Blog: TIFF 2018 is here - do you need to be a member to get the best out of it?

TIFF sign on King Street West

Six years ago, when I moved to Toronto, one of my dreams was to go to Toronto International Film Festival. Since I arrived in late summer of 2012 and was starting school, it was too late for me to get tickets for any galas, but I still managed to see one movie.

It was “Laurence Anyways” by a French Canadian director Xavier Dolan. The movie screening was very low-key compared to my later experiences at TIFF, but nevertheless, I found it very exciting. The screening was at Scotiabank Theatre, but we still got to meet with the director and the cast. To watch the movie and then have a chance to be at the Q&As with the cast inspired me so much. I couldn’t wait for 2013.

During the summer of 2013, I purchased TIFF membership, and I did not regret it to this day. There was an orientation for new members, which I went to and even wrote a post on Tumblr about it. I am going to insert a part of my blog post here:

Today was the orientation tour for new members at Bell Lightbox, and of course, I went there. There was a pretty big group of people (bigger than I expected), and we were split into two smaller groups. First, we had a tour around the building and were told about the architecture of the building - the concept of light and shadow and boxes within boxes. I have been to Lightbox before - both times during the festival, this and last year. I was only on the second floor and inside cinema 2. Today we had a tour, and we were able to go inside halls 1 and 5. We also went inside the Bell Blue Room which is for TIFF members only.

The best thing about membership is that you can come over to the Lounge (on the second floor - Luma restaurant/bar) or to the Bell Blue Room (which is open only on Thur-Fri afternoons and all throughout Sat-Sun). You can just hang out there. Have a snack. They also conduct workshops, screenings, exhibitions. Some things (like special exhibitions or TV shows season finale/premiere screenings) are free, others are available at a discounted price. (They also used to organize the Oscar ceremony screening in the members’ lounge for a couple of years. It was a lot of fun!)

They also have a Book club, and film discussions. They also have a film reference library, and you can watch any title there on the spot for free.*

I went a bit crazy with TIFF in 2013-2015. I watched a lot of movies in those years, some of them I rushed, others I was lucky to get tickets for in advance.

All movies I watched at TIFF in 2014

With years, TIFF membership benefits and the process of obtaining tickets for TIFF have changed. This is the information that I got from TIFF website as of today in regards of festival benefits.

Members 365

At the Toronto International Film Festival:

  • Exclusive ticket package pre-sale
  • Exclusive advance-package ticket selection
  • Exclusive individual ticket pre-sale
  • No service fees on exchanges via your TIFF Account Manager
  • Priority service through the Box Office

If you are reading this during the festival, it is already too late to get any festival packages. For those, you have to sign up for TIFF newsletter and watch your email months ahead. However, if you plan to buy individual tickets, getting a TIFF membership would still be beneficial as it gives you priority at the box office.

Naturally, you can purchase tickets online or over the phone, but if you have vouchers, you need to exchange them for movie tickets. The lines at the festival are unbelievable!

TIFF

If you have a ticket for a movie, arrive about 1 hour before the screening as there will be a line for ticket holders and everyone would be admitted about 10 mins before the screening. The seating is usually not assigned, and once all ticket holders are inside, the volunteers would count empty seats and let in the rush line.

TIFF

Rush Line is a great way to get tickets for screenings that are sold out. There are usually at least 10% of seats are being saved for that purpose. Sometimes extra tickets might be released on the day of the screening. Checking the TIFF website every day of the festival is a great tip!

TIFF Rush ticket

If you want to rush a ticket, then arrive 3-4 hours before screen time. Bring a chair, an umbrella, snacks and a book, and make friends with people around you. I have experience standing for 5-6 hours in rush lines, in the sun or under the rain, reading books, talking to people, taking breaks to run to a nearby Starbucks or Tim Hortons, and cheering every time the line moves one foot ahead.

It is hard to describe the feel of the festival. You need to experience it on your own. See mobs of fans crowd every entrance and exit waiting for Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp. Watch a fan ask Benedict Cumberbatch a very inappropriate question. You get so used to being around people who talk about festival movies and discuss spotted celebs almost 24/7 that later being outside of that orange bubble feels less real.

TIFF 2013 - fans are waiting for Benedict Cumberbatch in front of Princess of Wales theatre

Unfortunately, I missed a year or two of the festival due to being away on vacation, but every time when I had an opportunity, I would see at least a couple of movies.

TIFF 2017

Would having a TIFF membership help you get the best out of the festival? In my opinion, yes. It definitely helped me get early access to tickets packages and priority in Ticket Office. Not to mention discounts in some local restaurants. Members’ Lounge is pretty cool too, although it is usually not available during festival days.

Yours truly at TIFF

Check out my movies tag to see the reviews and my past experiences.

*Please refer to the official TIFF page for membership benefits, prices and festival tickets. As the details might change without my knowledge.

Links:

https://www.tiff.net/membership/

BLOG: Movies I would love to watch at TIFF 2017

Are you ready for TIFF 2017?

 

 

Ever since I moved to Toronto, I have been going to Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) almost religiously, increasing the number of movies I watched every year. In 2012, during my time in college, it was only 1 movie, “Laurence Anyways by the Quebec director Xavier Dolan. In 2013, I watched 5 movies and experienced rush lines for the first time, lining up to see “The Fifth Estate” (which flopped but I still liked it), and then first disappointment as I missed out on the ticket for “August: Osage County”, and so on. In 2015, I beat my own record and watched 8 movies during the festival - for some of those movies I spent up to 4 hours in rush lines! It was intense! (You can read about my past experiences under Cinema tag.)

Unfortunately, last year I went on vacation right at the time of TIFF (which is beginning of September). I was very disappointed but seeing my family was more important. Unfortunately, this year I also going away.

 

So, to keep myself somewhat up-to-date with what is going on at the festival, I made a list of movies that would have been my initial list of movies to keep an eye out for. Obviously, it is not possible to watch so many during the festival (and still keep your full-time job), but it is always good to have 1-2 options to choose from for every day, as you never know if you are going to get a ticket or not.

 

I took the information about the movies from TIFF website, so please refer there for the schedule which will be available on August 22 at www.tiff.net.

 

 

A Fantastic Woman

Una Mujer Fantástica

Directed by Sebastián Lelio

Country: Chile

Duration: 103 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

 

Chilean director Sebastián Lelio follows his 2013 Festival hit Gloria with this drama about a young transgender woman struggling with both her own grief and societal prejudice after the death of her middle-aged lover.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/a-fantastic-woman/?v=a-fantastic-woman

 

Alias Grace

Directed by Mary Harron

Country: Canada, USA

Duration: 90 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Primetime

 

A layered historical drama based on of Margaret Atwood’s Giller Prize–winning novel about a poor Irish servant accused and convicted of murder, from director Mary Harron and screenwriter Sarah Polley.

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/alias-grace/?v=alias-grace

Black Cop

Directed by Cory Bowles

Country: Canada

Duration: 91 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Discovery

 

A black police officer (Ronnie Rowe Jr.) seeks revenge after being egregiously profiled and assaulted by his colleagues, in this searing political satire by actor-director Cory Bowles (Trailer Park Boys).

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/black-cop/?v=black-cop

 

Breathe

Directed by Andy Serkis

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 117 minutes

Year: 2016

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

Actor Andy Serkis makes his directorial debut with the inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish (Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy), an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease.

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/breathe/?v=breathe

 

Call Me By Your Name

Directed by Luca Guadagnino

Country: Italy, France

Duration: 132 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

The latest from Italian auteur Luca Guadagnino ( I Am Love, A Bigger Splash) explores the tender, tentative relationship that blooms over the course of one summer between a 17-year-old boy on the cusp of adulthood (Timothée Chalamet) and his father's research assistant (Armie Hammer).

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/call-me-by-your-name/?v=call-me-by-your-name

Dark River

Directed by Clio Barnard

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 89 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Platform

Ruth Wilson stars in British filmmaker Clio Barnard’s atmospheric and layered drama about the old wounds and bitter new grievances that come to light when a woman returns home to settle the tenancy of her family’s Yorkshire farm.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/dark-river/?v=dark-river

 

Darkest Hour

Directed by Joe Wright

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 114 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

Gary Oldman steps into the imposing persona of Winston Churchill in Joe Wright’s (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement) period drama set in the early years of the Second World War, when Churchill’s rousing leadership inspired a nation.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/darkest-hour/?v=darkest-hour

 

Disobedience

Directed by Sebastián Lelio

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 114 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman, Gloria) directs Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams in this adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel about a woman who returns home to her orthodox Jewish community in London and rekindles a romance with her cousin’s wife.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/disobedience/?v=disobedience

 

Euphoria

Directed by Lisa Langseth

Country: Sweden, Germany

Duration: 104 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program:Platform

Swedish filmmaker Lisa Langseth directs her Hotell star Alicia Vikander and Eva Green (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) in this story of two estranged sisters attempting a difficult and ominous reconciliation, with supporting performances from Charles Dance, Charlotte Rampling, Mark Stanley, and Adrian Lester.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/euphoria/?v=euphoria

 

For Nonna Anna

Directed by Luis De Filippis

Country: Canada

Duration: 13 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Short Cuts

In this raw and graceful testimony of intersectional womanhood, a trans girl has to care for her Italian grandmother. She assumes that her Nonna disapproves of her — but instead discovers a tender bond in their shared vulnerability.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/for-nonna-anna/?v=for-nonna-anna

 

Kings

Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven

Country: France, Belgium

Duration: 92 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

In the English-language debut from writer-director Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Mustang), a recluse (Daniel Craig) helps a woman (Halle Berry) and her multiple children when riots erupt in Los Angeles following the 1992 acquittal of the policemen charged with assaulting Rodney King.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/kings/?v=kings

 

Mary Shelley

Directed by Haifaa Al Mansour

Country: Ireland, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, USA

Duration: 120 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

Elle Fanning stars in this scintillating biopic of the Frankenstein author, chronicling her tempestuous marriage to dissolute poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and the fateful night at a Swiss chateau that inspired her most famous creation.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/mary-shelley/?v=mary-shelley

 

Pre-Drink

Directed by Marc-Antoine Lemire

Country: Canada

Duration: 23 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Short Cuts 

Alexe, a trans woman, and Carl, her gay best friend, disrupt the boundaries of their friendship when they decide to have sex for the first time — and raw emotional truths collide with illusions of breezy detachment at a time of transition.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/pre-drink/?v=pre-drink

 

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women

Directed by Angela Robinson

Country: USA

Duration: 108 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

Luke Evans (High-Rise, Beauty and the Beast), Rebecca Hall (Christine), and Bella Heathcote (Fifty Shades Darker) star in this biopic of William Moulton Marston, the American psychologist who put his progressive ideals about female liberation into practice by creating the DC superhero Wonder Woman and living in an "extended relationship" with his wife and another woman.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/professor-marston-and-the-wonder-women/?v=professor-marston-and-the-wonder-women

 

Submergence

Directed by Wim Wenders

Country:France, Germany, Spain

Duration: 112 minutes

Year: 2016

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

The new film from the great Wim Wenders (Pina) is a globe-trotting romance about a water engineer (James McAvoy) and a deep-sea researcher (Oscar winner Alicia Vikander) striving to reconnect although separated by oceans, continents, and civil war.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/submergence/?v=submergence

 

The Current War

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Country: USA

Duration: 107 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) directs Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, and Katherine Waterston in this account of the race for marketable electricity in the United States between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/the-current-war/?v=the-current-war

 

The Death of Stalin

Directed by Armando Iannucci

Country: France, United Kingdom, Belgium

Duration: 107 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Platform

Armando Iannucci (Veep) directs Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, and Andrea Riseborough in this acerbic send-up of the Soviet Supremo and his band of scheming bootlicks.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/the-death-of-stalin/?v=the-death-of-stalin

 

The Upside

Directed by Neil Burger

Country: USA

Duration: 120 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart star in this remake of the French hit The Intouchables, a dramatic buddy comedy about the unlikely friendship between a rich quadriplegic and his working-class caregiver.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/the-upside/?v=the-upside

 

Thelma

Directed by Joachim Trier

Country: Norway, Sweden, France, Denmark

Duration: 116 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

Recently moved to Oslo to attend school, a young woman falls in love and discovers that she possesses terrifying powers, in this supernatural thriller from acclaimed director Joachim Trier (Louder Than Bombs).

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/thelma/?v=thelma

 

What Will People Say

Hva vil folk si

Directed by Iram Haq

Norway, Germany, Sweden106 minutes2017STCColourNorwegian, UrduWorld Premiere

TIFF 2017 Program: Platform

Nisha’s double life — obedient to her traditional Pakistani upbringing at home, typical Norwegian teenager to her friends — comes crashing down when her concerned parents kidnap her and send her to Pakistan, in Iram Haq’s personal, empathetic story of family, community, and culture.

 

http://www.tiff.net/tiff/what-will-people-say/?v=what-will-people-say

Let me know what you would like to see this year!