My Guide to Rushing at TIFF

Having been going to the Toronto International Film Festival for the past three years, rushing films to attend premieres and screenings have been a big part of my experience.

Yes, it’s a long wait.  And yes, it’s unglamourous.  But is worth it? HECK YES.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the idea of rushing, it basically means that tickets for a certain film has gone off-sale.

But just because tickets are no longer being sold, it doesn’t mean the movie is completely sold out.  Due to scalpers, sponsors and people who just don’t show up, tickets are most likely released to those rushing in line 10 minutes before the screening.

Of course this method of buying a movie ticket is a bit risky.   But according to TIFF, only about 30 per cent of screenings are sold out.

So if you’re still hesitant about this way of getting into a premiere (where your favourite director and actors will also be attending!!), then perhaps my guide to rushing at TIFF will help change your mind.

Go there early

Rushing a film at the festival requires patience and a lot of waiting. If you’re not very good at keeping yourself occupied, bring a friend or talk to other rushers.  This is useful because A) They can give you the inside scoop to better your festival experience and B) You’ll be able to save each others’ spots if one of you have to leave  for bathroom breaks/food/stargazing!

From my experiences, I’ve been able to make several friends while waiting in line.  Seeing that they’re probably rushing the same film as you, you guys will already have something in common!  And who knows?  Maybe you’ll even meet your future husband or wife in the rush line.

Come prepared and bring water and snacks

Because you’ll be waiting outside the whole time, coming prepared is an absolute must.  Be dressed for the weather and always, always bring water.  Water is very crucial as it’ll be easy to get dehydrated waiting outside for a long period of time. And if you’re someone who gets hungry every two hours, then bring some snacks!!  Not only will you save money, you also won’t have to leave your spot in line.

Bring entertainment

While I always rush in line with friends, there’s nothing wrong with rushing a film alone if you can’t find anyone to come along.  However, those long line-ups can get boring!  So if you’re in school, bring some homework and a textbook to occupy yourself.

But if homework isn’t really your thing or your smartphone has completely ran out of batteries from surfing the web, then it’ll probably be best to turn around and introduce yourself to the person next to you and start a beautiful relationship.

Be aware of the venue’s surroundings

While we can’t help where the movies we want to see are playing, the best venue to rush at in my opinion is the Ryerson Theatre.  Not only do you have a ledge to sit on, you can also get a pretty good glimpse of the red carpet.

Another place that has a ledge to sit on is Roy Thomson Hall, though you don’t get to see all the action at the red carpet. But if it were up to me, not being able to see the fan interaction isn’t a big deal.  Because once you’re in the theatre, you’ll get to see your favourite stars anyways.

Don’t complain about the seating

If you are lucky and end up getting into the venue, don’t be picky!  Rushing is already a bit risky so if you manage to get into the theatre, be flexible and take the best seat you can find.

If you’re traveling in a bigger group, be ready to split up.  While there will be seats inside the theatre, there may not be a set of empty ones to accommodate you all.

And if you can only manage to get balcony seats, don’t fret.  The view is still amazing and the stars are still very much visible from up there.


That being said, I don’t understand why people wouldn’t try rushing in line other than health issues or time constraints.  If you have a lot of time and there’s a film you REALLY, REALLY want to see, why not?!  At the end of all the waiting, it IS SO WORTH IT.

Not only will you get to see a film with your fave movie stars, you might get lucky and score some free tickets from other patrons or press people who’ve decided not to show up.

So as I continue to rush films at the festival, here is an extremely happy shot of me with the cast of The Place Beyond the Pines.  Great movie.  I highly recommend it.


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