This is my first year attending the Toronto Film Fest in a serious way. By serious I mean I have a 25 daytime ticket package, I have the week off work, and I will be seeing 3+ films a day.
I generally attend a few screenings a year, either free passes through work (most often for Midnight Madness, which I adore), or going with a friend to something. But nothing comprehensive, and I confess to having a slightly negative view of the festival. I’m not a huge fan of celebrity culture, so the people who are drawn to that often bother me. Some of the film selections are questionable (every year there seem to be a lot of mainstream Hollywood flicks that are about to be released in theatres). And the process for getting advance tickets is so byzantine that it has turned me off doing it until now, despite my overpowering love of watching movies all day.
But thanks to the expert guidance of some TIFF vet friends, here I am, about ready to drop my order book off, having waded through an overcomplicated but doable selection process.
The site Tiffr (found via funkaoshi) was a huge help. The official TIFF site looks decent at first glance but the illusion quickly crumbles when you do something foolish like try to search for a film. Then you notice how it sometimes remembers your film list, sometimes not. Instead, Tiffr is like a benevolent parasite – you click a bookmarklet to shortlist films as you browse the TIFF official site. After that, your shortlist can populate a planner screen where you see the films you want to see in all their chronological, overlapping glory. Once you’ve made a series of frustrating compromises and finalized your schedule, you can print it, export to iCal, etc. (here’s mine, for whatever it’s worth to you.)
I’m cautiously optimistic about the upcoming festival experience. I think I’ve picked some decent flicks, and I’m frickin’ thrilled to have a week off work to do nothing but watch theoretically awesome movies. However, I understand there are at least a couple more Soviet bureaucratic hoops to be jumped through before I have my tickets, and possibly some lining up, so I’ll just wait and hope for the best.