Previously I have always made my screening selections at TIFF almost exclusively with respect to time - and time constraints. This year, it's WIDE open and with so many possibilities it's made me think about what I want to see and why. This has also been on the minds as many others (what else are we suppose to do before we get the full schedule anyhow?), and my favourite description this year by far is Crunchy Squirrel's post here.
I think the most important thing to consider when making your selections, is to know yourself and to know what you want to get out of the festival this year. I'm sure that sounds like common sense, but sometimes we forget. We think "Oh, yes.. I *will* get up early and get to that 8am screening" when we know we are really a night owl and this is unlikely. Or "I am going to do whatever it takes to see the new super cool thing, even though I have no interest in the content" now, are we really going to like it? It is possible, but is it worth the risk?
So, I suggest think about what you want. Do you want to see the stars? Gala's are the way to go. Want to see films before they hit the regular theatres? Check out the Special Presentations. Looking to see up and coming talent so you have those great stories and memories later? Check out Canada First! and Discovery Programs. Want a taste of worlds near and far? Contemporary World Cinema is the way to go.
One method a colleague of mine shared last year was that she sees no American releases. I thought that was quite interesting way to do it. Another person I spoke to mentioned not watching multiple subtitled films in a row. Fascinating. We are all different people and have different rational behind what we want to see and what we are willing to do to see it.
There are many methods of choosing and many factors to consider when pulling together your picks. In my next post, I will let you know how I make my selections.