, Julie Walters, and Jim Broadbent. This got raves at Sundance last winter, and now Fox is launching an Oscar campaign for it. The film is a 1950’s period piece set in Ireland and New York. It’s a love story—there’s a heart-breaking choice between two men in two countries. In theaters November 6th. 

“The Meddler,” written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, starring Rose Byrne, Susan Sarandon, and J.K Simmons. This is a delightful comedy that I really wanted to make, but I couldn’t make the timing work. It’s for every mother and daughter. Based on Lorene’s life, well, imagine your newly single mother at 65 leaving for a new life near you, in Los Angeles. Susan Sarandon is great. In theaters 2016. 

“Mr Right,” directed by Paco Cabezas, written by Max Landis, starring Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell. I executive produced this movie, which is the closing night film. It’s a caper-comedy, like “Charade,” which is one of my all time favorites. It’s about Martha, played by Anna Kendrick, a paleontologist who falls madly in love with the perfect guy… only he’s a hit man, and she goes on the run with him. That’s all I’m going to say. You have to see it. In theaters 2016. 

Where To Stay

Le Germain Toronto Mercer– I love this little boutique hotel called Le Germain and I usually stay here. It’s really well situated downtown, with easy access to the festival and the museums, and it has a very fashion/hip/euro atmosphere.
The Four Seasons Toronto– They recently redid this hotel, and it’s phenomenal. It’s an oasis of beige, baby blue, soft yellow, and calm. It’s so beautiful that when you walk in, you want to move there forever. And the views are stupendous. Get a drink at the bar— during the festival, you’ll definitely see some movie stars. In fact, you’ll probably see them there even when it’s not the festival.

Where to Eat

Sotto Sotto– My favorite! This is an old-school Italian staple in Toronto. It’s impossibly hard to get into. Everything is delicious, they even make their own olive oil, and if you are really lucky, they will give you a travel bottle to take home. They just moved, after a fire decimated their old space, so I’m looking forward to seeing their new home.


The Drake 150– Queen Street West is the cool new neighborhood in Toronto, and the Drake is at the center of it. It’s always full of interesting people, artists, musicians. All the bands stay there. The food is local and amazing.

What To Do

Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The Bata Shoe Museum– I have to mention the Bata Shoe Museum, of course! It’s awesome. They have Marilyn Monroe’s pumps, Victorian slippers, ancient Chinese heels, crazy Elton John platforms, and everything in between.

What to WearToronto weather is usually amazing in September; warm, sunny days and cool, even chilly, nights. I always have a wrap with me and black pants, which are so easy. For a premiere party, I can throw on an amazing piece of jewelry or a great jacket and be ready to go! Dress like a film festival pro: check out our Compelling Geometric Wrap, our Wide-Leg Ponte Trousers, and our Statement Jackets

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