Saturday, August 26, 2006

How to Schedule Movies and Not Go Crazy (Part 2)

So you've tried the randomizing, the Andalusian puffy snake technique, and...maybe something with numbers and gorillas. Now, I'll show you my own method, which is guaranteed to work, except when it doesn't. It's useful mostly for the selection of 30 to 50 films, but some of it is useful in any circumstance.

The first step to a successful (and less insanity-inducing) TIFF schedule is to isolate a handful of core films--must-see, bedrock films that will anchor the rest of your schedule. These are the films you absolutely can't bear to miss. I recommend choosing only seven or eight of these core films, which should minimize the chance of conflicting times. It helps, of course, that each film will play at least twice, which helps a lot.

The great thing about this first list is that it's utterly personal. These are the films that matter the most to you, whether it's for a director you admire or a can't miss storyline. As a potentially embarrasing example, here is my current list of core films, alphabetically and with commentary:
As you can see, the films I'm interested in are almost uniformly director-driven. In addition, I've avoided the galas and almost any film guaranteed a major release, which knocks off The Fountain, among others. Borat would easily be on the list, but it's rumored to be the opening Midnight show, and I won't arrive until Friday. Also left off, for completely arbitrary reasons: Invisible Waves and Big Bang Love: Juvenile A (which, incidentally, is tied for best title in the festival with Brand Upon the Brain!.

Anyway, this is my current starter list. In the next installment, I'll explain the far more arcane "second tier," which, for some reason, takes up most of my time and effort. By the way, if you think I'm missing a real winner, let me know in the comments. I have the strange sensation that I'm overlooking something...


the liberal samurai said...

My buddy and I do essentially the same thing (a multi tiered list). We always have the 10 midnight madness films picked. Then we go with directors we know. And finally we look at programmers we trust. Its a daunting task indeed but well worth the effort!

Mattvideo said...

Me and a friend of mine do a movie podcast, and we'll be podcasting from TIFF. Drop me a line if you'd like to participate in a roundtable discussion of the movies we're all seeing. Check us out at

Great blog so far,

Matthew Price