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It’s a big year for TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival): celebrating 40 years of bringing world cinema to Toronto!

If you are passionate about movies as I am, there is no more exciting place to be than Toronto in September. Much like a good roller coaster ride, the anticipation is half the fun! This is the first year I purchased ticket packages in advance, which are essentially just reservations for film choices that you redeem online during an assigned window. However, it’s still not too late to get tickets to this year’s superb lineup! New tickets are released every day at 7 a.m., and choices that were previously listed as sold out can suddenly become available. It’s worked for me every year!

We try to split our selections equally between big productions that are bound to eventually come to regular theatres, and independent or foreign films that may never get picked up for wide distribution. It’s fun to attend gala screenings and see the world premiere of a movie with the stars in attendance, but it’s just as exciting to watch a small film you would never have seen were it not for TIFF.

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney at TIFF15 (© Michael Tran/Getty)

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney at TIFF15 (© Michael Tran/Getty)

The festival also offers unique experiences such as their “In Conversation With…” series  of interviews with stars and filmmakers, and special events such as a free screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” at Roy Thomson Hall with the score performed live by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. I would have enjoyed adding that to my list, but it conflicted with other choices. Ensuring there are many conflicts between highly desirable films is how festival planners make it possible for everyone to get at least a few of their first choices.

It’s been an incredible experience so far, and more than half the festival left to go! We’ve seen everything from a very moving German/Danish movie called “Land of Mine”, about the use of POWs to clear land mines after WWII, to an “In Conversation With” event with the incomparable Julianne Moore, to the inevitable hit political comedy/drama “Our Brand Is Crisis” with the always reliable Sandra Bullock. The latter is still my favourite so far, but we’ve got 12 films left to go. That is, until the pile of tickets becomes alarmingly small and we jump on the website at 7 a.m. to pick up a few more!

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