I've said it before and I'll say it again, planning your TIFF experience all comes down to The Schedule and today is the day it goes live. I often have weighted lists of to see films and cross checked lists to try and get a balanced approach to touch on all the bases, themes, and must see films that I want to pack into each year. And then the schedule comes out and all the planning can fall into place - or you could have your top 3 must see films only play in conflict with one another.
That's when you put on your creativity cap and get to planning. I'm a pen & paper person myself (or more specifically graph paper, pencil and highlighters...), but I know people that have had great success using online tools as well. Know what works for you. That is the most important thing for scheduling as well as enjoying the festival: Know what works for you.
Want to see the stars? Your best chance to see them at an intro or Q&A is at the first screening, especially if the film is a World or International premiere. The list of guests has arrived (PDF Link) an it is full, full, full to the brim with people I'm sure we'd all love to see.
If you like Q&A's, give yourself time between screenings Often screenings will have Q&A's after the film, so give yourself a little extra time if you want to stay. Filmmakers and actors come from all over the world to show and share their films, so honour the opportunity to hear what they have to say. And, why not even ask a question if you're feeling brave!
Are you a completist? Join in the ranks of the Midnight Madness crowd and go to all the screenings in the programme, or pick another programme, country or even an actor and make your own completist experience by seeing as much as or all of those films at the festival that fit your own theme.
Like suprizes? Have someone else pick the films for you. Wow, that seems rather radical, I can't imagine doing it myself but you never know what treasure you may find.
Like meeting people? The lines at TIFF are a great way to connect with fellow films fans from Toronto and aboard. Be friendly and see what happens!
Know your pace If you know seeing 3 films is your max, work with that number as your base, if you can tack another one in that's a must see, try it but don't continually push your limits. or 11 days we'll be pushing a lot of limits, so choose wisely which ones to give into and which ones to let go. I know I'll happily sit through 6 screenings in a row, but it's not for everyone.
Know what works for you. Think of previous years, and which have been the screenings and experiences that you cherish the most. What was it that made it so special? Can you make that happen again? I sure hope so!
The Festival’s Official Film Schedule comes out today online but if you are more of a paper person it's available at The Festival Box Office at 225 King Street West (see hours & box office info here). Or if you have the patience to wait a few days check the Thursday August 25, 2011 issue of The Grid (formerly Eye) or the Thursday August 25, 2011 edition of Toronto Star for a 24 page section on TIFF including a full film schedule.
The Toronto International Film Festival 2011 runs from September 8 - 18, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.