On Thursday, October 27th, creatures and beings from across the galaxy beamed down to the TIFF Bell Lightbox for a multi-sensory adventure to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek: The Original Series and help raise money for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and its various non-profit programs. As part of TIFF’s annual event, Boombox, this year’s Warp Speed edition built upon TIFF’s Fall film and talks programme, 50 Years of Star Trek, and promised guests an out-of-this-world, sci-fi-inspired experience filled with food, drinks, performances and installations by artists sharing their perspective on the much-loved franchise.
DJ Jules Bangsworth and DJ Romeo dropped beats in the RBC Lobby greeting party-goers as they arrived and kept the dance floor packed throughout the evening but the space-themed exhibits didn’t stop there. The Atrium wall featured a large-scale video projection of Tendril Studios’ virtual reality project, Sankhara, an astronaut’s view of our awe-inspiring universe as he returns home from a mission. A holographic cabaret took place in Luma on the second floor, as creative technologist and dancer Jacob Niedzwiecki gave us PILLAR: an app-powered augmented-reality movement installation featuring Toronto’s best dance artists and local musical talent.
On the third floor, visitors became fully immersed in the virtual reality version of the world of Star Trek as they visited different worlds from prolific Canadian storyteller and filmmaker, RT! Having experienced almost all that the evening had to offer, I made my way down through a back hallway to the TIFF loading docks for my final destination and favourite part of the night. The Cargo Bay was a crew dance party that also featured alien wrestling matches like some sort of underground intergalactic wrestling league. This was clearly a crowd favourite.
As the opponents threw each other around the ring, the crowd was shouting and totally caught up in the excitement. It was so much fun that I kind of wish this was a real wrestling league that existed in Toronto on the regular. Off to one side, we were able to get the full Star Trek experience as make-up artists applied prosthetic Vulcan ears, Klingon foreheads, Bajoran noses, and Borg implants to willing participants. With so many partiers already dressed in Star Trek-inspired garb, these finishing touches really brought the party to a new level.
The evening as a whole was an experience I’ll never forget. It was fun, exciting, inspiring and most importantly raised money for a great cause. The proceeds from Boombox allow TIFF to continue to showcase world-renowned film programming and innovative exhibitions, provide enriching workshops and diverse educational initiatives for youth and aspiring filmmakers, and to support the community through outreach. It may be too late to attend the event but there is still an opportunity to celebrate Star Trek’s historical milestone.
50 Years of Star Trek takes place at TIFF until December 30, 2016 and features several facets of Trek-minded programming, including a full retrospective of all Star Trek motion pictures; five Trek Talks, presented with CBS Consumer Products and the Canadian Space Agency; Star Trek: The Original Series episode marathons; and The Fifth Quadrant: Sci-Fi After Star Trek, a programme of post-Trek sci-fi films that came in the wake of the franchise.
Written by Kevin Joseph