Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Update on Premium Screenings

I heard back from Customer Relations at the festival, and here's what they had to say, which seems to confirm both what Tess and Parabola had heard from different people:

"There has been a printing error in the Public Advance Order Book, which does give Festival, Daytime, and 10-Ticket Package holders the public access to Premium Elgin Screenings (evenings, opening and closing gala, and mid-afternoon screenings on the first weekend).

We are committed to honouring this error and will accept orders that include Premium Elgin screenings - so if you would like to select these films please feel free to do so.

That said, we would suggest that you add a second selection to your order (ed: i.e. a backup 2nd choice) - there is a limited amount of stock available and as such there are no guarantees that we can fully honour those requests."

So, net result is you can pick anything you want in the Advance Order Book, but just note if you happen to pick a Premium Screening, and you end up far back enough in the draw, you chances of getting that film are smaller. Thanks to Jesse at the festival for the clarification.


Thanks so much for clearing this up! I sincerely hope I get some, because I've already locked in a perfect schedule and some of those days greatly depend on being able to attend some Premium screenings.

Why would an SP film be considered Premium, anyway? I thought it was just the films labeled "Gala" that cost extra.

Oh, damn, does this mean all those Elgin shows WILL have a Donor line? I was so angry about that b.s. last year. I made sure to be first in line at The Wrestler to save four other seats for my friends, and we all ended up on the balcony because the floor was completely filled by the time all the Donors were seated.

Being processed ahead of everyone else is enough of a perk, believe me. Why should they get seated before those of us who were standing in line, like true festival goers, for hours on end? Some of those donors openly talked about how they had no idea what they were even seeing! Talk about insulting...

I'm glad that TIFF is honouring their error, although, of course, your chanes of actually getting tickets for those premium screenings is limited, leaving one's schedule in doubt.

Even if the "You Choose" ticket package holders' chances are low to score premium tickets, they're getting them at a lot cheaper price than those how paid for them with the "Programmers Choose" package. Unfortunately, since I live in the US and didn't want to spend $150 or so just to do the Advance Order procedure, I picked up two "Programmers Choose" packages. I wonder how TIFF is going to remedy this mess for us.

The Elgin screening is considered Premium because they have to employ the people working for the Elgin and not the regular volunteer inside the theater.

At least that's the explanation given.

They did regular screenings at the Elgin for years before they started charging double for Special Presentations.

I really find the use of the term 'donor' to be misleading. People are paying an extra fee for better access to screenings. It's not charity at that point. The fact that they think the 'donors' will buy nearly all the tickets to any screening at the Elgin shows me that this is not a small group. There are a lot of people willing to pay extra to gain full access to the festival. It is now clear to me that I will have to pay more than double what I usually pay for my 10-coupon book just to enjoy the same access to movies I had only a couple of years ago. Over the past couple of seasons I've seen TIFF go from an egalitarian 'peoples festival' to a two teared event who's cost may be out of reach to many of those who have supported it for so many years.

For what its worth, the entire amount of donor orders last year did not even fill the equivalent of one of the drop off boxes. I wouldnt expect it to be much different this year.

The reason there are so few Elgin tickets for coupon holders is because most of them are allocated to the Visa Screening Room pass holders.

Just received my confirmed picks. I selected six premium screenings at the Elgin with my festival pass, and got into five of the six (Creation, Broken Embraces, The Informant!, Bright Star, and Baaria). The premium screening for A Serious Man went to my second pick, so they're probably out of the allotment for that film (although single tickets for donors to the film seem to still be showing as available online).

Actually A Serious Man was sold out on coupons even to $250 level donors! (as we requested and did not receive them).

That theatre must be packed with VIPs, or else they are holding a ton back for the $40 price point.

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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