After another successful year, the 39th Toronto International Film Festival calls it a wrap. For us, it always feels like there’s a toast hanging in the air when TIFF is in town. Whether you’re in a dark theatre, waiting for the North American premiere of The Sound and the Fury to begin (that was a good one); at the top of the CN tower (the heights of which Armani chose to celebrate the festival); or sitting in the plush comfort of Toronto’s newest “it” spot Collette Grand Café, across from Douglas Booth and Max Irons, the handsome gents of by The Riot Club, (looking especially dapper dressed in Hugo Boss at their post premiere party), it seems as if a bottle of champagne was about to be popped at every turn.
Now, to pick which champagne popping event was the best of all…well that’s tough. Ourselves, we can’t help but be a smidge biased when it comes to this decision, and choose a little soiree we had a hand in, hosted by Broad Green Pictures to celebrate it’s official festival selection, Learning to Drive directed by Isabel Coixet (Elegy).
Based on a witty and moving New Yorker essay, the film follows Wendy, a middle-aged writer, played brilliantly by Patrician Clarkson, a woman who finds herself suddenly single and longing for something different in her life. Revelation, as well as that something “different,” arrives before Wendy in the unexpected form of her new driving instructor, a Sikh named Darwan. With Sir Ben Kingsley cast in the role of Darwan, a delicate yet invigorating dynamic between characters is sparked, endowing the film’s story with an evocative core—at once irresistible and touching.
Hosted at Brassai, the party saw guests toast the success of the film’s premiere—which climaxed at the festival’s end when it took home the first runner-up spot in the tight competition for the Grolsch People’s Choice Award—immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of India. H’ordeuvres fragrant with spices were enjoyed to the sound of live traditional music by the crowd, before cast, crew and FILLER editors sat down to a private dinner, where the celebratory speeches began.
Currently on the festival circuit, with recent stops including the Hamptons International Film Festival, as well as the Carmel International Film Festival in California, Learning to Drive awaits its North American theatre release—and trust us, this indie gem is a must-see, well worth the wait.