Clubland takes us deep into the maelstrom of controversy over the largest and most congested playground in North America – 60 clubs and 25 bars crammed into 1.4 square kilometres. – Lynne Fernie, Hot Docs
After its World Premiere screening at the 2009 Hot Docs International Festival – Clubland will have its network premiere on Friday, October 2 at 8pm ET/PT on Global Television’s “Currents”. In Winnipeg and Regina, the documentary will air at 7pm.
In Eric Geringas’ Clubland, residents in expensive downtown Toronto condos, law enforcement officials, and local city councilor Adam Vaughan face off against drunken club patrons and club owners in North America’s largest club district.
A candid nocturnal romp through Toronto’s groundbreaking Entertainment District, Clubland captures the rhythms of a neighborhood that is more than a place – it’s an experience, a scene, an attitude – and the center of the universe for a generation of Toronto revelers. Eric Geringas’ documentary takes viewers on a VIP tour beyond the long line-ups and velvet ropes. We hang with clubbers (Dan Lavoie, Mike J. Ianni, Holly McLeod, Tika Simone) as they take-in the party scene at (CiRCA, Ultra Lounge) some of the hottest nightspots in the world. We spend the night with many of the key movers and shakers….the savvy club owners (Charles Khabouth (Stilife, Ultra Lounge), Peter Gaitens (CiRCA owner and of NYC Limelight and Tunnel fame) and online expert promoters (Massimo Grisafi) who have been so instrumental in the Entertainment District’s rise to a level of success few could have imagined – and of course the cops who try to control this testosterone and alcohol highball.
Previously Toronto’s Garment District, free trade in the late ‘80s had brought an end to the domestic garment trade and the beginning of empty warehouse spaces that developed into today’s embattled entertainment district. Desperate landlords sought new tenants and ambitious entrepreneurs saw opportunities. In 1988 the areas first nightclub opened, Stilife.
Early success inspired many and by the late 1990s so many clubs were opening in the area that the city took notice of the revitalization and gave the area an official stamp of approval. Toronto’s Entertainment District was born.
By 2000 over a hundred nightclubs had opened and tens of thousands of young people flocked from all over southern Ontario to the scene. The rapid growth brought others too. Many land developers saw an opportunity to create a neighborhood for these city fun seekers. A condo boom started and many moved to the area buying up the expensive tiny dwellings. As more people came so too did problems. Overcrowding, violence, drugs and accompanying headlines became the norm. With thousands of new residents living in the area, the wild and crazy late nights were starting to cause sleepless nights. Something had to be done. A residents association was formed, the King Spadina Residency Association. Their collective voice pushed club owners into stricter regulations, lower decibels and even closings.
Watch Clubland online fore free to see how Toronto’s Entertainment District has become the most congested in North America. Yet many are not thrilled with the idea of cramming 50,000 fun-seekers into an area 1.5 sq. kilometers in size. Politicians, police and condo dwellers prepare themselves each weekend for the inevitable onslaught of partiers. Developers have hundreds of millions invested into the area, some even millions, and the new residents…their life savings. The city’s old “Garment District” has gone from sweatshops to sweat boxes in a generation and now repeatedly makes the headlines asking the same question…. What’s to be done? For the clubbers their only question is “Where’s the party tonight?”