TIFF rush lines: a guide to success

The rush line for The F Word. (Samantha Lui / Ryersonian Staff)

The rush line for The F Word. (Samantha Lui / Ryersonian Staff)

Frustrated with TIFF’s virtual waiting room? Determined to see Benedict Cumberbatch in the flesh? If you couldn’t score tickets to your must-see flick or just decided to join the festivities late in the game, have no fear, the Ryersonian’s rush line guide is here.

As someone who’s waited in a rush line for eight hours to see Ryan Gosling’s latest film (and the beautiful Gos himself), to four hours for this year’s hit August: Osage County, “rushing” is sort of my specialty.

Yes, it’s a long wait.  And no, it’s not glamorous. But trust me, it’s worth it.

Rushing, for the uninitiated, is standing in line outside the theatre in hopes of scoring seats to “off-sale” screenings, those where tickets are not or have not yet been released to the general public.

When tickets go unused at the last minute, they are released to those rushing in line, usually about 10 minutes before the screening.

Of course, this method of buying a movie ticket is a bit of a gamble.  But according to TIFF, only about 30 per cent of screenings completely sell out, making the odds perhaps better than you think.

If you’re still hesitant about rushing into a premiere, here are a few tips to rush line success:

Get there early

Patience is a virtue, and rushing a film at the festival requires a lot of waiting. While I wouldn’t necessarily advise rushing one film for eight hours, it’s best to arrive at least an hour or two before.

If you’re not very good at keeping yourself occupied, talk to other rushers. Your new friends will likely have you great tips to make your festival experience better. In addition, you’ll be able to save each other’s spots in line if food or bathroom breaks are required, and they almost always are.

Be aware of the venue’s surroundings

You can’t dictate where each film plays, but you can certainly seek out the good venues to rush at. The best ones? Places with ledges to sit on.

Ryerson Theatre is my personal favourite as there are places to sit somewhat comfortably while also getting a pretty good glimpse of the red carpet.

Don’t complain about the seating

If you are lucky and end up getting into the venue, don’t be picky.  Rushing is already on the riskier side, so if you do manage to get into the theatre, be flexible and take the best seat you can find. And if you’re traveling in a bigger group, be ready to split up.  If you can only manage to get balcony seats, don’t fret.  The view is still amazing and the stars are still visible from up there.

So what are you waiting for?  If you’ve always wanted to go to TIFF but have no idea how to buy tickets without getting ripped off, then rushing is your best bet.  There’s still a week left until the festival ends, so make the most of it before the semester gets busy.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on September 11, 2013.


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