Thursday, August 07, 2008

Purchasing Tickets and Advanced Ticketing

If you want to attend this year's festival, but haven't gotten around to looking at buying anything yet, here are your current options:

  1. Buy a package so that you can participate in the advanced ticketing lottery that starts on August 26th. This is the best alternative for people that want to make their own decisions about what to see, and want to see a variety of films. Descriptions of the packages can be found here (
  2. Buy a package that has pre-selected films; in this case you don't participate in the lottery, as the festival selects films for you. This is a good choice if you don't want to choose films or aren't sure what to see.
  3. Buy premium tickets for films at Roy Thomson Hall or the Visa Screening Room at the Elgin theatre, starting August 20th if you are a festival donor, or August 23rd at 10:00 AM for all others. This is for anyone who wants to be guaranteed to see the big films with big-name stars, or films that have or will get a lot of buzz (critical or otherwise).
  4. Buy general tickets to all films starting September 3rd at 7:00 AM. This is good for anyone who just wants to see a film or two (although there's no guarantee there will be a lot of tickets available for what you want to see), or is going for the first time to the festival.

For those who choose option 1, all the packages that allow you to particpate in the lottery are still available. Some new wrinkles this year for those people:

  • You can't select films at the Visa Screening Room or Roy Thomson Hall (previously, it was only galas at Roy Thomson Hall that were restricted)
  • People who have donated money to the festival get preferential treatment at various stages of the process; it looks like you have to donate at least $250 for this to happen.
  • Pickups and dropoffs occur at the box office at Toronto Life Square, the building at the northeast corner of Yonge and Dundas, that houses the new AMC theatre and Future Shop.

For option 1, some important dates to keep in mind:

  • Tuesday, August 26: can pick up advanced order books, programme books, and official festival schedules from the Festival Box Office at Toronto Life Square, at 10 Dundas Street E, third floor. Note that this is a new location from previous years. DO NOT go to the old College Park location, as that is not being used this year. You should also bring the envelope voucher that you will receive in the mail after purchasing a package online.
  • All order books must be deposited at the Toronto Life Square location before 1:00 PM on Friday, August 29th to participate in the lottery. Any books dropped off after that time will be processed after all other orders.
  • Monday, September 1 starting at 10:00 AM you can pick up your filled orders. If you receive an e-mail from the festival saying you got all your choices, then I would recommend that you do NOT show up first thing in the morning, as there will be long wait. If you didn't receive all your picks, then you should line up in the morning, as you will receive ticket vouchers in place of your missed picks. You can then move to another line to immediately use those vouchers to pick other films that are still available; alternatively, you can wait to use those vouchers during the festival, but there's no advantage to doing that.

A description of last year's process for filling out order books can be found here: I'll post an updated entry once I see what this year's forms look like. Don't forget, you must go to the Toronto Life Square box office this year, NOT College Park.


Richard! -- thanks so much for putting this together! -- I recommended your write-up last year, to everyone with questions, and I will definitely be sending out a link to your 2008 version!

A question:
Do you know if one could buy a TIFF Student Card for multiple days during the festival? That is to say, buy one for the 4th, buy another for the 5th, another for the 6th...etc. The wording seems unclear.

Yes, you should be able to purchase multiple cards, one for each day you want to go. The online box office has cards listed by day, so you can pick the ones that you want ($19.29 each)

My experiences at the Toronto International Film Festival. Note this blog is not affiliated with the Toronto International Film Festival Group or the festival itself.
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