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Janet R. Nepales, Contributor
 
October 06, 2011

Brad Pitt, Madonna, and More Stars at the Toronto International Film Festival

George Clooney, Jennifer Garner, and Bono were among the celebrities who made it to the festivities, columnist Janet R. Nepales reports. By Janet R. Nepales
20111006_pinay_in_hollywood_toronto_film_festival.jpg

From left to right: Journalist Mario Amaya, Isda director Adolfo Borinaga Alix, Jr., Janet, actress Evelyn Vargas, and Ruben Nepales

LOS ANGELES—We were at the Toronto International Film Festival recently, and most of Hollywood’s A-listers were also there to attend the gathering.
 
[Click here to go straight to the gallery.] 
 
At The Descendants party, the dashing and always charming George Clooney met and greeted our Toronto guests, Michael and Nonoy Acedillo, who were thrilled to chat with him. George is also the lead actor, director, writer, and producer of the critically acclaimed political thriller The Ides of March.
 
Standing close to George was the woman rumored to be his current flame, professional dancer Stacy Keibler, whom you might recognize from the hit talent show Dancing with the Stars. Although both Stacy and George are 5’11”, on this night, she towered over him in her five-inch heels!
 
Making the evening more exciting was the presence of U2 lead man Bono, who immediately went up to George to chat. His documentary, From the Sky Down, opened the festival.
 
Also present at the party were Elizabeth Olsen, the younger sister of Olsen twins Ashley and Mary-Kate and one of the stars of Martha Marcy May Marlene; TV actress Shailene Woodley, who appears as George’s daughter in The Descendants; and True Blood actor Alexander Skarsgard. Other celebrities who attended were James Franco, Kirsten Dunst, Hugh Dancy, Emile Hirsch, Juliette Lewis, Allison Janney, Matthew Goode, and director Roland Emmerich.
 
Brad Pitt arrived at the premiere of his baseball film, Moneyball, with Angelina Jolie, who was elegantly dressed in a black gown. The couple posed with fans and signed tons of autographs.
 
Meanwhile, Gerard Butler grew teary-eyed when we asked him about working with the kids in Sudan for the very touching movie Machine Gun Preacher, which he starred in. The film is based on the life of preacher Sam Childers, and it is so moving that it is almost hard to watch. Sam himself was there to chat with us and talk about what he has been doing recently to help the children in Sudan.
 
The lovely Madonna also made a rare appearance to promote the movie W.E., which she directed. The film depicts how the life of Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) and King Edward VIII (James D’Arcy) affected that of Wally Winthrop, who lives in modern times (Abbie Cornish).
 
Antonio Banderas
, who was there to promote the film The Skin I Live In, became excited when he found out that Madonna was coming into the room after him. “Tell her I have been looking for her all these years,” he said.
 
Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr., director of Isda (Fable of the Fish), joined us at the 20th anniversary party of Sony Pictures Classics at Spice Restaurant along with actress Evelyn Vargas, who looked fetching in a sexy red dress. Adolfo told us that the Toronto audiences gave Isda a very warm welcome. Starring Anita Linda, the film tells the story of a woman who allegedly gave birth to a mudfish. Evelyn, whom we last saw at Brillante Mendoza’s Prey cast party in the Philippines early this year, also appears in Isda with Bembol Roco and Cherry Pie Picache.
 
20111006_pinay_in_hollywood_toronto_film_festival_02.jpg

Samantha East, Cuchera producer Derick Cabrido, Seth Rogen, Cuchera director Joseph Israel Laban, and Janet

At the 50/50 party, we invited Cuchera director Joseph Israel Laban and producer Derick Cabrido to join us. We introduced them to 50/50 actress Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air) and actor Seth Rogen, who both got to the party early. Both actors were excited to hear about Joseph’s film.

Anna, who looked lovely in a strapless blue dress, went to the party with her doting mom, Janice Kendrick. She asked Joseph about Cuchera, which is the story of Filipino drug dealers working in Manila and China.
 
We also met 50/50 director Jonathan Levine, who shared how touched he was by the standing ovation his film received from Toronto audiences after it was screened.
 
The movie, which was inspired by writer Will Reiser’s battle with cancer, also stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer, Inception). We bumped into Joseph later that night and found out that he had just come from a 48-hour shoot of The Dark Knight Rises in Los Angeles.
 
(Later, we would discover that Batman director Chris Nolan was filming The Dark Knight Rises right in front of our house in downtown Los Angeles! It was a treat to see them in action. And yes, Joseph told me in a separate interview that he was there practicing a stunt with a stunt guy.)
 
At the InStyle/Hollywood Foreign Press Association party, a very preggy Jennifer Garner greeted us sweetly and revealed how her third pregnancy is going smoothly.
 
The stylish event was held at the Windsor Arms Hotel’s Courtyard, which was transformed into a fantasy garden in full bloom by event designer Frank Rea of Forget Me Not. Huge roses of various colors welcomed us from the red carpet to the door and banquet area.
 
Tommy Hilfiger and his wife, Dee Ocleppo, were one of the early arrivals. Tommy had just showcased his latest collection, and he'd hopped on a plane from New York to Toronto to attend the star-studded bash.
 
Also present was ABC News Special Correspondent Katie Couric, who told us how she could not believe the amount of candy and desserts available at the party.
 
Anna Kendrick also made an appearance in a black Rachel Zoe dress. We spotted Gossip Girl hottie Chace Crawford, who was dressed in a John Varvatos suit, talking to her.
 
Our guest and niece, Mutya ng Pilipinas beauty queen Samantha East, was excited to meet and talk to Chace. “I also enjoyed talking to Katie Couric who even gave me advice on broadcasting,” Samantha, a Broadcast Communications major in Toronto, revealed.
 
Lovely Olivia Wilde donned a Grecian-inspired white gown, and she was chatting with her Butter co-star Ashley Greene (Twilight), who was gorgeous in a silver Oscar de la Renta dress.
 
The hottest actress in town, Jessica Chastain (Tree of Life, Help, Take Shelter) went the elegant route in a black number. She gamely posed Charlie's Angels-style with actress-comedienne Kathy Griffin and Katie Couric.
 
Also present at the event were Killer Joe co-stars Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple, Covert Affairs actress Piper Perabo, The Oranges star Adam Brody, Sex and the City actress Kim Catrall, W.E. actress Andrea Riseborough, and The King’s Speech actor Geoffrey Rush of The Eye of the Storm fame. Abbie Cornish was also resplendent in a Roberto Cavalli, while Suits star Gabriel Macht was gorgeous in a Prada.
 
Obviously, we did not miss Hollywood here in Toronto.
 
E-mail the writer at jrnepales_624@yahoo.com for your comments or questions.

(Photos by Ruben V. Nepales)
 
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