While I may only have two festivals under my belt, I’d like to think that I’ve been to enough screenings at TIFF that I can now speak with experience. TIFF 2015 ended last weekend and while we wait in excitement for TIFF 2016 to role around, there’s a lot that can be said about the festival, and not just from my own experience.
Packages vs Tickets
At the end of my first TIFF in 2014, I said to myself that I was going to get a package and see tons of films the following year. However, the reality is that for the majority of us that packages; a fantastic option for seeing lots of films at the festival, isn’t always the best choice. If you choose a package where the TIFF organizers select a series of films, you could really enjoy yourself. However, there is also the chance that you’ll not like any of the films you see, making you feel like that the money you spent was somewhat of a waste. While not guaranteed to be mediocre by any means, it’s not guaranteed to brilliant either. If you get to pick your own film selections, then it really is the best option for packages. With that said, it isn’t cheap and unless your splitting the ticket cost with friends, 10 films might be a lot for most people’s schedules.
I understand though that there are those that see movies daily during TIFF, and if I had the time I would too. But I find that individual tickets was far more cost effective and better for my schedule for what I wanted to see. Getting individual tickets to films is much harder than if you have a package, but in a way it’s part of the fun. I rush lined my first TIFF film and the film was that much more satisfying cause of it. I didn’t rush anything this year, but I think might have been due to scheduling and the line up at this year’s festival.
What to see
Here’s my tip for TIFF: If you’re not sure what to see, look at the film line up and pick lots of movies. You may think that you might not be able to see all these films, and you’d be right. Unless you’re buying a package, getting individual tickets is almost impossible unless you’re up the moment tickets become available online. Essentially you need lots of back up options. Because if you only what to see one popular/highly anticipated movie, then chances are you’re going to be very disappointed. My personal recommendation is to see films either in subjects you’re interested in, or more specifically films with actors you like. I partially saw Eye in the Sky for just it’s stellar cast, the interesting premise was a nice bonus.
Keep Expectations Realistic
It should go without saying, but if you’ve never been to TIFF before you really need to lower your expectations. Yes, TIFF is an amazing festival where you can see some awesome premieres and maybe see some famous film stars. But, you can also spend your TIFF seeing movies you don’t like and not see anyone famous. Some people are incredibly lucky, others are less so. In conjunction with expectations, it should also go without saying that just because you arrived at the red carpet hours before the premiere of movie starring actor X, doesn’t mean actor X will be at the premiere.
But most important of all is to have fun. Here’s to an amazing TIFF 2015. I hope TIFF 2016 will be just as good.
If you’re curious about other TIFF related reviews and posts on this blog (I got to see some fantastic films), you can find them here.