Festival Daily

By Ghita Loebenstein

312 films! 20,693 minutes of film! Nine venues! Only 10 days! For the love of film!!! But fear not, dear reader, the Daily has come to the rescue! We’ll zap you through ticket-buying, decode the programme book, whip your schedule into shape and gamma-ray you to the cinema on time. Bam! Instant cinephile.


Haven’t bought a TIFF pass already? Quit lazing about and go online! Just visit www.tiff08.ca and make your selections. Once you’ve bought tickets, you’ll receive a top-secret missive via email confirming your purchases. Print out this message and exchange it for tickets at the theatre box office. But, dear reader, please be sure to give yourself at least one hour to pick up tickets before the start of your film.

Scared of the Internet? Don’t have your BlackBerry handy? Call 416-968-FILM or toll-free at 1-877-968-FILM! Or, if you’re a personable sort, simply present yourself at any Festival Box Office and purchase tickets in person. The box offices at Toronto Life Square, Manulife Centre and Roy Thomson Hall open at 7am every day of TIFF.

*Or at least, not until the projector is running and the last film lover has taken her seat.
Here’s how to make hot tickets materialize.

“Off-sale” simply means that a film’s preliminary ticket allocation has run out. At 7am every morning, all box offices – including the online and telephone box offices – will be flush with fresh tickets for eager film fans to purchase as they please. Same-day tickets are also available at the theatre box offices, which open one hour prior to the first public screening of the day.

When same-day tickets have run out, don’t give up! Grab a spot in the Rush line outside the cinema. Fifteen minutes prior to each screening, unused tickets are redistributed to the Rush crowd. (The Daily recommends lining up at least 30 minutes prior to the film’s starting time.) Only cash or vouchers are accepted here, and Rush tickets cost $19.29.

Hey, big spender? Have you pre-purchased several tickets to several films? You can pick up all your buys at any Festival Box Office. The Daily reminds you that there is a purchase cap of four tickets per individual account to any one screening.

With over 300 films in the programme, we know what an agonizing decision it is to choose your films! That’s why we’ve wheeled in the expert advice of super-programmers Matthew Hays of the Canadian Feature Film Selection Committee and Jane Schoettle, International Programmer, to help you make top-notch film picks.    

“I would urge you to be as adventurous as possible. Films with big stars will have releases after the Festival, so opt for the riskier, more experimental films if you’re looking for a Festival experience. The smaller, undiscovered films, those from developing countries and a lot of the Canadian films won’t get releases. Even critics like me won’t get to see them in another setting beyond the Festival. I try to take in an Indian film because we don’t get enough. Midnight Madness always rocks my world, and I love Real to Reel.”

JANE SAYS: A little from Column A and a little from Column B!
“Get the TIFF book, go online and see what takes your fancy. Then get referrals from friends, colleagues and cinephiles. Or try putting together a mixed bag: pick two films that have directors and actors you know and like, then pick two films from countries you have already visited and two films from countries you want to visit, then pick two films from sections that you are drawn to, like docs, or something daring, like Visions and Vanguard. For the last two, fly a little – flick the book, throw a dart and take a chance!”

Keen to spot some Tinseltown glamour? Jane Schoettle shares some insider tips:
-    If you want to see stars, try films that play at Roy Thomson Hall, Ryerson Theatre, the Visa Screening Room at the Elgin Theatre and the Isabel Bader Theatre
-    Don’t waste time trying to get into parties with big burly security guards. They’re private events – even TIFF staff won’t get invited.
-    Celebs need their down time. Perhaps peer through the potted plants in one of the city’s posh downtown hotels or sneak stealthy peeks over the top of a magazine in Indigo at the Manulife Centre.

Don’t miss the chance to see the world’s best filmmakers discuss their new works. Many films feature Q&As after the screening. Stick around and enjoy the ride!

Ten days of Festival mayhem can crack even the hardest film nut. Our seasoned professionals share their survival secrets.

Jesse Hawken (Assistant Manager, Customer Relations) says QUEUES ARE COOL: “Part of the Festival experience is lining up. Use your line experience proactively. Make friends! Get recommendations! Have fun!”

Jane’s Festival must-haves:
“Don’t forget a collapsible umbrella, lip balm, protein of some sort, a small water bottle, avocado eye cream, a loaded Starbucks card and sleep!”