Toronto After Dark Film Fest 2016: Anti-Birth

double_design_grab_500wAnother year, another Toronto After Dark film festival! This year marks the 11th Annual Toronto After Dark: Horror, Sci-Fi, Action & Cult Film Festival screening 20 films over 9 days starting from Oct 13th – October 21th. I’ve never been one to favour horror or cult films, so this was my first year attending TADFF and I had no idea what to expect! It was announced the day before of the Toronto premiere of Anti-Birth that Director Danny Perez and Actress Natasha Lyonne was going to be in attendance.

I had found out a few hours before the screening and was lucky enough to win VIP passes to the event which included priority seating behind the cast, Q&A with cast after the screening, M&G and photo op with Natasha Lyonne as well as attending the after-party for Anti-Birth. I was extremely excited as I loved watching Natasha in Orange is the New Black (OITNB) as Nicky Nichols…. thus I gave up my tickets to watch Tom Cruise in the new Jack Reacher as it so happened to be the same time, same place.

7.00 PM ANTIBIRTH (USA/Canada) Toronto Premiere 
Directed by Danny Perez
**Director & (Just Announced!) Leading Actress Natasha Lyonne and select Cast & Crew In Attendance for Q&A!**

Natasha Lyonne (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK) stars in the Sundance hit horror comedy about a hard partying girl dealing with increasingly bizarre symptoms coming from an unexplainable pregnancy. A fantastic supporting cast along for the freaky ride include Chloe Sevigny, Meg Tilly and Mark Webber.
Screens with short film Emty Drive by Simon Mercer

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/j6BY-N57MKE

Arriving to the theatre after work, there were tons of film goers around the area lining up to be let into the cinema. It was confusing at first as I went up to the area in terms of lining up but I had to exchange my tickets back at the desk on the first floor before I could. There weren’t many signs around the area or anyone to ask until I got to outside the cinema. After the detour of exchanging tickets for wristbands and obtaining information and an itinerary for the night, I headed back up and lined up patiently to head in. While walking towards the line, I spotted Natasha talking to a few people – perhaps for press and taking photos against the TADFF backdrop.

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The line moved shortly after and the cinema chosen was quite large in size. Many of the seats were already taken, but thankfully with the VIP status – they sectioned off a large chunk of the middle rows for us. The view was great and spacious! Trailers of other horror films were playing while we waited for the event to start.

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The director and cast of the short film, Empty Drive talked for a few minutes and then it was Danny and Natasha’s turn. Danny mentioned there wasn’t much of a story/plot, so to take it with a grain of salt and just enjoy the ride. And with that, we were on our way to watching the short film and the feature film.

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The film was led by two talented actresses, Natasha Lyonne (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK), along with Chloe Sevigny (AMERICAN HORROR STORY). Natasha’s character in the film is portrayed as a stoner partier, named Lou. She wakes up one day feeling weird symptoms with unexplained flashback visions and no recollection of what happened at a party. With this in mind, the story develops with Lou discovering and experiencing the side effects of the drug she was injected with as a guinea pig experiment. The journey continued as Lou tried to uncover the possibility of being ‘pregnant’which was destroying her (mentally and physically).

The film was a decent length, not too long yet not too short. By the end of the film, many of the questions you’d have during the viewing was answered – which was a plus for me. There were great visualization and images used at the perfect times but some scenes were too disgust for me as someone who doesn’t usually watch such raw film.

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In the end, it was an interesting film for myself. I’ve never truly watched a horror flick so I’m not sure how it stands in comparison with others, but it was definitely different. Natasha stood out tremendously in the role, it was perfectly casted. After the screening, Danny and Natasha came back to the stage and started their Q&A.

October 19th 2016 • Danny Perez and Natasha Lyonne introducing Anti Birth Movie at Toronto After Dark Film Festival.

A video posted by Sandi 💁🏻 (@neverfallaprt) on Oct 19, 2016 at 8:03pm PDT

 

 

 

 

Following the Q&A, it was time to meet Natasha herself! The reception area wasn’t as crowded as I would have imagined, which was great for me! There was a nice set up with the backdrop, tables, a bar, etc. with film goers and staff mingling around. Natasha was all smiles at the meet area and interacted with everyone who wanted to. I had went to line up to get my photo taken after leaving my email for their reference. As I waited patiently in line, Natasha was taking time to talk to the fan in front who was an aspiring actress (I believe?) and gave her tips and advice. She even signed the lady’s notebook and wrote a whole page for her. It was touching!

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Right before it was my turn, they had to take a small break as someone else had to use the backdrop for some professional photos. I didn’t mind and stood around watching as two other girls who were behind me, go up to Natasha and started talking. Natasha introduces herself to each person she meets and shakes your hand, which was a nice gesture you don’t see many doing now-a-days. As the other group was finishing up their photos against the backdrop (only took a few minutes), Natasha was walking back over to the area and noticed I was the person next in line. She apologized for jumping ahead and introduced herself as Natasha to me while extending her hand.

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We had our photos taken by the two photographers on-site and got started talking. She asked if I was in the (film) industry, which then I told her I actually wasn’t (although I wish I was) and how I wanted to combine accounting (what I studied) with the (entertainment) industry. She genuinely took interest in what I was talking about and started giving me career advice! We then got to talking about how long she was going to be in Toronto and she mentioned doing press the next day from 5:45am – 5:30pm(!) and leaving for Edmonton on Friday. I was shocked at how early the press started, damn… that was going to be exhausting especially after how late the after party would be that night. I can barely wake up for 6:30am!


I didn’t want to take too much of her time, so I was going to let others have time talking with her afterwards. I did ask if she had snapchat, to which she replied she didn’t but heard of it. She knew I wanted to do a snapchat selfie thing right away, haha! I’ve never done one of those selfies on snapchat with the filters (with > 1 person) so I was totally new to it, and obviously failed on my first attempt. I’ve seen so many fans lately taking snapchat selfies/vids with celebrities and it looks adorable af so I decided to give it a shot. It was then when I finally understood why people even bothered to take photos with celebrities on SNAPCHAT (crap quality).

October 19th 2016 • Snapchat video fails with Natasha! 😂🇨🇦

A video posted by Sandi 💁🏻 (@neverfallaprt) on Oct 20, 2016 at 9:35pm PDT

 

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My first attempt was a bust as my finger wasn’t hitting the record button properly… so we did it again and this was the one I got. Those dog ears were cute-ish, Natasha didn’t know if we were dogs or cows, lol! The dog tongues didn’t really work as expected, it popped out sometimes and not others. Meh, for my first time – I think it was ok enough!


I eventually caved and did go back to ask Natasha for her autograph (eek!). I didn’t have anything on me, although I wish I had my OITNB DVDS… but it was such last minute notice that I went… so I had nothing prepared. I got one of the TADFF posters and asked if she could sign that for me even though she only had a black sharpie and black on black wasn’t the greatest! As awesome as Natasha is, she not only signed the poster but wrote something for me. 🙂 Haha, I loved it – it was exactly what she was telling me earlier during our talk.

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