Tilda Swinton’s old friend and co-star George Clooney is in town, but she hasn’t seen him yet. The elegant Scottish actress and producer, here with her film I Am Love, says she’s making do by sending him rude emails.

He’s answering.

Swinton has brought three films to Toronto over the years; this year it’s especially meaningful to her because I Am Love is her own project.

“Last year and the year before, I was here with my American friends and I was a guest at their party, and now I’m here with my work,” said the Academy Award winner for the film Michael Clayton.

Swinton stars in and produced I Am Love — a tragic love story set at the turn of the millennium in Milan — with longtime friend and collaborator, director Luca Guadagnino.

“For me it’s a particular pleasure to bring Luca here. Everyone has heard me talk about my work with him all these years, and now they can see him,” says Swinton, who has been enthusiastically promoting her films with personal appearances.

“It’s really important. I find it enjoyable, it’s contact with the audience; what’s not to love?” asks the actress.

“I am in the really fortunate position of really loving my work and I am so grateful to talk to anyone who wants to know my work, because generally speaking, my films are so small that I can imagine people in your position saying, ‘Who wants to talk to Tilda Swinton in something about an Italian?’ and there’s no show of hands.

“And then someone says ‘Oh I want to do that! I’d like to!’ Then we’re already getting people who want to talk to us.”

Promoting films aside, it’s not like Swinton isn’t a film festival fan to begin with. She and a couple of friends have launched their own fest in Scotland — the Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams Festival.

“It’s a vision, it’s like Brigadoon.

“We made the festival last August in a disused bingo hall. We are now no longer able to use it for very dull reasons. We have made it a travelling show,” says Swinton.

They charge $6 admission, seat audiences on beanbag chairs, and show them whatever films they feel like showing them. They’ve even had guest programmers, like filmmaker Joel Coen, to help run the mobile theatre.

“The aim is that no one expects it. If people expect us to do something extraordinary we go out of our way not to. It’s our non-existent festival.”

• I Am Love screens at 8:45 a.m. Friday at Scotiabank Theatre.