TIFF 2017: Celebrating the Premiere of Mudbound with Parajumpers and Variety

FASHION Reviews Everything TIFF

The Toronto International Film Festival is mostly about cinema (obviously). But TIFF isn’t only about films. There are parties to attend, stars to spot on the street, and brand activations everywhere. It’s high time for all aspects of TIFF to get the same critical attention as the films.

Welcome to FASHION Reviews Everything TIFF-related. While this might not be an entirely comprehensive appraisal—it’s as impossible to be at every party as it is to see every film— if we attend anything linked to the Toronto International Film Festival in anyway, we’ll review it here.

Most of the parties that I’ve attended for TIFF have had me asking: “how did I get here?” And yet, things seem to keep escalating. Four days ago I thought breathing the same air as Idris Elba was a dream come true — and now I’m at an intimate cast dinner for one of this year’s most Oscar-buzzed films. Every pinch-me moment keeps upstaging the last, but I think I’m confident in saying: my “how did I get here” moments with Mudbound will go unparalleled.

Mudbound tells the story of two families, both at odds and tied together, while struggling to get by in the racially divided Deep South during World War II. Directed by Dee Rees, it’s an epic film of intersecting stories, with standout performances by Mary J Blige, Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Rob Morgan, Jason Mitchell and Jonathan Banks. Everyone should see it, and luckily everyone probably will: after receiving at standing ovation at Sundance, Netflix bought the distribution rights to the film. Mudbound will be released on the streaming service on November 17, the same day it opens in select theatres.

Admittedly, I didn’t know any of this when I arrived at the Mudbound dinner, which was hosted generously by Parajumpers (luxury outerwear brand) and Variety (entertainment bible). This lead to some embarrassing run-ins with the very cool, very down-to-earth cast members. A lesson for all: if you’re at an exclusive TIFF event and someone looks vaguely familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen them in a hit blockbuster film and not because you went to high-school together. But maybe my distance from Mudbound was a good thing? If I had seen the film first, I likely would have been speechless aroundor more likely gushing overeveryone remotely associated with this film.

Midway through the five course meal, held at Lee by iconic Toronto chef Susur Lee, the sit-down dinner — the kind that has name cards and fancy drink pairings — devolved into a dance-party. Boogying and scream-singing to Michael Jackson and Prince, and later to Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar, the renowned DJ Stretch Armstrong spun song after song that got people on their feet — reigning Queen of Hip-Hop Soul included. This wasn’t a canapés, cocktails and chit-chat situation: it was a real party. The proof is on the gram:

(FULL VIDEO) @therealmaryjblige dances to @therealmaryjblige | Variety's "Mudbound" party #TIFF17

A post shared by Variety Magazine (@variety) on

And also…

Our #Mudbound dinner wins #tiff2017. That's Mary J. Blige (!) dancing with Garrett Hedlund.

A post shared by Ramin Setoodeh (@raminsetoodeh) on

He’s right: this formal dinner turned dance party wins TIFF. Hands down. (And prediction: we’ll be seeing Mudbound win a lot more during awards season.)

With a massive film accomplishment one day away from its premiere, it’s no wonder the Mudbound cast and crew wanted to celebrate. Variety and Parajumpers each had their own reasons for taking part in the party: Variety put Mudbound on the cover of their Toronto International Film Festival issue, putting the word “Oscars” in the headline. Before diving into our slaw (Toronto foodies will know), Variety‘s co-editor-in-chief, Claudia Eller, toasted to the film, saying that she, and the people in this room, were going take Mudbound all the way.

And how did a high-end Italian outerwear brand get involved? “We are delighted and proud to be associated with a film depicting such an important subject matter,” Cristina Paulon, Parajumpers’ Sales & Marketing Director, said. “We truly respect the talent of the actors that bring to life a story which we instantly wanted to support. As an outerwear brand that is deeply rooted in function, as well as style – the Military reference within Mudbound, deemed a perfect match for Parajumpers,” she concluded.

The cast and director were gifted Parajumpers jackets from their FW17 collection and Queen Mary J. Blige was given a custom blood orange leather jacket with name inscribed. I got a Parajumpers branded blanket and a leather notepad – which I plan to snuggle under and write notes into as I watch Mudbound again once it drops on Netflix.

TL; DR
Variety sponsored Oscar hype for Mudbound
— S/O to Netflix
— Susur Lee’s 19-ingredient slaw
— Dance party ft. Mary J Blige
— Parajumper swag bag

Rating: 👏🏻👏🏿👏🏼👏🏽👏🏾 👑