June 26, 2008

27 Films, a New Venue, and New Ticket Packages Announced

Two big press releases today. First, TIFF has announced the initial batch of international titles. Nearly all of the 27 films will be having their North American premieres in Toronto after debuting at Cannes or Director's Fortnight. Clicking on the "Films" label will give you a constantly-updated list of every announced film, or you can browse by program.

The second press release is much more interesting. First comes word that "the AMC Yonge & Dundas will provide almost one third of TIFF’s 34 screens." A new 24-screen multiplex on Yonge and Dundas? Anyone from Toronto want to send along a description of the theater? Has anyone heard which venue(s) is/are being dropped? I vote for The Cumberland.

Also, there are two new ticket packages. The description is a bit vague:

The Festival Lite and Daytime Lite Packages offer smaller versions of the original Festival Package and Daytime Package, respectively, for those who want to experience the Festival on a lighter scale. The Festival Lite offers the opportunity to see up to 30 films, while the Daytime Lite is good for up to 15 films (one ticket per screening). The Festival Package and Daytime Package are still available for TIFF-going cinephiles.

I wonder if the Festival Lite is exactly the same as the old 30-ticket pass?


Madeleine said...

From the press release, they list the Varsity, Cumberland, Scotiabank, Isabel Bader, Ryerson, Elgin, Winter Garden and Jackman Hall as being used (in addition to the Roy Thomson for the Galas). No mention of the ROM. They mention they'll be having 34 total screens for the fest this year (I believe last year had 24)...so they may not be cutting anything else. With regards to the Festival Lite pass, I presume it'll be like the Festival pass in that you can't use more than one pass slot per film (like you could with the 30 coupon book).

Darren said...

Thanks, Madeleine. Obviously I was so excited by the big announcements that I skimmed too quickly over the rest. I won't miss the ROM, and I'm especially glad to see Jackman Hall on the list. I'm praying they learned from the problems last year and are returning the Wavelengths programmes to Jackman.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

You know it's getting to TIFF time when there is lots of excitement at 1st Thursday!

Cumberland is staying, interesting I heard rumblings it wouldn't be.

The only one I saw dropped is as Madeleine says - The ROM. I won't miss it in terms of it being a no food/drink and pretty stiff seats, but it was so nicely close to The Bader and the Cumberland.

I've not been to the Yonge & Dundas AMC location yet. It opened here around Easter 08. It's is close to The Elgin and Ryerson so that will be nice.

The festival lite really looks like the 30 coupon book from the past. I think introducing the daytime lite is smart, I got the 25 daytime pass last year and it was a really snug fit getting those films in.

Darren said...

Hey Shannon,

I figured you'd be one of the first TIFF obsessives to pop in around here. ;)

I've tended to avoid the ROM for the last few years -- in fact, I think I've only seen two films there since 2005 -- but I can't seem to escape The Cumberland, which they tend to use for many of the smaller international films.

I'm intrigued by the new theater being totally digital. Hopefully they'll use it for some of the HD films, like 24 Cities and Three Monkeys.

Don Marks said...

Something I just noticed on the festival website, regarding the public passes:

"Not valid for Gala screenings at Roy Thomson Hall or Visa Screening Room events at the Elgin Theatre." (emphasis mine)

I guess they're really keen on selling those $30 single tickets to the Elgin shows. Oh well, there's more screenings I'll be scratching off my list.

Also I see that donors get preferential treatment in the lottery.

I'm curious whether some of this newly expanded screen count is intended to expand the press and industry screening schedule. Will they stay put at the Varsity, expand by adding the Cumberland, or move on down to the AMC? 10 screens sounds like an awful lot to add just for public screenings.

Jackman Hall has been out of the picture due to construction at the AGO for the last couple of years. I think they always intended to return to it.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Oh, TIFF obsessives... I like that!

I won't miss the ROM, small seats, not very raked, and.../cry .. you can't bring in any food or drink!

I end up at the Cumberland a lot for some reason as well. Well, for 2 years it was because I was working there!

I'm really curious about the AMC. I wonder how big the theatres are, with 24 at one location I can't imagine they'd be huge. I wonder if they will run 2 theatres in tandem like they do at the Varsity at times. I definitely have to swing over there and check it out. Research is fun!

Weird about the AGO/Jackman Hall as Jackman Hall was open throughout the construction. It is such a beautiful screen, I'll be there in a few days to see 8 1/2 - finally!

Darren said...

"Also I see that donors get preferential treatment in the lottery."

Oh, you're right. I hadn't noticed that. (It's announced about 2/3 of the way down this page. I remember watching an episode of Jon Favreau's TV show, Dinner for Five, in which he and his guests got on the subject of their favorite film festivals. Several mentioned TIFF, and I recall Favreau describing it as "democratic" and "the people's fest" (or something like that) because everyone has equal access to tickets (more or less). I wonder if there'll be much fallout from this decision.

Then again, as a Benefactor-level supporter, I'll take whatever help I can get in the draw. What can I say? I'm ambivalent. ;)

the liberal samurai said...

Is the locking out of passholders to Visa Screening room events something new? I seem to remember in years past that I was able to use my pass to see films at the Elgin. I'm an 8 year fest vet and just stumbled upon your site, nice work!

Dan Dickinson said...

The new AMC is large, and so are the theatres inside (at least, the ones I've been in). Great screens and sound, but the building it's in is still under construction right now.

It's too new to have the comfortable character of the Cumberland or even the Varsity, but it fits with the TIFF's plan to eventually move most or all movies downtown.

Personally I'm happy, since I live 5 minutes away from Yonge & Dundas. :)

Darren said...

Sanjay, the Visa Screening Room policy has changed this year. I typically only see one or two films at the Elgin, so it probably won't affect me too much. But I also spend around $700 for the Festival Pass and Out-of-Town package, so it's frustrating to learn another whole segment of the fest has been closed off.

Dan, thanks for the report on the new AMC.

Larry said...

Thanks for the link, Dan. There's a couple more useful pieces of information about the new AMC here (need to allow time between TIFF screenings to get up and down those escaltors) and here (Ryerson to use 12 screens as lecture halls during off-peak hours).

Looks like all 24 screens are stadium seating, according to this PDF map. Levels 4-7 of the Toronto Life building. Wish I could find a map of which theaters are on which levels.