Caitlin’s Cronenberg: Inside The Antiviral Premiere

Screams? Yes. Tears? No. Grilled cheese? Several! Caitlin Cronenberg on her brother Brandon’s big night at TIFF.


Photo Courtesy of Soho House

This year’s TIFF is a horse of a different colour for me. Rather than spending my days in my pajamas mentally preparing for the inevitable moment where I have to put on makeup and a dress, I am spending my days sleeping, and my nights taking photos on The F Word, an upcoming film starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, until the wee hours of the morning. While this nocturnal schedule provides me with a perfect excuse to not put on that aforementioned dress every night, I’m finding myself faced with a feeling I’m not used to: the feeling I’m missing out.

Usually I can pick and choose which parties I want to bail on, but this year it has been decided for me. I am bailing on them all. Well almost all. Yes, miraculously the TIFF stars aligned for me (and I don’t mean Ryan Gosling and Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and my one day off just happened to be the night of my brother’s big premiere.

You may be asking yourself, “Did she say brother? That’s not the same as last year!” But you heard me correctly. I said brother. Last night was the North American premiere of my big brother Brandon’s first feature film, Antiviral. The film had its world premiere in Cannes in May, but it was a very special experience to show it in Toronto, our hometown.

Sitting in the Ryerson Theatre surrounded by family, friends and horror fans, you could feel the anticipation. As the first needle penetrated the first lip, you could hear gasps. And when the first, second and third mouthfuls of blood were thrown up, you could see people shielding their eyes. I can only assume a few people fainted as well. The best possible reactions all around!

After the Q and A, with A’s provided by my brother and the film’s two delicious leads, Caleb Landry Jones and Sarah Gadon, we headed to Cube, a place I had never heard of until I realized it used to be a different place (lest we forget Ultra Supper Club). I don’t know what the place looks like normally, but last night it was transformed into the Lucas Clinic, where, in the film, celebrity diseases are sold. They even handed out pre-bloodied handkerchiefs–a perfect touch.

The soiree was well attended and the room was buzzing with mini-grilled-cheese-fueled excitement. As people approached me to wish congratulations to my brother I downplayed my pride, but only so I wouldn’t break down in tears, a skill that I have been honing since Cannes, where I was a blubbering mess for ten straight days.

On my way home, snacking on my stash of grilled cheeses, I felt incredibly grateful for my family and my city, and the fact that we have this festival every year. Whether I am part of the festivities or not, the festival is part of the city I love, and it kicks ass.

Also, all the needle close-ups were real. 

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