Tuesday, August 28, 2007

True story

As most of you probably already know, the full 10 day schedule for the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival is now online at the TIFF website. But, for those of you that are receiving the Out Of Town packages, I had an interesting experience this evening I thought you might find interesting. About 20 minutes after I get home from work, I get a phone call from FedEx in Ontario. A man named Mark proceeds to tell me he’s sitting on 400-500 packages from the Toronto International Film Festival that cannot move unless he gets some additional information about where they’re going. It turns out, someone at TIFF did not download or submit the necessary information into the FedEx Powership system. This data is needed in order for FedEx to get the “manifest” that’s required so the packages can get to their destinations. So, he gives me the names of the senders on the labels, and asks me to let them know the packages aren’t moving tonight unless he gets the necessary info. Once I scrape my jaw off the floor, I tell him that I really don’t know who these people are, and that I would try and track them down via the website. Unfortunately the box office was closed and I ended up scrambling through phone numbers from the TIFF Industry website until I finally landed on a live human being at 7:30 EST. The kind woman assisted me with the necessary email addresses and phone numbers. Thankfully, the TIFF staff was on the ball, and got my email after-hours, thus contact was made. I received a confirmation email from the staff member and Mark confirmed he was able to get the info he needed. SO, long story short, the packages are slated to arrive ON TIME tomorrow morning. No mention of how FedEx got my phone number though…

14 comments:

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Wow! Way to be proactive! That is an incredible story and I hope many people appreciate what you've done! I'm not an out of towner, but I know I appreciate it.

Big kudos to you.

Jeff said...

I appreciate your work, too.

I am an out-of-towner and my packet didn't arrive today.

Charity said...

Sadly, it didn't work completely - I'm an out-of-towner, and apparently there are a very large number of packages sitting in the Newark NJ airport, WITHOUT manifests, being held up by US customs. I'm absolutely livid.

IFFBoston said...

My package is also held up in customs. Does anyone know if TIFF is working on this, or are we just out of luck for the lottery?

blutz said...

Unfortunately it looks like it didn't work for me either. I'm beyond irritated myself. I contacted the festival and they gave me an email address to use so I could communicate the issue, but I have yet to receive any type of reply. I've also contacted FedEx and all they can tell me is that there is never a guarantee on international packages and they can take up to 21 days! I only live 4 hours from Toronto! This really takes all the fun out of the festival, especially if it results in not being able to get into the Advance Draw. I would then assume if you miss the Advance Draw, you won't get many of your selections. You're then given back the spare coupons, which in return, are relatively worthless if the films you want to see are unavailable. I would really appreciate it if they delayed the Advance Draw at least a day in order for all of us to get our selections in. I just hope the package arrives tomorrow so it can be sent in the same day. But apparently no one can guarantee that either.

Larry said...

IFFBoston-

How did you find out yours is held up in customs? Did you get a tracking number somehow?

Charity said...

Call the festival box office (be prepared for a half hour on hold) and they will give you your FedEx tracking number. I've spent most of the day on the phone w/FedEx and the festival. I'm getting VERY tired of being reminded that while I wait, I can securely place my ticket order online. FedEx has been as helpful as they can; the festival not so much. I got the same name to send e-mail to, and have had the same lack of response. I too am hoping that they will postpone the lottery a day to accommodate this problem, but I don't have much hope.

I've been going to the festival (from Boston) since 1989, but this is probably my last year. Between the elimination of the 30-ticket coupon book and skyrocketing airfares, plus this SNAFU, the festival has gone from a fun affordable event to an expensive festival that seems not to care about us "ordinary folks" anymore, at least if we come from out of town.

IFFBoston said...

I called FexEx and they told me. I gave them my address and they found it. They don't give out tracking numbers over the phone.

I can't get through to the TIFF box office, and they haven't returned my email, so I just have to keep my fingers crossed.

Larry said...

blutz, Charity-

I understand the frustration. This is my third year to attend the festival and now the third year the Out-Of-Town service has gone wrong. I scrabmled and pulled my hair our the first two times, but I sort of expect it now. I can say that the TIFF people have previously been extremely empathetic and always helped me out.

The first year my package didn't arrive back at TIFF until Saturday and I still ended up with all of my 30 selections. Last year when it got messed up I ended up with all but two of my choices.

I'm anxious, but optimistic.

Simone said...

My package got held up in Newark today as well. I just got off the phone with FedEx, and apparently the package has just been cleared through customs and should arrive tomorrow, though I'm not sure of the time. Hopefully the same goes for everybody else's.

IFFBoston said...

I just got an email from Michael Longfield (mlongfield@tiffg.ca), who assures me that it will show up before noon tomorrow.

Brian said...

I'm in Texas and am having customs problems, I called the box office for a tracking number, the FedEx tracking page says that the plane left before customs cleared the package! Oops. It is sitting in Memphis, TN and I assume it will be delivered tomorrow.

This is my first TIFF and I never had a good feeling about this advance ticketing process. The time given is not sufficient. It takes two separate int'l shipments plus time to read up on the films and then fill out all the forms...

Wishing for advance ordering on the web...

Madeleine said...

I guess I was one of the lucky ones. I'm in Texas, and got my out of town package this morning.

Last year, my package was stuck in the customs delay for one day. However, I received in on Thursday, sent it in later that day, and it still arrived in plenty of time for the draw on Friday.

js munoz said...

Mine got held up, too. Yesterday it had an estimated delivery of "Before 10:30 am" now the field is blank. It's my first TIFF.
Is getting it back into Canada going to be this difficult?