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TIFF 101: Eat Your Wheaties, Take Your Vitamins, and Get Your 40 winks…TIFF is Coming to Town!

Updated: Mar 17, 2020

TIFF ALERT: Only 48 hours left to purchase your TIFF Membership for the 2019 TIFF International Film Festival!

Dear Friends and Family,

I’m super excited; my favourite party of the year is coming to town!

The Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF as it is affectionately known is coming to Toronto from September 5th– 15th 2019 and is the bellwether for what will happen with movies for the next 6 months. Programming includes the prestigious Grolsh People’s Choice Awards which has been the predictor of Oscar winners for years.  TIFF is a favourite with celebrities from around the globe, so you can be sure to spot famous faces on the red carpet, at your local nightclub, hotel, or restaurant. Last last year I saw Bradley Cooper among others speak at a screening of his film a Star is Born.

When I say eat your Wheaties and take your vitamins I’m not kidding. The first year I went to TIFF I arrived with friends at 12:30pm on a Friday and we didn’t check into our hotel until 4:30am, the next day. That’s because attending TIFF is more than just seeing a movie; it’s about the journey. Be a true Film Fest Lover; embrace, savour, and devour every opportunity available to have fun!!!

SUPER IMPORTANT: TIFF Members get first pick of tickets before the general public. The deadline to purchase a TIFF membership is August 16th. Memberships are available for as low as $99.00. and include TIFF events and screenings for the whole year. A membership also gives you a huge advantage when selecting your tickets for the festival. More more information about tickets can be found at .

This will be my 5th year attending TIFF as a member of the public and 3rd year as an industry member. I loved it so much the first year I created a website called to help people like me find everything you need to know about to make your festival experience the best ever. Click here to visit for detailed information about How to Fest, Ticket Lottery strategies, and the best places to Stay, Play, Dine, and Shop, plus movies I have my eye on for TIFF 2019. Also, below is a snapshot of some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way and key dates to help make your experience super awesome!

Thanks for hanging in there with me and Happy Festing!


TIFF 101- How to Fest like a Pro

Key Dates

  • August 16th: Deadline to join for access to Members Individual ticket Pre Sale

  • August 20th: Official Film Schedule Released online at tiff

  • August 21st: Members Festival Preview ( Contributor's Circle, and Bronze)

  • Beginning August 31st: Individual ticket Pre-Sale to all TIFF Members

  • Beginning September 2nd: Individual ticket pre-sale for the public

  • Sept 5-15th 44th Toronto International Film Festival

Have a Plan

There is so much to do and see when you attend TIFF that sometimes its hard to balance an aggressive film schedule with all the fun activities you want to do.  However, just like any other trip, if you have a plan it will make it easier for you to enjoy everything you want to in the time you have. Researching TIFF before the film schedule is released will help you get . the most out of your experience and coordinate fun! Click here to link with my FestLoverFinder to find out more about where to Stay, Play, Dine, and Shop at TIFF 2019!

Know Your Festival Dates & Book Your Hotel Early

Hotels, especially for TIFF, book up very quickly. Also, the closer you get to the festival date, the higher the price. I recommend determining your festival date early (4-6 months in advance if you can), and reserving accommodations asap for the best rate.  Most hotels also offer corporate, CAA, military, festival, and senior discounts. Find out if your workplace has a corporate discount you can take advantage of, or if festival organizers have negotiated a special rate for members and ticket holders.

Take Advantage of Early Ticketing & Packages

I highly recommend determining your ticket options early ( months or weeks before TIFF or any other festival). so you can be ready to choose the option that works best for you on the day you attend. There are special incentives for TIFF Members such as first pick of tickets before the general public and memberships are available for as low as $99.00. More information about ticket packages can be found at Individual tickets for the public will go on sale September 2nd after members choose their selections.

View the Film Schedule and Have a Strategy BEFORE you Make Your Picks

Films will be offered at different times and on different dates throughout TIFF. Most Film Fest Lovers want to see more than one film, so sometimes there can be conflicts.  Knowing the schedule in advance can help you prioritize which films you want to see given your schedule.  This helps you ensure you will not double book yourself and you will see all the films you want to. The TIFF 2019 Film Schedule will be released to the public on on August 20th, 2019.

Factor in Travel Time Between Venues

TIFF will be showing films at many different venues throughout Toronto. These venues will not always be close together. Unless seating is pre-assigned you will have to allow enough time to line up which is usually 1 hour prior to the screening.  Not all films start on time and you will most likely want to stay for the Q and A with celebrities and directors after your film if applicable. I recommend you allow yourself at least 2-3 hours between screenings.

Win with Lottery Ticketing 

Tiff runs on a lottery ticketing system -they provide a specific date, and time sensitive window (e.g. 45 min), to choose your films. So, if you miss your date and time you don’t get to pick until after everyone else has. To complicate things even more, usually each purchaser is limited to a maximum of 4 tickets per purchaser per film. Consequently, if you are buying tickets for a large group you may not be able to get all the seats you need via one purchase. If your group is larger than four people, I recommend having more than one ticket purchaser for the group.

TIFF offers perks for members such as choosing films before the general public; so, members get to choose their tickets before anyone else. Also, RUSH tickets are sometimes an option; seats that did not sell are made available the morning of, or a few hours before the screening. To be successful with Lottery Ticketing and see the films you want, I recommend you:

a) Research and consider all your film options BEFORE your lottery date

b) Shortlist three films per day you want to attend during the festival.  This way, you will be ready to quickly choose your favourite picks; if one film is not available go to the next one and so on.

c) If you are attending with a group, ensure that more than one person is buying tickets for your group and follow the previous steps; this will ensure that you can attend more films together with your friends.

d) To secure your lottery time ensure your internet connection is working and pre-test your log-in to prevent technology snags.

Consider More than Just Movies

Remember festing is more than just the great films we will see; it is the journey and the experience. It could be that fabulous diner you ate breakfast at, the new friends you met in line, that awesome t-shirt you found in the thrift store around the corner from the theatre, the after-party, or the amazing concert you attended after your day of film watching. Be a true Film Fest Lover; embrace, savour, and devour every opportunity available!

Happy Festing!!!

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