Tuesday, August 21, 2007

TIFF TIP: Research

The full list of films is only a day away. From the point in which the titles go live, this gives you exactly 6 days to get a head start on researching your films prior to receiving the festival guidebook and there is no need to wait for that. There are typically over 350 films each year, and if you end up waiting until the book and schedules go out, then you have a lot of ground to cover in a very short period of time, especially if you plan on attending most of the festival. Now, if you don’t plan on submitting your selections for the advance draw, then you have a bit more time, but you also run the risk of your films selling out before you get tickets.

The most common method to researching is to scour the past press releases for that one or two sentence synopsis. That can help, but it’s not necessarily the most efficient method, nor does it tell you much about each film. Here are a few great tools for researching that are right under your nose:

  1. IMDB.com is an incredible resource and houses background info on most releases, even if the film is still in development. If it’s not listed here, there may not be much info elsewhere. Try this site first.

  2. Use a search engine to look for the official websites. Many films have websites, even if they don’t have a distributor. These sites can contain a wealth of information, providing summaries, trailers, photo galleries and more.

  3. Many trailers are added to YouTube for promotional and marketing purposes. This is especially true for the larger more commercial films such as those in the Galas or Special Presentation programs. A good trailer can give you a better idea of the film’s tone and content, something descriptions don’t always convey. But proceed with caution. One of the things I like best about seeing films at TIFF is the ability to go in knowing very little. The experience can be greatly rewarding.

  4. Check websites and magazines like Variety, Film Comment and Entertainment Weekly. Many of the films that screened previously at Cannes have already been covered to some length in these publications. I just picked up the August issue of Film Comment and there are 14 pages dedicated to the films at Cannes. Some sites have also dedicated specific sections to festivals, like Variety, (see right sidebar). I will be posting more links to similar sites as they go live and as the festival draws near.
What did I leave out? Share your film researching methods in the comments section. I will be sure to link to additional resources as they appear.


Madeleine said...

That should be IMDB.com. Also, don't forget the Media Centre of the official TIFF website. They archive all the press releases there, which usually include a one or two sentence description of each film that will be playing the fest.

Greg's got said...

Since you asked for us to "share your film researching methods", please allow me to suggest another website: TOfilmfest.com
it has all you mentioned -- IMDb links; search-engine links; YouTube search-links for trailers; web/mag links like Variety/etc. (no need to copy & paste titles into search boxes!) -- plus, the film-list is sortable by TITLE, LANGUAGE, COUNTRY, PROGRAM and STAR-RATING, and there are links to star-rated REVIEWS, and DIRECTOR(S)/CAST members are also linked to their filmographies... 8-) ...it's all strictly a labour of love (-- but zap me a line, if you like it, or have a suggestion!) -- after all, we only get 3 days to make our ticket-choices, and we all want to pick the best of the fest! ;-)

blutz said...

Hey greg's got, Thanks for the comment and nice job on your site! It looks like a great resource and anything that will help narrow down the film selections is a plus to me. 3 days is indeed not much time. If it's alright with you, I'll be including a link to it in my TIFF RESOURCES section. Thanks for reading!

Greg's got said...

yes, I'm always happy to share the site with others! -- TOfilmfest.com ... 8-)
also, please feel free to contact me -- greg@TOfilmfest.ca -- if there's something more you think it could do... 8-) -- I've made many changes to the code based on people's feedback; I'd like the site to be as useful as possible in helping people make their picks for the fest! 8-)