Thursday, July 09, 2009


(Apologies for the lame-ass title. I'm so ashamed...)

Now that I'm done with the obligatory 2008 wrap-up, I can get to the good stuff. A few weeks ago, the good people of TIFF released a couple of interesting press releases, naming the first films and detailing some changes to the festival itself. I'll get to the films eventually, but what I really want to talk about here are the changes (quotes directly from the press releases):
  • "Availability of repeat Gala screenings to ticket package-holders" (thus avoiding last year's Elgin debacle, where several screenings weren't available to package-holders).
  • "Increased access to the Visa Screening Room at the Elgin Theatre for ticket-package holders"
  • "reduction of wait time for advance order pick-ups"
  • "improvements to the single ticket sales process"
  • An earlier release of the Festival Programme, "allowing six days for festivalgoers to drop off their selections"
  • "A clear criteria for premium-priced screenings" (translation: genuine premieres with genuine celebrities)
  • A new programme, CITY TO CITY, which will screen 10 films from and about a chosen city each year, alongside special panels and discussions. This year's city will be Tel Aviv.
The information about galas and the like don't really interest me, since I never attend those anyway, but the other details are definitely interesting developments. For the first time in a few years, I have absolutely nothing to complain about regarding the festival's decisions. A quick glance at some of the entries from the last two years will reveal a world of whining and moaning about the direction the festival was heading. This year, nothing. These are all good changes, especially the increased time for choosing films. In the past, nothing was more frustrating than trying to make a schedule for thirty to fifty films in one day. A festival this big and this complex requires a fair amount of time to properly assess, so it's nice to have a couple extra days to compile a schedule (yes, I'm aware this might be a bad thing, especially for us obsessive types. Let me have my momentary victory).

As for the Elgin stuff, I'm happy they made it more prole-friendly this year, though I'm not sure I'll even take advantage of the new screenings. It's dependent on what plays and how willing I am to give up a slot for something that's likely to play nationally in the coming months. As for the new programme, it certainly sounds intriguing, though a lot depends on what they screen.

So kudos, TIFF! I have nothing to complain about this year. You've killed about half my potential blog entries in one fell swoop. Thanks, guys.

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