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TIFF’s Passchendaele-themed opening party eerily lacking in Passchendaele cast members

The TIFF opening-night party at Liberty Grand felt like we were on the set of Due South, only with a lot of stinky cheese and vodka and CanCon clamouring. The bagpipes were fine—yes, we love them—but having the DJ stop so we could all watch a DND band hammer out a war song was a bit of a downer. The party reaffirmed the theory that Canadian identity is stuck in a zone of Mounties, prudishness, beef and beavers.

Photographers waited all night for the man of the hour, Paul Gross, and the Passchendaele army to do the red carpet, but the cast and crew were too busy hobnobbing with Robert Lantos, Don McKellar, Atom Egoyan and Blindness producer Niv Fichman a few blocks north at the Drake Hotel, where the proper Passchendaele party was going down. Gross eventually did swing by for a moment, but spent most of the night at the Drake.

With the entire industry kicking back at the Sky Yard, who was at the official TIFF opening party? It was a sea of drunken socialites, a scattering of running-on-less-than-empty festival employees and only one starlet: petite Pontypool actor Georgina Reilly, who was being pulled around by her publicist. Considering Bruce McDonald’s last muse was Ellen Page, we’ve got high hopes.—Jen McNeely

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