Monday, August 20, 2012

Ticket Selection Windows for TIFF 2012

Today, August 20, 2012, TIFF sent out notifications of the ticket selection windows for anyone who purchased a My Choice ticket package. If you didn't receive a notification by e-mail, I suggest you check your junk mail folder or contact TIFF customer support if you really didn't get anything, but do it before August 23.

Starting August 21, the official film schedule will be released, which lists all the movies at this year's festival, and the dates and times at which the movies will be shown. You can view the schedule online, or pick up a paper copy at the Festival Box Office. If you purchased a Programme Book, you should also be able to pick it up starting on the 21st.

For TIFF Members, ticket selection will occur between August 23 and August 26. For non-TIFF Members, ticket selection will occur between August 26 and August 29. Your actual start time will have been e-mailed to you. Note that if you bought a Back Half or Daytime package, your ticket window will actually occur sometime between September 3 and 5.

If you bought multiple packages, you apparently will receive a separate login for each package. However, if you bought all your packages in the same transaction, you will get the same start time for all of them, but you may still have to login separately for each one.

You can make your selections online at the TIFF website anytime between your allotted start time and 7:00 PM on August 29. If you fail to make your selections by the 29th, then you must wait until 10:00 AM on September 3. You have from then until 7:00 PM on September 5. If you still fail to make your selections within that second period, after that you'll get vouchers that you can redeem for tickets, but you'll have to line up at the box office in person to do so.

If you don't have a computer to make your selections online, you can go to the Festival Box Office starting at your allotted time and the staff will assist you.

When you log into the site to make your selections, you must pick all your films in that session. You cannot make some of your selections, log out, and then log in again at a later date to finish. Once you log in, best information at this point indicates you may only have one hour to complete your selections, so plan your picks ahead of time. For example, if you bought a 60-pack, you would have to select one film on average every minute to complete on time.

Note that if you get a start time of say 8:00 AM on August 27, you don't have to log in at that very moment. You can login anytime from that start time until 7:00 PM on August 29. Whenever you do log in, you will have one hour to make your picks.

If you fail to make all your picks within your session, you will receive vouchers for the remaining films, which you can redeem at the Festival Box Office starting September 4.

Some tips:

  • Since you have a limited amount of time to select your screenings, plan your choices in advance. The full schedule will be available starting August 21, so you'll likely have a few days to plan out the films you want to see before your window opens.
  • Pick multiple backup choices in case your first choice is already sold out, especially if you are picking screenings likely to be more popular (e.g. ones with a famous cast or a lot of buzz). You may not have enough time available to pick an alternate on the fly.
  • The site may not prevent you from selecting conflicting screenings, so the onus is on you to make sure your screenings do not overlap. Don't forget to leave time to get from one film to another, and don't forget to account for the fact screenings may start late or run long with Q&A sessions (i.e. avoid scheduling movies within 30 minutes of one another unless they are in the same theatre, as you'll likely never make it).


Further to your 60 pack comment: in the hour selection window, you would have to select one film per minute ASSUMING you went by yourself to every movie. You have a limit of four tickets per movie which makes the allotted hour that much more reasonable. Looking forward to the new process!!!!

How about when your first and second choices for films are sold out?!? I think 1 hour for EACH book is more reasonable. I'm glad there is no drop off and pick up, but I'm nervous about this new process. We'll see in 7 days!

I guess one of the advantages of this new system is you're not limited to your first choice and a backup, as you should be able to see immediately which films are still available while you're making your selections. So as long as you've planned multiple backups, there's bound to be something available. But that's pretty time consuming to prep. And friend and I have spent anywhere from 5 to 8 hours actually planning out and scheduling 50 movies with backups, so no telling how long it will take if we want to plan for multiple backups just in case!

They screwed up the time zone. They list all times as EST (Eastern Standard Time), which is one hour earlier than local time in Toronto during the summer. If they give you a start time of 2:00 EST, do they really mean 2:00 EDT? Because if you take them at their word, you would interpret it as 3:00 EDT.

They also screwed up significantly on the emails for the Daytime Pack. These emails say (toward the end):

“You may make your selections online anytime (except between 1:00am and 4:00am daily) between your assigned start time and August 29 at 7:00pm EST.”

But as you mention in your post, the start time for the Daytime Pack is on Sept. 3, 4, or 5!

Then later, the email says:

“If you don't log in before August 29 at 7:00pm EST, we will reopen your timeslot on September 3 at 10:00am EST...”

Imagine how confusing this is for recipients when the start time is already stated to be on September 3 (whether before or after 10:00am) or 4 or 5.

Surely this is important enough that they could have read through the entire email to ensure consistency, before sending it out to hundreds (?) of Daytime-Pack purchasers.

I would be interested to know how the day and times were picked for non TIFF members. Random or when you did your purchase? I selected my ticket package as soon as it was available online 3 July. I ended up with 11:00 on Aug 29...not thrilled as the only day of that week I had other plans for the day; not in TO or near a wifi site. Thanks TIFF. May do a rethink for next year.

The day/times for everyone was non-random as far as I know. Someone else can log in for you though, so you're not entirely stuck.

The day/time for the start of your selection-window is in fact random (or supposed to be). This is a replacement for the lottery-box system that was in place for a number of years (10? 15?).

My understanding is that they allocated the start times randomly throughout August 26 to 29, except for donors of $300 or more, who received start times of August 25 or earlier.

It seems pretty unlucky to have received 11:00 on Aug 29 as your start time, especially when you had planned not to have Internet access on that day.

Thanks for your comment Matthew; Tess missed the thought that the other person who could also do the input will be with me. We will hope for the best....glad we did not do the Daytime and hope for something available on 3 Sept

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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