August 28, 2007

Let the Games Begin!

TIFF's server is getting a workout, but the schedule is up now. Edit: That calendar page is a bit screwy. The list view seems to be working better.


Dan Sallitt said...

The list view is screwy in my browser as well. I'm hoping for a PDF of the schedule - has anyone spotted one?

Darren said...

No sign of a PDF yet. I'm trying to decide if I want to just wait until tomorrow, when I'll be able to finger through the actual schedule. By the way, Dan, does this mean you've found a way to manage your back problems?

Dan Sallitt said...

Darren - yeah, I'm coming to TIFF. My back isn't good, but I think it's more a question of pain management at this point - I don't think it will get much worse. After I make a schedule, I'll check in with you about that dinner.

Darren said...

That's great, Dan.

I just spent five minutes trying to copy one of the TIFF schedules into Excel, but the formatting is so screwy, it would have taken an hour or three to generate a usable PDF. Sadly, I have to get at least some work done today.

girish said...

Here's a reminder to everyone: if you scroll down on the film description page for a film, you will be able to determine if the film has US distribution or not. I've been using this quite a bit to make my tie-breaking choices.

girish said...

Okay, the production design credit (Tsai) on the Lee Kang-Sheng film, along with the still image, has now moved the film several notches up on my list!

Darren said...

Anyone else running into some serious scheduling congestion on Thursday 9/13 and Saturday 9/15?

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

The schedule on the site is kinda freaky!

Thursday the 13th has been quite the challenge to schedule. What an exercise in working with multiple variables!

Darren said...

My Out-of-Town package arrived twenty minutes ago, so Christmas morning is officially here! God, I love the smell of the TIFF program book. (Too much information?)

J Robert said...

For the second year in a row, my Out of Towner package has been held up in customs. But unlike last year, it's not even going to arrive today. This is particularly troublesome because I'm leaving first thing tomorrow morning to re-join a family vacation (I came back to Chicago last night just to get the TIFF stuff).

I know I can go online and work through the schedule (though that's hardly the same), but I don't know how I'll get my ticket order in.

Given that TIFF had this problem last year, I would've assumed they would get their act together this year, but apparently not. I will say that this might be my last TIFF for a while. Putting up with this bs two years in a row (you can't imagine how difficult it's been to get through to TIFF this morning) and interrupting a great lakeshore vacation has seriously damaged the joy I usually get from filling out my order. Sorry to gripe, but I'm really tired of TIFF's bush-league service.

Michael said...

I just received mine about ten minutes ago.

J Robert, very sorry to hear about your troubles with TIFF. I remember the debacle last year, as my OOT package got held up in customs and showed up a day late. This is one more reason why TIFF should develop an online ordering system.

I hope you get everything sorted out in one way or another.

Darren said...

J. Robert, you're the second person I've heard from who hasn't received his package. Given that they offered the option of selecting films online this year, I suspect this will likely be the last year of FedEx nightmares. I can't imagine what's causing the customs problems, but I'm sure everyone in the TIFF office is having a really bad day.

Charity said...

What is holding up the packages is that they were sent out without customs manifests. Mine is also missing, stuck in Newark awaiting customs clearance by hand. I'm sure that everyone at the TIFF office is having a very bad day, but I'm not feeling much sympathy right now.

Dan - Stewart and I are going as well (though it's looking like we're going to be hosed in our selection of films.) Drop him a line - it would be great to get together.

Doug said...

How does one know if their package has been held up in customs? Mine simply hasn't arrived, and as far as I know, I was never given a shipping notice or tracking number at all. Did folks receive those yesterday or something?

Michael said...

Doug, I didn't receive a tracking number or a notice about the OOT packages being sent out. Mine just showed up (I was worried for a bit because there was no tracking number).

Doug said...

What time did you receive yours, Michael?

Doug said...

"I remember the debacle last year, as my OOT package got held up in customs and showed up a day late. This is one more reason why TIFF should develop an online ordering system."

TIFF has *got* to improve this system, or I'm leaning toward J. Robert's ultimatum; I go to TIFF because a lot of my friends go, but it's hardly the only show in town (or North America) for those of us who live in large, cinephile-friendly cities.

Dan Sallitt said...

Someone I know called TIFF and was given a tracking number for his package, which is resting in Newark, like Charity's. He was told it should arrive tomorrow morning (which will give him enough time, as he's been working with the online schedule), and he was given the number of a representative who will help him if something else goes wrong. Others in the same boat should probably call TIFF.

Hi, Charity! I'll look for Stewart's email address when I get home.

Anonymous said...

When my packet hadn't arrived by 10:30, my wife called FedEx and was told there was no tracking number or record of a package available.

Fortunately, mine arrived 20 minutes later, when the delivery person told us that they actually had until noon to hand it off.

I'm sorry to hear about others' delivery woes.

- Andrew

J Robert said...

"I'm sure that everyone at the TIFF office is having a very bad day, but I'm not feeling much sympathy right now."

Me neither. I felt sympathy last year. But this year they either had to do whatever necessary to avoid a repeat of the customs fiasco or be better prepared to deal with the situation. They did neither. I had no way of contacting anyone at TIFF. I finally called the main receptionist, and she quickly shuffled me to a voicemail. Four hours later, there's still no word from Toronto. And yet they're still charging me an exorbitant figure for the "Out of Towner service."

TIFF is not some fly-by-night operation, and yet they are unprepared for what should've been a forseeable situation.

J Robert said...

But enough groaning from me. How's everyone's schedule coming? I've seen what dan and girish are interested in seeing, over on girish's blog. But what about darren, et al?

I'll try to post something later tonight. I'm about two-thirds the way through the online "catalog" (a poor substitute, I assure you, but a usable one)

Doug said...

I feel your pain, J. Robert.

"Others in the same boat should probably call TIFF."

Dan, I have tried five or six times to call TIFF's 416 and 877 numbers this afternoon, and I can't even get a ring tone. I suspect they're swamped with callers. At the very least, they should've emailed tracking numbers...

J Robert said...

Doug, you can call FedEx (800-463-3339) without a tracking number. They have this irritating computer voice, but you just have to ask for something it can't understand and it will transfer you to an operator. And though the live operator would prefer you to have a tracking number, he or she can pull up your package info with just your address.

It may not matter, though. The only word I received was that my package was stuck in Newark awaiting customs inspection. I wasn't exactly promised the package tomorrow morning, but that was the implication.

Doug said...

Thanks, J. Robert! Will do.

Doug said...

Okay, Fed-Ex confirmed it was a customs hold-up. They said it should arrive before 10:30 tomorrow, if that's any consolation for those who didn't received theirs today.

Back to the online schedule...

Michael said...

Doug, I received mine about 10:00AM this morning. Best of luck in receiving yours. When this happened to me last year, I hurriedly had to fill out the forms at work so I could make it to FedEx in time. I lucked out that I had nothing crucial due at work that day. Best of luck to you.

Michael said...

Well, I'm discovering the perils of having to leave TIFF early. Since I fly home on the 12th, I won't be able to see Alexandra, La Fille coupee en deux, Dans la ville de Sylvia, or The Best Years of Our Lives (which I was hoping to see since I might be showing parts of it in class in the fall). On the bright side, I should still be able to catch (provided I get my first choices) the films by Hou, Reygadas, Tarr, Jia, Rivette, and a few others.

Darren said...

J. Robert asked:

"I've seen what dan and girish are interested in seeing, over on girish's blog. But what about darren, et al?"

I've just finished my first run at the schedule and am feeling pretty good about it. The two most painful casualties are Alexandra and 4 Months, although, honestly, I'm ambivalent about Sokurov and I don't mind catching up with the Romanian film on DVD.

After reading Robert Koehler's interview with Wang Bing in CinemaScope, I'm really excited about Fengming. Here's a reenactment of a scene that played out in my bedroom last night:

Me: So, Joanna, I'm really excited about this three-hour Chinese documentary. It's basically an interview with this old woman who participated in the Revolution. I've heard that it's filmed almost entirely in long, static takes.

[long pause]

Joanna: You're a dork. . . . Go to sleep.

It looks like I might also end up seeing three big studio films, which will be a new TIFF experience for me: Margot at the Wedding, No Country for Old Men, and Elizabeth. I couldn't schedule any of the dialogues, but I am going to catch the revival of Les Bons Debarras. I was excited and surprised to see that it's playing in Varsity 1.

Other than that, my schedule is mostly built from the Wavelengths programs and the slate of Cannes, Venice, and NYFF films. I'm going to pick up 40 tickets, and assume that I'll end up skipping a couple and trading others.

Michael said...

Darren, a couple of similarities with your schedule: I am also going to try to catch Kapur's Elizabeth, even though it goes into wide release later (I'm gradually working through something on Elizabeth's personality and its representation in Kapur's first film about her, and so I'm very eager to see the new one). And I might also catch Fengming; I was ambivalent at first, but over the last two days I've really gravitated towards it, and given my interest in my own family history, I think this might be worthwhile (not that they lived through Mao's China; it's just that I find family and personal history interesting).

I am still shooting for 4 Months. I've scheduled two of the six Wavelengths programs ahead of time and might try to attend a few more if time allows and tickets are available. My biggest hurdle is still Friday, Sept. 7 -- there are seven films I want to see, all showing before 5pm. Somethin' is gonna give.

Larry said...

My package didn't arrive either. This is my third year attending TIFF and the third time this has happened.

Actually, last year was customs as well, but the first year was the TIFF people forgetting to put their account number on the prepaid mailer back.

I have to say that each year they have handled the situation reasonably well. The first year my package didn't arrive back in TO until Saturday but the guy who said he would watch for it must have because I got an email with all my selections an hour after the FedEx signature.

I expect this now. A couple of weeks ago I wrote an email politely begging to be included in the pilot online section group this year, but they had already chosen then group by then.

Grease1739 said...

1st time poster, but I have been visiting the site religiously for the past month or two.

Just as an FYI, I selected the Out of Town service, and opted for online. So far it has been great, however, it asked me to make my 1st choices all at once, and then I had to go through and make my 2nd choices afterward, remembering the times/location and length of each film.(it doesn't list this for you when you order.)

The problem is, it asks me to "rank" my 2nd choices by priority, and to me this makes no sense, b/c if you order by mail, you basically select your 2nd choice right around the same time as your 1st choices.

My concern is that if this system appears to be set up this way, I may be double-booked for several screenings if I don't get a few of my 1st choices.

Anyone else having this problem?

J Robert said...

All right. I've put together my schedule and will send it out as soon as FedEx arrives. In case anyone cares, here are the films I'm shooting for (in some order of preference). Note that this list is influenced somewhat by freelance writing considerations (these bills gotta get paid).

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
You, the Living
Voyage du Ballon Rouge
Mourning Forest
Paranoid Park
Man from London
Secret Sunshine
My Winnipeg
Silent Light
Encounters at the End of the World
The Banishment
Dr Plonk
Buddha Collapsed out of Shame
Iska's Journey
Beyond the Years
The Pope's Toilet
On the Wings of Dreams
Help Me Eros
Sad Vacation
Please Vote for Me/Dinner with the President
Lust, Caution
The Sun Also Rises
Glory to the Filmmaker!
A Gentle Breeze in the Village
Chacun Son Cinema
Just Like Home
Unfinished Stories
The Band's Visit

Movies I really wanted to see but couldn't work into the schedule:
Les Ordres
Wavelengths 5

Bob Turnbull said...

j robert, it looks like you've just about completely covered my initial picks with your list. Of course, I only have a puny single 10 pack (I gotta take some time off next year).

Chaotic Ana (Julio Medem) and Jar City (Baltasar Kormakur) are the others I have that you don't.

I'm not finalized yet though. For some reason I keep coming back to The Exodus (Pang Ho-cheung) as it just sounds like it could be really good (or terrible...too close to call at this point).

M (Lee Myung-se), The Mother Of Tears (Dario Argento) and Please Vote For Me (Weijun Chen) are all making last minute rallys...Chrysalis (Julien LeClercq) and Silent Resident (Christian Frosch) look good too. And so do...

Dammit, I need more than 10!

A Gentle Breeze In The Village (Nobuhiro Yamashita), Glory To The Filmmaker! (Takeshi Kitano) and You, The Living (Roy Andersson) are the immovables for me.

> "You're a dork. . . . Go to sleep."

lol...That has a ring of familiarity to it...

Darren Hughes said...

What are you seeing on the first night, J. Robert? I suspect it might be a hot ticket, but I'm hoping to see the 9:00 showing of Persepolis at the Elgin.

I'm really looking forward to Wolfsbergen, too, and there are several others on your list that piqued my curiosity but that I couldn't manage to schedule. I'm really disappointed that I'll have to miss Jellyfish, but it conflicted with Wavelengths and Silent Light, which is probably the top film on my to-see list.

J Robert said...

Sorry, Bob and Darren. I didn't mean to start a conversation and then leave. But FedEx showed up just after I posted; I filled out my ticket order form and then headed back to the lakeshore for family vacation.

Bob, what was the appeal of Chaotic Ana and Jar City for you?

Darren, I'm (hopefully) seeing the double feature of Dinner with the President and Please Vote for Me on opening night. Documentaries, esp. ones about politics and/or children, score very high on my spreadsheet. But at the moment, I haven't received any notice from TIFF, so I have no idea what tickets I actually have.

Just waitin'...

Bob Turnbull said...

I'm still waiting too...I was box 45. I only had one at The Elgin - a Saturday afternoon showing of Chacun Son Cinema, but I'm starting to think it's a lost cause. I didn't pick a second choice for that one, so it looks like I'll be in line Monday. Oh well, I'm still psyched.

>Bob, what was the appeal of Chaotic Ana and Jar City for you?

Chaotic Ana is definitely due to director Julio Medem. It appears that he's returning to themes of predetermined fates and repeated occurrences which he used in Lovers Of The Arctic Circle (which I thought was great). And Sex And Lucia wasn't too shabby either.

Jar City is a bit riskier as I really didn't like Kormakur's 101 Reykjavik very much, but the trailer and other Icelandic cinema has made me want to give it a shot. My fave Icelandic film is The Seagull's Laughter which I thought was just tremendous.