In a little less than one week, some of the world’s acting and filmmaking heavyweights descend upon Toronto for the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Nearly 300 features will unspool over 11 days—Sept. 10 to 20—and it’s not too late to plan your trip. What makes TIFF especially fun for Western New Yorkers is that it’s ideal even for a day trip. Head up in the morning, breathe in cinema, and hit the QEW that night. Here are a few helpful tips.
What should I see?
You can pore over the entirety of the festival’s schedule, read synopses, and watch trailers at tiff.net. But remember that part of the fun comes from making a discovery. While you might be able to snag a ticket for the new Sandra Bullock movie (“Our Brand is Crisis”), it will eventually play Buffalo. The same can’t necessarily be said for acclaimed Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Our Little Sister.”
How much will I need to spend?
Individual film tickets at TIFF are certainly more expensive than a normal Saturday night at the Regal. Yet considering what one gets for the cost of a ticket—a chance to hear from the film’s director and see the stars, the inimitable festival vibe, the opportunity to see something that may never play this close to Buffalo again—it’s hard to call it outrageous.
Note, however, that there are both “regular” and “premium” selections. The latter are star-heavy, debut screenings of such films as “The Martian” and “The Danish Girl.” Those tickets are $48 Canadian ($40 for seniors, $30 for 25 and younger). Regular screening tickets are $25 ($21 for seniors, $18 for 25 and younger).
There also is the cost of gas and meals in Toronto. Yet plenty of fun can be had before and after a film just wandering down “Festival Street” on King Street’s collection of food trucks, live music, and more. See tiff.net/festivals/festival15/street for more info.
Where can I buy tickets?
By this point, all ticket packages are long closed. However, individual tickets go on sale Sept. 6 on tiff.net. You’ll redeem those tickets at the festival box office, 225 King Street West. Tickets also can be purchased by phone at (416) 599-TIFF or (888) 599-8433, and at the box office.
Venue box offices open an hour before the day’s first screening. Note that tickets are not for sale at the box office of four of the festival’s largest spaces, Roy Thomson Hall, the Princess of Wales Theatre, the Visa Screening Room and Winter Garden Theatre. (The latter two are in the same building.)
Anything else I should know?
Numerous screenings are held at the Scotiabank Theatre, a venue with an escalator as steep as any I’ve ever seen, but don’t let that scare you. Oh, and keep an eye out for me, the skinny dude in glasses reading and re-reading a dog-eared copy of the festival schedule.