We were thrilled to be able to invite and host Whit Stillman in Toronto – a city with an understandable love for his films, though one that has perhaps become too closely tied to the Festival and its sometimes cold and/or obligatory press reception. Whit was as friendly, accessible and honest as his characters, acutely aware and appreciative of the time and effort that goes into any gesture. It was our hope to generate some additional press for the still recent Damsels in Distress, which seems to have fallen between audiences as the accessible comedy it was expected to be was equally met with a formal ambition towards the unreal that perhaps caught many off-guard.

The screenings generated a turnout for which Toronto should be proud, illustrating that we are a ravenous cinema city throughout the entire year. The Royal is a beautiful, state-of-the-art theatre that was able to accommodate perfect presentation of the Criterion Collection’s outstanding Blu-Ray of Metropolitan, a gorgeous 35mm print of The Last Days of Disco, and our lengthy conversation and lively Q&A sessions after each film.

It was our pleasure to see fans of Whit engaging with him before and after the screenings, bringing treasured home video copies of his work and joining him for a drink at a disco-themed night at the Monarch Tavern after the screening of Disco. Ever the conversationalist, Whit then joined us for drinks at our reception at #Hashtag gallery, where he discussed his work and offered advice to aspiring writers and filmmakers late into the early morning.

An in-depth interview was the perfect culmination of our time with Whit and there was no better location than the Toronto Temperance Society and its attention to cocktail detail. Expanding on the post-screening conversations, Whit accommodated our interest in his films, discussing each work closely and specifically, interspersed with entertaining stories and culminating with valuable insight into some of the critically misguided reception to Damsels.

Whit Stillman will be a tough act to follow for our subsequent Live Directors Series, but it’s a great problem to have and we’re immensely grateful for Whit and Toronto’s cinema-going populace for making the first installment a great success.

 Post-Screening Conversations (Video)

Each night’s screening was followed by an extended conversation with Whit, conducted by Christopher Heron, and a moderated audience Q&A. As a one-time only treat, we are posting the full conversation following the December 12th screening of Metropolitan online.

Press Coverage

The National Post Stillman hits the road to reveal the soul of Whit [Published December 12, 2012]
The National Post More Whit Stillman, whether you like it or not (we do!) [Published December 12, 2012]
The National Post Q&A: Seventh Art creators on the Live Directors Series [Published December 12, 2012]
The Grid What do you say, Whit Stillman? [Published December 12, 2012]
Torontoist Whit Stillman Comes To Town [Published December 11, 2012]
Flare Magazine A Look Back At Director Whit Stillman’s Take On American Prep Fashion [Published December 10, 2012]
Dork Shelf The Seventh Art Presents Whit Stillman in Toronto [Published December 10, 2012]
NOW Unexpected Visitors [Published December 7, 2012]
BlogTO This Week In Film: …Whit Stillman… [Published December 6, 2012]
The Grid Whit Stillman Live in Toronto [Published December 5, 2012]

Sponsors

The inaugural The Seventh Art Live Directors Series was made possible with the support of our sponsors:

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Video Interview

Following the two nights of screenings at The Royal, Whit sat down with us at the Toronto Temperance Society for an extended video interview discussing his films. It was released in Issue #10 (January 2013) of The Seventh Art. Watch it HERE.

Photos

A selection of photos from the December 13th screening of The Last Days of Disco and the event’s after-party are below.

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[More Photos]