Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Ticket Options and Festival Tips

One final informational posting before the start of the festvial tomorrow.

If you still want to buy tickets for a showing in advance (i.e. before the day of the showing), you can do so:

  • Online, at Click the Buy Tickets link at the top right of any page on the site.
  • By phone at (416) 968-FILM or toll-free at 1-877-968-FILM.
  • At the Manulife Centre box office at 55 Bloor Street West (Bloor and Bay Streets), on the 1st floor, north entrance.
  • At the Toronto Life Square box office at Yonge and Dundas, on the 3rd floor.
  • At the Roy Thomson Hall box office at 60 Simcoe Street.

Online or by phone, you must use Visa (the festival does not accept any other credit cards).

At the box offices, you can use Visa, cash, debit, or top-up vouchers (I don't know if you can use vouchers online, but I wouldn't count on it; please post in the comments if you can).

To buy tickets the day of the screening, you can use any of the above methods, or starting one hour before the first screening of anything that day at the theatre, you can buy directly from the theatre box office. These box offices are at:

  • Visa Screening Room at the Elgin Theatre
  • The Wintergarden Theatre
  • AMC Yonge & Dundas 24
  • Varsity
  • Scotiabank
  • Ryerson
  • Isabel Bader
  • Cumberland
  • Jackman Hall

Note these box offices will only sell same-day tickets. You will not be able to buy tickets for other movies on other days.

If you order over the internet or the phone, you can pick up your tickets from the Manulife Centre, the Toronto Life Square, or the Roy Thomson Hall box offices. You can also pick up your tickets at the box office of the theatre showing the first film in your order, provided you get there at least an hour before the screening starts.

If you can't buy advance or same-day tickets, try the Rush Line at each theatre. The box office will sell any tickets where ticket holders don't show up 15 minutes before the screening or if extra tickets become available, to people in the Rush Line on a first-come, first-served basis (note: there's no guarantee that there will actually be any tickets available for people in the Rush Line). On occasion, ticket holders that don't want to see the film or that have extra tickets, may go down the line offering their extras; I've been on both ends of this before. You can also try one of the forums at (

Some tips for the festival:

  • Make sure you are in the right line. Ask festival volunteers (the ones with the headsets or festival t-shirts) what line you should be in. Multiplexes like the Varsity will have multiple films lining up at the same time, so you want to make sure you are in the right one. Plus, each theatre has a rush line as well, which is for people who still want to buy tickets, not those who already have one.
  • Be at the theatre at least 15 minutes before the start of the screening, otherwise you are not guaranteed a seat, even if you have a ticket. If you arrive more than 10 minutes after the scheduled start of a movie, they will not let you in.
  • Not all theatres allow food and/or drink. The Cumberland, Varsity, AMC, and Scotiabank theatres allow food/drink since they are all part of the big theatre chains, but other theatres like Ryerson do not. So don't buy take-out or a big coffee right before you go into one of those.
  • Don't leave empty seats next to you. Squeeze in, because generally speaking, every film will be playing to a packed house.
  • Be aware of where you sit if you are watching a subtitled movie. Not all theaters have good sight lines to the bottom of the screen.
  • If you have limited time between screenings, don't forget all the factors that might affect you: many screenings will have a Q&A after the movie, and the time for any Q&A is not factored into the screening time in the schedule (you're not obliged to stick around for the Q&A, though); films will occassionally start late for a variety of reasons; some theatres are far apart from one another.
  • Speaking of Q&As, if you're going to speak up, make sure you actually have a question or keep it short. No one else wants to hear you gush over the director or cast for 5 minutes, no matter how good the film was. If you want to do that, try to catch them after the Q&A is over. In a similar vein, it generally does not go over well if you want to spend your question severely criticizing the director without anything constructive to say or ask.
  • Don't forget to turn off your cell phone, and for pete's sake, don't text or talk through the movie (especially if you're in the industry; the rest of us don't care how much of a Hollywood bigshot you are :-))
  • It should go without saying that you shouldn't be taping movies, but in case that's not obvious, I've been at a number of films where they've had people scanning the audience during the screening, with and without night-vision goggles. Also note that taping movies is now a criminal offense that could net you 2 years in prison.
  • Be nice to the volunteers; they don't get paid for this (other than getting a ticket from whatever is still available after having worked for several hours in a row). Just think about how much *more* expensive the festival would be without them. :-)


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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