Trials and Tribulations with NYFF ’13
Going to a film festival is an exciting thought. Seeing all the highly anticipated films before the general public and perhaps even getting a glimpse at the talent behind the films. For NYFF, this was their biggest year ever, taunting over 30 films in their main slate including World Premiers of Captain Phillips, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and Her.
Below are my trials and tribulations with NYFF and why you might want to avoid this film festival.
- Monday, August 26th
I’ve heard the main slate of NYFF ’13 already and I have dreams of attending the event. Not only the world premiers excite me, but there’s other heavy hitters including Only Lovers Left Alive, Blue is the Warmest Color, Nebraska, All is Lost, The Wind Rises, Inside Llewyn Davis. I figure in order to get tickets to these shows I should buy a membership, so I could be almost certain to get tickets. I start by paying 70$ for the membership and look forward to pre-order.
I’ve decided to book a hotel since New York isn’t exactly next store. Another almost 300$ later (yes New York is crazy expensive to stay at) and I’m ready for the event.
- Thursday, August 29th
8:00 pm. I finally have my chance to buy tickets. I figured this was the time most people would be purchasing tickets, so I should easily be able to get five of the films I wanted. First, I try The Wind Rises and that works out wonderfully. We’ll be going to that on October 4th see you in New York. Everything else…Not so much. In order to see how much difficulty I was having I emailed my list of films I couldn’t get entry into festival support.
Blue is the Warmest Color 10/11/13 8:30 pm
Nebraska 10/8/13 9:00 pm
Only Lovers Left Alive 10/10/13 6:00 pm
Inside Llewyn Davis 10/05/13 3:15 pm
Secret Life of Walter Mitty 10/5/13 9:00 pm
All is Lost 10/8/13 6:00 pm
Her 10/12/13 6:00pm or 9:00 pm
Response: Okay, yes, these are among our most popular films so tickets went very fast.
Okay, Question. Why on earth would I buy a membership to a theater if I can’t use the benefits outside of getting tickets for the film festival early? Come to find out people had bought tickets since Wednesday Morning. Whether it be because they paid more money for a membership or what, I’m just not sure. Sure there are other films available and I’m sure they are fantastic. I just wouldn’t travel all that way just to see one of them. In essence, I’ve just spent almost $500 dollars to travel to New York to see The Wind Rises. I love Miyazaki and this is going to be his last film ever so its awesome I’ll get to see it on the big screen, I just don’t think its worth that much. Needless to say I’m furious. I sign up for updates about ticket availability. The rush line isn’t really an option since if I wait and don’t get tickets that would be a nightmare.
- Friday, August 30th through Saturday, September 7th
Sign up for twitter updates to @TheNYFF twitter account to be sent to my mobile. This doesn’t give me much new news other than the fact that ’12 Years A Slave’ will have a showing during the festival. Sure it’s only ten days until its wide release, but I would still love to see it. So I decide I’ll try for tickets when they go on-sale on September 8th. Keep in mind the only benefit my 70$ membership will have going forward is discounted tickets.
- Sunday, September 8th
Guess what? I’m online right when tickets go on-sale at noon. By the time I’m finally able to enter the ticket system at 12:41, 12 Years A Slave tickets are long gone. They actually sold out in 14 minutes. Some people say the phone system works better. Others lined-up three hours early in New York (I would’ve had to leave my house at 7am in order to do that). No new tickets were added. Let’s talk: If I would’ve been able to get tickets to ’12 Years A Slave’ I might have forgiven everything. Just maybe.
News comes that they are adding some showings on October 13th. One of them is ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’. Really wanted to see this. Then reality sets in. They are showing it at 8:30pm. The film is just about three hours long from all reports that I’ve heard. That would put leaving New York at 11:30pm. There are no trains that leave towards CT by that time. That means that is not going to happen. I decide I’ll try to get tickets the next day just to investigate the process and see if I would’ve even gotten tickets.
- Monday, September 9th
I sign in when tickets are supposed to go on-sale 10:00am. I try to get tickets through the online system and get this awesome response:
I try a few more times, I let both NYFF twitter accounts that I’m having trouble and try the phone line. About 18 minutes into my phone conversation I get someone willing to take my order. He can’t really understand me all that well, but he tries to enter the system and buy the tickets. Says his computer isn’t working and he needs to put me back into queue. Remember ’12 Years A Slave’ tickets sold out in 16 minutes. A half hour into new tickets being released I doubt my chances of getting them. I try the system a few more times and continue to get this message:
I email NYFF and tell them of my problems. They explain the computers were wonky on the ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ tickets and to try again. At this point it is an hour and fifteen minutes since they went on-sale. If I was really trying to get those tickets I’d be destroyed. My hopes of getting any other shows for this festival are nil.
Next Year, I will be trying with every fiber of my being to go to TIFF ’14. A bunch of the films I wanted to see at NYFF aren’t playing there as well, but guess what? A few of them are and I would be more than happy. I’ve heard a lot more success stories from people who are @TIFF13 having none of this issue I’ve had and I won’t be bothering with NYFF anymore. In retrospect, I did some things wrong as well.
- I didn’t pay enough money on my membership I couldn’t really use so I could get early tickets.
- I didn’t apply for a press pass and since then I learned there will be a press screening of ’12 Years A Slave’.
- I don’t live in New York so I couldn’t wait at the box office or afford to go every night to different films playing.
Want to know the final killer? The Wind Rises tickets survived member pre-sale and I could’ve gotten them without buying a membership. Thanks, NYFF. This was a fantastic experience.