Red carpet revelry dimmed at TIFF 2023, but movie buffs unfazed

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TORONTO — The Toronto International Film Festival is kicking off its second day following an opening night that saw sparse red carpet crowds amid a Hollywood strike preventing many celebrities from attending publicity events.

Yet film buffs were undeterred by the lack of star power, instead choosing to use this year’s festival to celebrate the art of cinema and industry workers.

Oakville, Ont., resident Dean Dobono said he waited in line for more than seven hours to see opening night film “The Boy and the Heron.”

Kuuku Quagraine, another animation fan in line to see Hayao Miyazaki’s much-anticipated new film, said he wanted to celebrate people who love and make movies, not just celebs.

Still, celebrities have traditionally been a huge draw at TIFF, and several buzzy world premieres tonight are not expected to have any screen stars walking the red carpet.

That includes Wall Street scandal comedy “Dumb Money” with Seth Rogen, Pete Davidson and Shailene Woodley, and the Netflix thriller “Reptile” featuring Benicio Del Toro and Justin Timberlake. Only directors and producers will instead be promoting the films.

With expectations for celeb-spotting low, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists were given the red-carpet treatment opening night.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, national executive director and chief negotiator of SAG-AFTRA, said they’re ready to use the festival as a platform to get their message out.

Unions for Hollywood writers and actors are each seeking improved compensation and job protections from labour contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Source: Global News