Secrets for Creating Buzz-Worthy Events From ACTRA Studio District Film Party

ACTRA TIFF Studio District Film PartyA Hollywood or movie themed event is the perfect way to add sparkle, punch, and pizzazz to galas and special events. The best places to find inspiration are from events thrown by film industry insiders.

With the theme "ACTRA Gets Loose."  ACTRA's Studio District Film Party, which took place earlier this week in conjunction with Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), showed how it's done.

Even though this was an invitation only event, traditional media and social media with the hashtag #ActraGetsLoose built excitement for the biggest TIFF party this year. Throughout the event, #ActraGetsLoose exploded on Instagram and Twitter.

To create buzzworthy events, here are a few take-aways for event planners.

Set it in a Studio

For this event, ACTRA teamed up with Hangloose Media. They took over the entire facility consisting of a screening room with Zero Gravity luxury seating for over 30 people, make-up an change rooms and 3 studios measuring 4,300, 1,500, and 1000 square feet, respectively.

Make it Star Studded

Cast members from Orphan Black and Saving Hope attended and a red carpet interview with the stars of the TIFF film Beeba Boys kicked things off. Event planners can achieve the same results by inviting local celebrities.

Roll out the Red Carpet

A red carpet and a photo opportunity in front of a step and repeat backdrop is a must. Lines can get long so do give guests the option of bypassing the line. Skipping the red carpet, I was immediately ushered into a backstage area where a wonderful surprise awaited.

Hair and Make-up Anyone?

With today's packed schedules, sometimes attendees end up scrambling to get to events. For ladies, make-up and hair don't always get as much attention as one would like. What a treat to immediately be given the relaxing star treatment by the make-up artists and hair stylists from 20Twenty Artistry.

Lights, Camera, Action

Part of the fun of a movie themed event is the chance to get in front of the camera. Even guests who skipped the red carpet were snapped at some point during the evening. Roving photographers, videographers, a selfie station, and photo booth did the trick. (Some booths will accommodate up to 20 people.)


ACTRA put out a call for members to submit their short films. Films produced through the Young Emerging Actors Assembly (YEAA) shorts initiative and ACTRA infomercials promoting diversity in the film industry were also screened.

In the largest studio, there were was drumming and performances by Devah string quartet and Gingger Shankar.

(YouTube videos posted prior to the event previewed some of the entertainment.)

In a smaller studio, sky high DJs kept the hits coming and aerial gymnasts poured champagne and performed with hoops.


Beverages included champagne, pilsner, and vodka spritzers. I went looking for pop and didn't miss it; instead of soft drinks, ice-cold Flow alkaline natural spring water packaged in cartons made from renewable materials and CoCoCool Coconut Juice were served.

Pilsner and Vodka SpritzersFlow Alkaline Spring Water

Small bites were the order of the day. The menu included:

  • cheese and sausage served on bread with whiskey-flavoured sauces by Whiskey and Spice
  • beef sliders, served on tiny waffle squares by Burger Pawty
  • seafood sliders served on charcoal black buns
  • North African cuisine by Majorelle including salmon gravlax crostinis, Morrocan sliders with goat cheese, and grape and pistachio truffles

Burgers and slidersWhiskey Spice

Guests in search of heartier fare, could step outside, get some fresh air, and order hot sandwiches, burgers and poutine from food trucks.

Tiramisu was served in square plastic bowls and there was a candy bar with build-your-own candy grab bags.


Swag was distributed through

  • Build Your Own Swag Bags: Upon arrival, all guests received 4 tickets that they traded in after selecting goodies for a personalized swag bag.
  • Twitter Activated Vending Machine Swag: To access the QR codes that activated the vending machine, guests had to tweet with the #actraswag hashtag.

For more inspiration from film industry events check out Toronto GLAM: A Taste of TIFF for Planners, 10 Film Industry Tips for Getting Media Coverage for Events.

Photo Credits: Ryan Singh Enterprises, Flow Like Water

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