TIFF must-sees

Tiff has officially landed in the city and the who’s who of Hollywood is gracing Toronto with their presence and it has many locals excited. Although celebrity spotting is a huge part of TIFF, the festival is the perfect opportunity to catch great films that are debuting. Here is our list of must-see movies at TIFF, who knows you may even spot a celebrity too!

Snowden

This biographical political thriller stars Jospeh Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Nicolas Cage and more. This film is the controversial story of Edward Snowden an American computer professional who leaked classified information from National Security Agency to The Guardian.

Magnificent 7

This star studded movie opened TIFF last night and if you missed it you can still see it. Magnificent 7 is a western starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Haley Bennett and more. It takes place in the town of Rose Creek that is under the control of Bartholomew Bogue. Desperate, the residences seek protection from seven outlaws who prepare for a savage showdown to free the town.

United Kingdom

This film has been catching a lot of people’s attention for its promise of being nominated for an Oscar. Based off the book “Colour Bar” by Susan Williams, United Kingdom, is a British biographical romantic drama about Prince of Botswana causing an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the 1940s.

Paterson

Starring Star Wars own Adam Driver as Paterson, a bus driver who lives in a small town in New Jersey. He lives a pretty ordinary life that is set in routine of waking up at 6:00 a.m. to get ready for work and gets back in time for dinner. Despite living a normal life Paterson is a poet and his wife is a repressed artist that always has quirky surprises. Paterson is a movie to watch as it has been buzzed to be a potential Oscar contender.  

Toronto Influence: Omega Group

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When Massoud Abbasi looks at Toronto, he sees past what the world has labeled the city as, to its true potential. Massoud believes that Toronto can and will be on level with the world’s major cities such as London, New York City and Los Angeles.  He believes this with utmost conviction. This is why he founded Omega Group in July 2011. He believed that one of the key elements those cities had which Toronto was lacking was a cohesive nightlife and social scene where financiers, himself one, and entrepreneurs could mix with the musicians, actors and other top influencers in the city. This is precisely what Omega Group has been doing since then. Hosting celebratory and charitable events on a regular basis that bring together the city’s most ambitious and loyal group in some of the most unique and luxurious settings and ambiences the city has to offer. Massoud isn’t doing this alone either. He has a growing and dedicated and committed team of friends, volunteers, colleagues and Toronto enthusiasts who share his vision. Most recently, he enlisted the help of friend Fabian Garzon of Fabian Garzon Studios, a celebrated celebrity and brand photographer and up and coming film director. Having executed successful campaigns for the likes of Demi Moore and Ray Ban, Fabian is the latest element in the Omega Group empire and is taking the reigns in the group’s next audacious undertaking, a film about Toronto.

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A Film with Toronto Flair

Massoud and Fabian want to do more than just tell everyone how unique and influential Toronto is; they want to be able to show the world this using film. The goal is to create a uniquely beautiful and visual calling card for the city that showcases it from all angles: where the city came from, what it looks like now and what the city can and will be in the future. The project will feature many key individuals who have impacted Toronto. They include Jeffrey Steiner, CEO of New Franchise Media who is acting as the advisor for the project that Fabian will be directing and Massoud producing. The project is scheduled to be completed this summer and the hope is to premiere it at TIFF 2013.

With the film project in the works, Massoud and Fabian headed to The 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah to network with Hollywood and raise awareness about Toronto and their film. Unlike Toronto (TIFF), Park City is a smaller, more condensed film festival making it easier to run into industry executives, influencers and celebrities alike. The duo built upon their relationships already formed at TIFF in the last several years where they were involved and were able to connect with key members of the film industry in LA and elsewhere.Being involved with several lounges and venues in Park City via Omega Group, they were also able to plug into the local events scene, bolstering their credentials both in Park City and in Toronto. Massoud credits the prominence of the Omega Group brand in Toronto to opening up doors at TIFF which has subsequently has lead to opportunities elsewhere to attend and be involved in exclusive screenings and private lounges such as took place at Sundance. In talking with Massoud, he told me about some of industry influencers and celebrities he and Fabian were able to rub shoulders with and chat to including Harvey Weinstein of The Weinsten Company, Brad Littlefield of Dream Cast Entertainment, Hal “Corky” Kessler, one of the most well known entertainment lawyers in Hollywood and several celebrities including James Franco, Julianne Moore, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Adrien Grenier and Demi Moore. James Franco was apparently the coolest, most down to earth of them all, though not the best looking one!

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The Future

Under the guidance of some prominent mentors and advisors, Omega Group is moving forward with their continued projects and events and quest of making Toronto a greater city. The group is already working on their next few events including one with the founders, Tyrone T-Rex Edwards and Brock Bryan of the successful all-things-Toronto brand 1loveTO at The Trump Hotel and Nico Bacigalupo of Converge Inc. at the Windsor Arms Hotel, in February and March respectively. Massoud and Fabian are also planning on attending the Cannes Film Festival in France in May where they hope to continue building their momentum in the film industry and of course promoting their beloved Toronto.

For an organization and movement only 18 months old, Omega Group has already proven itself and is well on track to transforming the city it so fervently loves and is passionate about. Massoud Abbasi is a man who recognizes the truth of the age old adage. It is not what you know, but who you know. Or as he likes to put it, if you build it, they will come. Judging by the growing stature of his brand and the ever increasing attendance at his soirees, he seems to know what he’s talking about!