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Toronto Tip Sheet

Planning, persistence and partying for the festgoer

Whether you’re a film buff, a critic, a buyer or hanger-on, here are a few tips from some Toronto Intl. Film Festival veterans for making the most of your experience.

  • Have a plan:“Many years ago before I lived in Toronto I’d take a week or 10 days (at the fest),” recalls producer Robert Lantos, who will world premiere “Picture Claire” at Toronto this year.

    The scale of things bears little resemblance to the modest affair when Lantos’ “In Praise of Older Women” opened in 1978.

    “Nowadays you need to have a battle plan,” he says. “You certainly cannot do it all.”

  • Pic and choose:“In Toronto, there’s so much to see and the program overlaps so wildly that you find yourself with ridiculous conflicts,” says Brian Johnson, film critic and author of the Toronto fest’s 25th anniversary book, “Brave Films, Wild Nights.”

    “Don’t be greedy; they’re only movies,” he says, adding that if a pic is not working for you after a half-hour, clear out.

  • Explore roads less traveled:“Stay away from Yorkville,” advises thesp and director Sarah Polley, whose third short film, “I Shout Love,” plays in the Perspective Canada program. “Everyone I know from out of town stays in Yorkville and they think it’s what Toronto is. To me, that’s a horrifying thought.”

  • Be persistent: “The most important thing to know is there’s always a way to get in to a screening,” says Kelly Green, co-president of L.A.-based Bjorck Films, who last year saw 27 movies in six days. “You try to pre-buy the tickets, they tell you they’re sold-out. Then you buy them the same day at the theater. If they’re sold-out, you form a line and wait, people with extra tickets come by and sell. So don’t give up.”

  • Be the early bird:“Get there early and get the good bags,” says Myriad Pictures co-prexy Kirk D’Amico, making reference to the loot-filled bags given to execs registered at the Industry Centre.

  • Throw a party:“When I’m hosting a party, I get a lot of business done,” says Fireworks Pictures chairman and CEO Jay Firestone.

  • Avoid being a party pig:“Don’t get sucked into the party vortex,” says director Peter Lynch, whose cyborg documentary “Cyberman” unspools at the fest. “(Otherwise), next thing you know you’ve seen two or three films and the fest has gone.”

    If you must party, he says, imbibe lots of Perrier and keep a stock of “good artichoke bitters or Swedish bitters for your stomach.”

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