The Toronto International Film Festival, or more commonly known as TIFF, is the leading public film festival in the world. The festival screens more than 300 films from over 60 countries in Toronto every September. All of the entertainment industry’s heavy hitters are always on hand to promote their latest production. With a festival of this magnitude there are always parties and events that are popular. Do you ever wonder what it’s like party planning for TIFF? Well as you can imagine a lot of preplanning is required to pull off some of the festivals better-known events.
There’s a Lot More to Party Planning for Celebrities Than Meets the Eye
A regular event is certainly hard enough to plan. Throw in a couple of dozen celebrities and you have a whole other area to contend with. Not only can these individuals be high maintenance (to say the least ) there’s also the aspect of security. There are always fans and onlookers watching as the guests arrive – hoping to get that perfect picture or perhaps an autograph. 99.999% of those people are harmless and really are just hoping for a chance to have an encounter with a celebrity. However there are always concerns about the celebrities safety. And the key to a successful party that includes celebrities is that the security must be efficient yet not so obvious as to interfere with the overall flow of the event.
Ask anyone associated with the Toronto International Film Festival about the party planning and almost all of them will refer to Party Barbara. Barbara Hershenhorn, a.k.a. Party Barbara, has become synonymous with party planning for TIFF. Barbara became an event planner in 1983 and has now become the festivals official party planner. If you’ve received an invitation to one of Barbara’s events then you know you’ve been invited to one of the festivals top parties.
Party Barbara by the numbers:
- has done over 400 events
- event sizes range from 15 to over 4000 guests
- over 127,000 glasses
- over 80,000 plates
- over 2900 feet of carpet
Barbara’s secret? She once said “if you can do a permanent ambiance for an office or home you can make anything look good for four or five hour party”. Obviously a bit modest there but in truth Barbara is certainly a multitasker. She is able to organize over a dozen events at the same time (albeit with the help of a small staff). She also knows her suppliers well. She can be demanding but she is also known to be very fair. Suppliers know that her events go under the microscope so it’s important that they understand the standards she expects. Asked once what her favorite party planning event was, she said it was a party for David Cronenberg‘s film M Butterfly. For the event she had a barge in Lake Ontario with fireworks going off to Malcolm McLaren‘s adaptation of Madame Butterfly. It was spectacular she says.
So for any of our Canadian friends that are in and around Toronto during the film festival (September 9-19) be sure to take notice of the parties that are planned. You can be sure that the party planning was done by Party Barbara.