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Toronto International Film Festival: Survival guide

Natasha KoifmanNatasha Koifman, President of NKPR

Where to find here: At NKPR’s office and their IT Lounge (or at one of the many parties she’s organizing, like TORO After Dark)

How do you prepare for TIFF?

My team and I are working pretty long days to get everything ready for our events and our IT Lounge celebrity-gifting suite. But we’re laughing and bonding the whole time, so it doesn’t really feel like work.

What five things do you need to survive the festival?

Kiehl’s Abyssine eye cream to make up for how little sleep I get. (There’s caffeine in it, thank God!)

FIJI water to keep me hydrated.

My Blackberry and my iPad so I can stay on top of our IT Lounge microsite ( and my tweets (I’m donating $5 to Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) for every new Twitter follower that signs up at between Aug. 26 and Sept. 15).

Stila cosmetics’ Pretty in Paris travel palette is perfect for touch-ups, so I make sure that’s always in my purse.

And, in case it gets windy on the red carpet, Goody custom fit elastics.

If you could meet one celeb/filmmaker, who would it be and why?

I’ve already met my favourite: Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby). I’m on the board of his charity APJ so we’ve actually become close friends. He’s such an incredible filmmaker, but he’s also got this amazing social conscience. APJ has made such a difference in Haiti. They’re building the first-ever free high school in Port-au-Prince right now!

What’s your weirdest TIFF moment?

My celebrity crush for some time was a British actor named James Purefoy. My staff used to tease me about it because they had no idea who he was. (He played Mark Antony in that HBO show Rome, by the way.) Last year, he came to the IT Lounge and I was so excited that I shut down the place just so I could give him a personal tour! It was funny!

Have you ever been star struck?

I was definitely star-struck when I met James Purefoy. Watch Rome and you’ll understand. 😉

What’s the best advice you can give to a film fest newbie?

Pace yourself! There’s so much to do and only a little time to do it. And try not to get swept away by all the glitz and glamour – just have fun with it.

What’s your most memorable TIFF moment?

There’s been so many! The red carpet at our 2009 fundraiser for APJ was pretty unforgettable though. Celebrities like Paul Haggis and Olivia Wilde – who were formally dressed, by the way – dipped their feet in red paint as a symbol for creating change “one step at a time.” It was this really incredible live-art moment! We set the bar high with that one, but this year’s Sept. 11 fundraiser is going to be just as amazing!

Where do you go to hide away from the buzz and flashbulbs of the festival?


What are you most looking forward to during this year’s fest?

I’m looking forward to all of it! Seeing the IT Lounge come alive in our new office at 312 Adelaide St. W. Raising awareness and much-needed funds for the work that APJ is doing in Haiti. And our events! We’ve partnered with and created an incredible lounge space at Avenue and Davenport called TORO After Dark. It’s not just a hangout for film-industry insiders, though. Caitlin Cronenberg is curating an exhibit here with images from the NY Times Canadian Photo Archive, so TORO After Dark is a cultural hotspot, too. NKPR is contributing to the film fest culture this year in a way that we never have before – I can’t wait to see people enjoy everything we’ve been working on!

What’s your #1 tip for looking red carpet ready?


Why is TIFF so great?

Having all the films, press and creative people here in Toronto fills the whole city with this pulsating creative energy! And all the publicity is great for Toronto. The festival lets us show off our city to the entire world – it’s Toronto’s time to shine!

Next: Emily Hampshire shares her TIFF insights!

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