How to Get Into the TIFF Spirit (Without Being Invited to a Single Party)

It's a peculiar time of year in Toronto, Canada.  Summer is coming to an abrupt halt, and yet the creme de la creme of the balmy Hollywood crowd can be spotted walking down the street on account of the Toronto International Film Festival aka, TIFF 2013 (September 5-15).  For all of you who aren't familiar with it, it's that one time of year where big shot movie stars are forced to deal with our slightly less than seasonal temperatures and hobnob with CBC personalities, in order to promote their new films.

I can't speak on behalf of all Canadians, but I can say that it's personally kind of a thrill, just knowing that Meryl Streep could possibly, maybe, perhaps, bump into me while I'm out getting my morning java (unlikely,but still ...).

And yes, there's bigger news going on across the world right now, but I don't think getting swept up in a little stargazing is a crime.  If you're as cool as I am, then you've been invited to zero parties but that doesn't mean you can't cultivate your own TIFF buzz.  So here's my unofficial (mostly tongue-in-cheek) guide for getting into the TIFF spirit, without actually partaking in any of the A to Z list events.

It's okay if you're not going to any of the celeb bashes. Natalie Portman, Bill Murray, and Kieran Culkin can hang out with you on your couch.

1-Weather permitting, take a stroll around the film festival areas one day wearing the sharpest outfit in your closet and any starlet-like gear you can scrounge up (over-sized sunglasses always work). Who knows, maybe someone will mistake you for Lena Dunham (she's written and starred in an indie flick so that counts, right?).  If you need a reference guide, check out Toronto Life's Star Spotting Map.

2-Create your own impromptu movie fest at home.  This is best for a a rainy day.  You might not be able to screen the actual festival movies from this year, but there are so many excellent films out there that you'll never, ever, go without.  Some of my personal faves are last year's Smashed (2012) and the still-relevant cult classic Igby Goes Down (2002).

3-If you want to score last-minute festival tickets, remember to check out TIFF's official website from time to time.  Although most of the gold was purchased ages ago, they sometimes sell extra ones early in the morning.  Who knows, maybe I'll actually get to see Kill Your Darlings (2013) at the fest after all.

4-Live vicariously through TIFF gossip, courtesy of, a website for young professionals (also known as yuppies) that likes to give the 9-5ers a taste of celebrity action.  They are definitely on the TIFF beat this year, writing about everything from who wore what to where to how to navigate TIFF parties without seeming like a celeb-obsessed weirdo.

5-Gently milk any of your TIFF connections.  As a true outsider, I like to gently drop hints that if anyone is able to take me anywhere in close proximity to the action I will reward them with freshly baked cookies that we can share with George Clooney.  This hasn't actually worked out in my favour yet, but I'm still hopeful.

A girl's got to dream, right? Meanwhile, check out my sparkly sweater dress.  I'm this close to getting in with the TIFF crowd ;)

This dress may not designer, but I'll be hard to miss out on the streets with all those fleck of gold and silver.