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TIFF Fails to Serve the Fans

September 4, 2011

Although I really like the movies and going to the Festival, I have to admit that over the years TIFF has clearly never respected the average movie fan. Each year more and more of the top films are made less and less available. Galas have to be purchased separately or with an expensive pass. This has now extended to the Special Presentations program as well. In the past the films were made available to the “riff raff” with several showings during the day that allowed average fans with average incomes to enjoy the movies. No more, I noticed this year that you were lucky to find one showing and sometimes not during the day. The cost of single tickets is now over $20.00 and the passes, while once a bargain are now more and more expensive. This Saturday when single tickets went on sale to the public the lines were outrageously long, the processing hopelessly inefficient and the computer system crashed at least twice. Trying to buy on line was as much a joke as going in person. There is never an apology and never any obvious effort to plan for the demand or find more efficient ways to serve the public. It is clearly so much about the management, the film promotion and making money that it is getting embarrassing. I still marvel that they are able to find people prepared to “volunteer” to do the work. With the money the festival is clearly making, they could afford to pay people and then they might actually get competent people who could be trained and serve the public more effectively.

Standing in line on Saturday I was interested to see how many people were irritated with the whole process but somehow feel it is okay. This is because TIFF continues to live on its original amateur status and benefit from being in a city where movies thrive. With the new headquarters and the clear evidence of success all around, this good will may not last many more years. Please TIFF – I beg you – pay attention to the real fans and be the greatest festival in the world. We, who love the movies deserve better from you.

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