Who you'll find inside Roy Thomson Hall's green room

It's where the A-listers chill during their TIFF gala premieres. Peek inside the green room at Roy Thomson Hall and meet some of the people you'll find there during the festival.

Aside from Jake Gyllenhaal and Kate Winslet, that is

Inside the green room at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall, the place you'll find A-listers including Matt Damon and Kate Winslet, when their films premiere at TIFF. (Mercedes Grundy)

Pretend for a moment that you're Kate Winslet, maybe, or Jake Gyllenhaal. You're at the Toronto International Film Festival and it's the night of your movie's gala premiere. Also, try to pretend that watching yourself on the big screen is so not your thing, and you'd much prefer sneaking away for a bit, chilling with a glass of bubbly. You'd head straight for the green room, tucked away in Roy Thomson Hall. That's where the A-listers rest when not appearing on stage or the red carpet, in a cozy, branded (Moet & Chandon) sanctuary from it all. Peek inside with CBC Arts, and meet some of the people you'll find there during the festival...

Mark Selby, venue liaison at Roy Thomson Hall

Don't expect to see the inside of Roy Thomson Hall's green room unless you're Matt Damon — or Mark Selby. Selby is the venue liaison at the venue, which means it's his responsibility to go between the films and the festival, making sure the stars, the producers, the publicists — everyone attending the premiere — are where they need to be. "I'm making sure they have a safe and secure and pleasant experience at the festival," he explains. He's also one of the only TIFF representatives who ever spends time in the green room with the stars.

"As somebody who loves to celebrate Canadian talent I'm really excited that there are three major Canadian premieres at Roy Thomson Hall this year, from three major Canadian filmmakers: Deepa Mehta, who had a film in the original festival in 1976, she's returning with Beeba Boys. And then there's Atom Egoyan's film Remember, and Paul Gross' Hyena Road," says Selby. "It's always great to see Canadian films stand up to the rest of the world in terms of quality and entertainment."

Tom Sandler, photographer

These days he prefers shooting private parties, or the green room at Roy Thomson Hall. But some of Tom Sandler's all-time greatest TIFF moments took place on the ultra-glam Thunderdome we call the red carpet. "Like when I shot Cher one year," he recalls. "I was singing 'I Got You Babe' to get her attention and she looks at me — she just lit up. She was so pleased that I was singing to her.

"Music's the best. And if you can connect with somebody with it, especially another musician or singer, there's something that's on a different level that's really pure. That was a nice moment."

(Mercedes Grundy)

For those emerging festival photographers who can't carry a tune, Sandler offers some more practical advice: "Wide angle lenses and sharp elbows. That's the key to survival on the red carpet. And steel toe boots! Combat boots!"

Whatever you do, hold your ground by whatever means possible. He learned that lesson from another TIFF vet. "When I first saw him he was on the red carpet looking like he just got off a chopper from Vietnam." Imagine combat fatigues, army boots, and three or four monstrous cameras slung around his barrel chest. "I thought 'look at this guy! The war is over. Take it easy, buddy.' So I'm beside him on the red carpet, and what those cameras would do to another photographer. I kept getting poked! In the ribs! And missing shots. He was like a porcupine, this guy. He wasn't that stupid. He was standing there, everyone ricocheting off of him, and he's still shooting."

Follow @CBCArts on Instagram for more photos of the people and places of TIFF.


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