Your TIFF sur­vival guide.

A non-stressy, non-in­tim­i­dat­ing guide to mak­ing the most of the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val.

Elle (Canada) - - Insider - By Anne T. Don­ahue

as wel­come as the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val (TIFF) is ev­ery Septem­ber, it can still seem like an over­whelm­ing 10 days (es­pe­cially if you’re not par­tic­u­larly film savvy). But worry not: TIFF has be­come so much more—and so much more ac­ces­si­ble—than a few mar­quee red-car­pet events you have to know the di­rec­tor’s cousin to get a ticket to. Just re­mem­ber who sent you when you in­evitably be­come, like, ac­tual besties with all the stars.

1. Just be­cause you’re not go­ing to the gala pre­sen­ta­tion of a film doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to see an­other screen­ing

of it. If you can score gen­eral-ad­mis­sion tix to the fol­low­ing flicks, we highly rec­om­mend that you go. There’s usu­ally some cross­over be­tween what’s pre­miered ear­lier and what shows up in Toronto, so keep your fin­gers crossed that Lov­ing (a drama about the mar­riage be­tween a black woman and a white man in the 1950s that led to the re­al­life Lov­ing v. Vir­ginia civil-rights case), Per­sonal Shop­per (the no­to­ri­ous Kris­ten Ste­wart thriller that earned boos at Cannes for its am­bigu­ous end­ing) and The Birth of a Na­tion (the run­away Sun­dance hit about Nat Turner’s slave re­bel­lion) make ap­pear­ances. Plus, there’s hope for a pre­miere of La La Land (the mu­si­cal star­ring Emma Stone and our col­lec­tive boyfriend Ryan Gosling) and Jackie (about the days fol­low­ing JFK’s as­sas­si­na­tion, star­ring Natalie Port­man), both of which would give TIFF even more Oscar clout.

2. think of rush lines as a fun ex­cur­sion with a prize (a ticket!)

at the end. While tick­ets tend to get snatched up in a mat­ter of min­utes, it’s still pos­si­ble to snag a spot at a gala by man­ning the rush lines and lin­ing up pronto. This means it’s time to be keen: Bring cof­fee, a snack and your most com­fort­able shoes and hope for the best. Rush lines open the day of the screen­ing, so line up as soon as an­other one’s queue is fin­ished up. You’ll know 15 min­utes be­fore cur­tain time if you’re in or not.

3. Em­brace the pe­riph­eral pro­gram­ming. Whatever you do, make sure to at­tend any/ev­ery live read (pos­si­bly ever). Last year, Ja­son Reit­man di­rected a live read of The Princess Bride (star­ring Rachel McA­dams, Gael Gar­cía Ber­nal and Don­ald Glover), while in 2013 he helmed Boo­gie Nights, fea­tur­ing Jesse Eisen­berg and Josh Brolin. Then, head to the Drake Ho­tel for its an­nual TIFF House Party for drinks, danc­ing and—if last year was any in­di­ca­tion—live per­for­mances by any num­ber of indie dar­lings.

4. Be aware of “ca­sual” celeb- spot­ting op­por­tu­ni­ties. While most TIFF events are in­vite-only, there are still ways to spot the fa­mous with­out hang­ing out near the red car­pet. Head to Holt Ren­frew, where you can ca­su­ally glance at the steady num­ber of celebrity ar­rivals at the Va­ri­ety Stu­dio, and then book lunch at the Wind­sor Arms Ho­tel, which typ­i­cally plays host to a slew of TIFF events. Af­ter­wards, work the restau­rant cir­cuit and make din­ner plans at Mo­mo­fuku, Ter­roni or The Bar at the ShangriLa Ho­tel—go-to places for stars year-round. If you’re re­ally balling out this fest, spring for tick­ets to a gala open­ing and you might even sit next to a (gasp) real movie star.

5. Maybe just soak in the at­mos­phere. But per­haps you (and your wal­let) need a re­prieve. In that case, head down to Fes­ti­val Street (specif­i­cally King, in front of the TIFF Bell Light­box) and en­joy the food, ven­dors and live mu­sic. n

TIFF is on from Septem­ber 8 to 18.

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