June 17, 2010

Buying Tickets & Coupons (Updated for 2010)

The 2010 edition of the TIFF website went live this morning (it's pretty), and the first important information has been posted: Tickets and Packages.

Tickets go on sale on Monday morning, June 21, for donors, and Visa cardholders can begin making purchase on July 5. Like last year, TIFF has divided ticket-purchasing options into three basic categories, which have been rebranded:

  • My Choice Packages (you choose the films)
  • TIFF Choice Packages (programmers choose the films for you)
  • A-la Carte tickets (September 3, 7am Single tickets on sale)

The good news: Ticket prices haven't changed! New this year, they've dropped the old "Festival" and "Festival Lite" package titles for more consistent and obviously-descriptive names.For those hoping to see as many films as possible, there are three main options: the 10-Tickets Package is $160 ($159.14 last year), the 30-Films Package is $386 ($386.25 last year), and the 50-Films Package is $524 ($524.27 last year). The Courier Film Selection Service (formerly Out-of-Town Package) is $150.

Keep in mind that you can buy more than one 10-Tickets Package. If cost is a real issue, one option is to buy one of the two Day Packages, which are good for 25 films ($202) or 15 films (new for this year at $139) that begin before 5:01 pm. (In 2006, 23 of the 34 films I saw would have qualified.) Combined with one 10-Tickets Package and some careful scheduling, the daytime packages can offer great bang for the buck.

The 10-Tickets Package remains the most flexible option, though it's less so than it used to be. You can no longer treat yourself and nine friends to a single screening. Instead, the 10-Tickets Package is now limited to 4 tickets per screening, per person and/or account. The 30-Films Package and the 50-Films Package, however, are good for only one ticket per screening.

For what it's worth, 30-34 films (or 3.5-4 per day) seems to be my comfort zone. I've tried several strategies in the past. In 2005 I used the 50-Films Package to preorder more than 40 tickets, and by Tuesday or Wednesday I was already skipping screenings to catch up on sleep and to get some sun on my skin. In 2006 I preordered tickets to the 30 films at the top of my to-see list, scheduling one or two light days midweek, and then bought a few individual tickets, based on friends' recommendations and general buzz, after I got there. Last year, when the 30-ticket package wasn't an option, I returned to the 50-Films Package and took better advantage of those extra coupons by doing a lot of schedule-shuffling. During the last four or five days of the fest, I often had tickets to two films that were playing simultaneously, made a last-minute decision, and then whenever possible sold my extra ticket at face value to someone in the rush line.

Note: This is an updated post.

15 comments:

Andy H. said...

Okay, here's a question for you: I'm going to be travelling in a group of 3 or 4, and we'll be in Toronto for (probably) either 2 or 3 full festival days plus one partial day (Sunday). I'm "in charge" of this expedition, and my duties include ticket purchase.

I'm looking at a combination of 10-film packages and Daytime passes, but I'm not sure what the best ratio is. My question (finally): roughly how many flights of screenings start after 5pm every day? For instance, will there generally be screenings at 5/6-ish and then more at 7/8-ish?


andyhorbal said...

Now that I think about it, though, I'll bet we're best off with a Festival Pass.


Darren said...

Be careful with the Festival Pass. It's really designed to be used by one person who is seeing a lot of films. So, for example, if you're all sharing a Pass, you won't be able to attend any screenings together. (One ticket per screening.) You'll all, in a sense, be pretending to be one person (if that makes sense).

The typical TIFF day can be divided into six sections: Morning (8:30 - 11:30), Early Afternoon (11:30 - 2:30), Late Afternoon (2:30 - 5:30), Evening (5:30 - 8:30), Night (8:30 - 12:00), and Midnight Madness. Almost every day of the fest last year I saw two films after 5:00.


andyhorbal said...

Thanks--that is super useful! Does the 10-film package get you into Midnight Madness screenings?


Darren said...

Yep. The 10-Film package will get you into everything but the Galas.


Andy H. said...

Okay, one more question and then I'll abandon this particular interrogation (I hope at least one other person finds this useful!):

Can more than one of us attend a screening with a Day Pass or a 10-ticket package?


Darren Hughes said...

The Daytime Pass works just like the Festival Pass -- one ticket per screening. The 10-Film Package really is the most flexible. Like I mentioned in the post, you could buy the package, round up 9 of your friends, and go see one film together, or you could use it attend 10 separate screenings.


Eric M. said...

Hi.

I bought the Festival Pass. Does that mean that I am able to see both Gala Screenings and Special Presentations? Is it pretty much a pass that makes me able to see everything?


Darren said...

The Festival Pass gets you into everything except for the Gala Presentations at Roy Thompson Hall. That doesn't mean that you won't be able to see "Gala" films like The Golden Age. You'll just have to attend one of the public screenings instead.

I mentioned this briefly in the Ryerson post, but the Galas typically have a big premiere showing at Roy Thompson Hall, where the stars and paparazzi gather; then, usually on the following day, there are one or two public screening at one of the other larger theaters (The Ryerson or Varsity 8).


Jimmy said...

If I get a 10 Film Package without the Out of Town package, does that mean I basically have to stand on line and fight it out for individual tickets once I get to the festival? Because that sounds vaguely nightmarish...


Darren said...

Tickets for all screenings go on sale on September 5 (the day before the fest begins). I'm pretty sure you'll be able to place your order online or by phone then and redeem your 10 coupons for the actual tickets when you arrive in Toronto. You might want to call the box office to make sure, though: 416-968-FILM or 1-877-968-FILM.


Maya said...

Darren: Will you be experiencing TIFF as press this year? I just secured my accreditation.


Darren said...

Probably not this year, Maya. I really do prefer the public screenings, but I regret that I won't be able to do any interviews. There are a couple filmmakers I'd really like to speak with, and if they show up I might try to wrangle access to them.


the liberal samurai said...

Darren,
Did you notice that even though ticket package prices were relatively unchanged there appeared to be a significant increase in overall cost. Is the HST new this year? My total cost is up close to 10% vs last year. About 2% is the building fees and handling charge but the rest I think comes from new taxes.


Rob said...

If I buy two ten-ticket packages, can I go to the box-office at any time now to start exchanging them for my desired films, or is there a certain date when this process begins?