I was all ready to set out this post with some complicated reasoning, numerical and colour coded system when I realized something very simple: I haven't made my selections yet so it's a little tough to share how I'll make them.
I've prepared as much as I can til this point. I have my graph paper chart that starts at 8am and goes til 1am, with the dates along the top and each square down represents 15 minutes. I've blocked off the one film I know I am planning on attending (a Midnight Madness) and I've marked off the following morning. I've notated how many films I will attempt to see each day, as well as any other possible scheduling issues in pencil, as well all know it's hard to do anything else when you are trying to pack in 40-50 films in 9 days. I don't include the first day as there isn't a ton showing.
I've made a list of: must see's, looks interesting and research more. I only came up with 28 or so and I'm planning on seeing 40+. Then again, a few things missing before I can make any more progress. Those are....
The official film schedule and the program guide. There are a few sites that have done an amazing job at covering the films including: TIFF Reviews and TOFilmFest. I did pan through both of them but nothing really beats sitting with a cup of tea, a good amount of table space, pen, pencil, paper and highlighters and then cracking open the program guide and looking at each and every page. I think of it as being akin to getting a calendar for a school, many of which are online but it feels different when you hold it in your hands and you can smell the paper and ink. It's a beautiful thing. I'll admit, the photo's also really influence me. This has not always served me well in the past, but remains to be a strong factor in choosing.
In general, I think I will start with the 'must see's' and plot around them. I've realized that one of the driving forces behind my decisions is I want to see films that aren't likely to make regular circulation. After years of writing the weekly newsletter Film Fan Fridays, I've really started to develop the sense of what will make it to regular theatres. I also live in Toronto where we do get quite a large and varied selection of films. Check out the list of 2007 releases so far to get a hint of the variety. I also know that I'm willing to give a film I know nothing about a chance. Some of my favorite festival moments are when you are in a room full of die hard fans but I've known nothing about the film, and then to see those fans when the director comes out? The energy in the room is amazing, there really is nothing like it.
A note on those working on their timing between films - make sure you give yourself a good amount of time between films, especially if you want to stay for the Q&A if there is one. Nothing is worse than feeling rushed when you are already in a hectic situation, and it's really a treasure to get the opportunity to hear what the people involved in the film have to say.
Well, now it's less than 12 hours until the schedule and books are available which means it's time for some shut eye. Sleep well my friends; there is a wild ride ahead.