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My Top 10 CIFF Tips

March 23rd, 2009

My lovely room at the Renaissance

My lovely room at the Renaissance - who says you have to drive back to Akron after a 7-movie day? It's my staycation!

After a few years of attending movies at the CIFF, I’ve put together a handy list of tips. Take what you like and leave the rest - someone will pick them up later. At around 20 or so films each year, I’m an amateur compared to my friend Joe. He generally takes the entire festival as vacation time and lives at Tower City for 11 days. But, this list is still a valid chunk of advice.

10 Timely Tips for CIFF:

1. One is never enough. Why drive downtown and park the car for one movie? There are so many screenings - and they sell vouchers in multi-packs. Plan on seeing at least two a visit.

2. Crowdsource. The buzz term of the moment is the best way to pick what films to see. Before you buy your tickets, ask the people in line what they have already seen that’s good. If you’re in the theatre, ask people around you. Almost all movies screen more than once and on different days.

This is Joe talking to Lara about taking videos. He will see around 75 films this year.

This is Joe talking to Lara about taking videos. He will see around 75 films this year.

3. Meet new people. Those people sitting next to you? Guess what? They like movies as much as you do! Where better to connect with fellow cinephiles than at the CIFF? Get their Twitter name and you can meet at the Cedar Lee after the fest has wrapped.

4. Your guide is your best friend. Not only does the program guide offer a screening schedule, it also has helpful synopses and useful information. Want to stay over in a hotel? Check out the section for special room rates.

5. Drink lots of water. Dehydration is the festival’s devil. I know you don’t want to get up and pee in the middle of a movie, but you also don’t want my Sunday night headache that lasts through Monday (every year).

6. Work as a team. That doesn’t mean you need a date or a mate, it just means becoming chummy with someone so they can grab you a seat while you use the restroom (they keep that line moving, but it still takes time). Teaming up also helps with eating, getting tickets and standing in line.

7. Know your limits. Not everyone can sit through 7 movies in one day. Plan on seeing more than one film a visit, but if you need a break - take it! Don’t let your friends talk you into a third documentary if what you need to do is take a walk around the block. You’ll be happier and ultimately, so will your friends.

8. Pack for the journey. Everyone carries a little bag at the CIFF - even the guys. It’s good for your guide, water bottle, flashlight (for reading the guide before - not during - the movie), gum, a sandwich, and kleenex (don’t forget the tissues). There’s no shame in being prepared.

9. Popcorn is not a meal. I don’t care what my mother says, if you plan on eating popcorn all day, you will live to regret it. The food court is filled with better options. There’s even a salad bar.

10. Enjoy the experience. Every film you see can not be the best movie ever. It is an impossibility. But there’s going to be a moment each time that will capture your imagination. Look closely and you’ll take more away from your visit.

Do you have suggestions? Leave a comment or tweet them to @CIFF on Twitter.

averwiebe Uncategorized

  1. Keith Campbell
    March 24th, 2009 at 12:18 | #1

    Hi, Ann!

    Great blog — and great comments/tips for CIFF attendees!

    I really like tip No. 7: Know your limits! How true! I recall one year that I once bought advance-sale tickets to five consecutive screenings but on the day of the screenings I pooped out after screening No. 2 and had to go home!

    Now if we could just get the Tower City Cinemas staff to turn up the house lights inside the theaters!

    I have a little penlight, too, and it’s great for reading while you’re waiting for the next film to unspool — but I just wish that they theater staff could turn up the house lights prior to and after screenings!

    It’s too darn dark in there! I’m sure there’s got to be some happy medium with the house lights that would allow them to be brighter and yet still allow folks sitting in the house to read the pre-screening credits/acknowledgements! Good grief!

    Other than that, I can find no other thing about which to complain! Thank goodness for the fine folks and supporters who make this amazing film festival such a cultural treasure each year! Hooray!

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