Clooney pulls double duty with 'Up in the Air', 'Goats'

TORONTO   — The Toronto Film Fest party scene kicked off properly Friday with a wide selection of soirees for industryites to choose from.

Vitaminwater decked out a huge villa for the “The Men Who Stare at Goats” bash, complete with live goats and pic’s George Clooney and helmer Grant Heslov.

The same evening, Variety‘s 10 Producers to Watch were feted at Cheval, where honorees with pics showing in Toronto included Adrian Sturges (“The Disappearance of Alice Creed”), Gabe and Alan Polsky (“Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans”), Dean Zanuck (“Get Low”) and “Harry Brown” producer Kris Thykier, who had his lead, Michael Caine, in tow.

Saturday, Clooney was back out for the preem of “Up in the Air,” which is drawing praise all around. Helmer Jason Reitman and his parents joined Par’s Brad Grey and Rob Moore and pic’s Jason Bateman, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick at a lavish 100-person sit-down dinner whipped up by chef Carlos Buscaglia from MGM Las Vegas’ Fiamma.

Later that night, Soho House organized a stealth party for Caine and his pic down in Toronto’s Bay Street subway station — a first for a fest pic. Among those milling around on the steaming platform between train cars, retro furniture and martinis were Harvey Weinstein, producer Michael London and “Harry Brown” helmer Daniel Barber.

On Sunday evening, the Creative Coalition honored “The Road,” with helmer John Hillcoat and thesps Viggo Mortensen and Robert Duvall on hand. Pic’s distributor Bob Weinstein said he didn’t agree with some who were calling the film bleak. “We kill more people in the first 15 minutes of a Dimension movie! I think (this film) is uplifting.”

Also on Sunday, Lionsgate threw an upscale cocktail for “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” at the Royal Ontario Museum, and Searchlight unveiled Drew Barrymore’s helming debut, “Whip It,” with a rowdy party at a tattoo parlor.

And Overture Films feted Michael Moore at a post-pic party for docu “Capitalism: A Love Story” on Sunday night at Fran’s Restaurant. Moore, surrounded by Overture’s Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett, Harvey Weinstein and Avi Lerner, said the audience reaction felt different from that in Venice. “The Italian audience was responsive … but here, because the audience was made up of Americans and Canadians, there was much more of an intense emotional connection. People were in tears, they were shouting, and angry, in a good way.

“We’ll do a free showing on Wall Street for the hedge fund guys,” Moore said.

(Michael Fleming contributed to this report.)

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