Denied a Press Pass at Toronto Film Fest - What Gives TIFF?
by Alex Billington
August 30, 2007
The Toronto International Film Fest kicks off on September 6th, just about 7 days from now, and I'm supposed to be covering it from start to finish. That is until the folks who run the press accreditation have insisted upon denying my press application no matter how much I try.
It took some work but I got my full festival press pass at Sundance last January - I saw total of 31 great films and I had the time of my life. Now I live for every day that brings us closer to January and Park City, Utah once again. When the possibility of Toronto popped up I was thinking about what a great opportunity it will be to head to another film fest in a new location, enjoy some great movies, and have another amazing experience. But that's just not the case, Toronto doesn't believe in that, they're all about the old, "mainstream" forms of media, not the internet.
Need I remind you (and everyone in Hollywood for that matter), that yes, 51% of teens first hear of new movies from the internet. Sure they're just teens and probably learning about the next cheesy action flick to grace the big screen, but that statistic is staggering and still strongly shows just how much power and emphasis the internet does actually have. TIFF may let in a trickle of movie websites who fall into a certain caliber that they perceive to be "worth it" - Rotten Tomatoes, ComingSoon.net maybe, and a few others. We're at that same level, too, though - the same amount of readers and hits, the same amount of passion for writing, and the same amount of emphasis on the internet.
I'll do my best to cover as much (or as little) as I can of TIFF - as I will still be traveling out there for the entire time. I'm still not sure what convinced them to deny me a pass even when I already have my travel and lodging arrangements in place and will still be there the full 10 days. I hope that I can provide more reviews, interviews, and coverage than just photos of the outsides of movie theaters and downtown Toronto. Wish me luck.
I'm not really sure why you thought you were entitled to a pass. Numerous publications, web-based and otherwise, are shot down every year. You make arrangements at your own risk, TIFF doesn't take them into consideration. And that said, since you are going, it's easier than ever to contact publicists to get into movies or get in rush lines and catch even the biggest tickets. Enjoy regardless.
Noah on Aug 30, 2007
It's unfortunate, but TIFF is a hot commodity, and the real issue is that there are already a lot of journalists, blogs, and mainstream folks looking to get into TIFF. I know at least two people who have been trying to get in for about 3 years and they work for respectable sites. I'd bet that the only reason I got in was because I originally applied in 2001, and I didn't get a full pass until 2002. Don't take it personal, but it's just a really popular festival. And I'd also venture it's the best in the world, but that's just me.
W. Andrew Powell on Aug 30, 2007
PS. My bet is "Noah" would be Noah Cowan - Co-Director of TIFF (just guessing - I've been wrong before). And saying you're entitled to a pass also doesn't win you any sympathy points. Plus, if this site is that big, go buy some rush tickets like he said. There are loads of bloggers from the general public who write some awesome film reviews (a few can be found over here - http://www.tiff07.ca/blogs/yourblogs/) and that's how they cover the films.
W. Andrew Powell on Aug 30, 2007
Damn, Alex, that's annoying. Keep up the momentum, give the FirstShowing.net brand some more time to grow and I bet you'll have better luck next time. Please excuse the cliche.
Great White Snark on Aug 30, 2007
That does suck but you also aren't improving your chances of getting in next time with comments like "at Sundance which is actually a bigger and better fest than Toronto". If I was an organizer I'd be marking you down as never getting a pass because of comments like that. If First Showing really is as "big" as you say then take it in stride and do your best with what you get and show them that they were wrong to not give you a pass. Bitching about it doesn't really serve any real purpose other than to just vent frustrations.
John A. on Aug 30, 2007
Wow, I'm really sorry to hear that man. Are you going to have to pay for tickets or what?
Ethan on Aug 30, 2007
Two words for ya Alex... SCREW THEM. They actually turned me down for press passes about 3 years ago... and I'm in Toronto. So the next year when The Movie Blog was bigger and they sent me an invitation for accreditation... I basically replied "Screw you", and TIFF has basically been dead to be ever since. Each year I just ignore the TIFF, and it hasn't effected me or The Movie Blog one little bit. The very best part of the TIFF isn't the movies anyway... it's the social scene, much like Comic-Con. I'm biased obviously, but Toronto really is the best city in the world... so come on down and just enjoy the atmosphere and environment of the festival, take in a handful of movies via tickets, and just have a great time.
John Campea on Aug 31, 2007
We didnt get accreditation either but then we did not try. Frankly we can do just as good of coverage without it. We got the reviews we wanted and carried on with life. Was good meeting you at the party to Alex, we need to do it again soon. Shoot me an email some time so I have your contact info.
Michael on Sep 12, 2007
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