And here it is, just got word that we got all of our picks, so here’s the final rundown of films we’ll be seeing at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival:

Thursday September 4

O’Horten (Bent Hamer, Norway)
JCVD (Mabrouk El Mechri, France/Luxembourg/Belgium)

Friday September 5

A Film With Me In It (Ian FitzGibbon, Ireland)
Me and Orson Welles (Richard Linklater, UK)
Burn After Reading (GALA) (Joel and Ethan Coen, USA)

Saturday September 6

Un été sans point ni coup sûr/A No-Hit No-Run Summer (Francis Leclerc, Canada/French)
Religulous (Larry Charles, USA)

Sunday September 7

Ghost Town (David Koepp, USA)
The People Speak (Howard Zinn, USA)
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Kevin Smith, USA)
Not Quite Hollywood (Mark Hartley, Australia)

Monday September 8

L’Heure d’été (Olivier Assayas, France)
Good (Vicente Amorim, UK/Germany)

Tuesday September 9

The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, USA)
Gigantic (Matt Aselton, USA)
Paris, Not France (Adria Petty, USA)
Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, USA)

Wednesday September 10

Cooper’s Camera (Warren P. Sonoda, Canada)
Control Alt Delete (Cameron Labine, Canada)
Martyrs (Pascal Laugier, France/Canada)

Thursday September 11

Je Veux Voir (Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige, France/Lebanon)

7 days to go!  Since the schedule and programme information went live 2 days ago we’ve just been pouring over the information available, post-it noting the hell out of the program book, and putting together a list of all the films that are remotely interesting to us.  Once that was mostly together (it’s never really complete), I started putting all the available screenings of those films into Google Calendar, colour coding the entries with my top choices as well as Danielle’s.

That of course makes for a messy messy mess to choose from (left) – I probably have 100 screenings on the schedule across 8 days, and we’ll only be seeing about 20 or so.  Next I start narrowing things down – I pick another colour for our first choices and start pulling out screenings that we both agree on as our top favourites.

The general criteria I follow from there is no early mornings (hey, this is also a vacation), preference to first screenings (best attendance by cast/crew for stargazing), and I try to limit travel distance between screenings (ie, don’t schedule one film at Scotiabank/Paramount and then the very next one at Varsity 8).

And that’s how we end up with our final list of first picks.  It’s a bit of a rough process – lots of movies have to get dropped off, compromises made.  I feel like we’ve got a pretty good balance of films from different programmes, some foreign language films, some Canadian flicks, and we managed to keep most of the films at Ryerson and AMC which are both within a couple of blocks of our apartment.

So now we wait to find out if we get all our picks.  I think we have a pretty good chance.  Typically the ticketing process involves a lottery system where you have no idea what your chances are of getting your picks.  This year though, they’ve introduced a (somewhat controversial) policy where donors who make a contribution to the Bell Lightbox fund get their orders processed ahead of the general lottery.  We made a donation at the lowest level that would allow us to participate in this program – so I’m hoping that’ll be enough to get us all our picks – there are quite a few donor levels above us that will get processed first though, so who knows.  We just wanted to give ourselves the best chance we can get since we don’t get to make it down to TIFF too often.

So without further ado, the final list:

O’Horten
JCVD
A Film With Me In It
Me and Orson Welles
Burn After Reading (GALA)
Un ete sans point ni coup sur
Religulous
Ghost Town
The People Speak
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Not Quite Hollywood
L’Heure d’ete
Good
The Wrestler
Gigantic
Paris, Not France
Synecdoche, New York
Cooper’s Camera
Control Alt Delete
Martyrs
Je Veux Voir

I’ll do up a page with some writeups for these shortly.  For now, we wait…

With the Premium tickets already on sale, the full film list out, and the schedule about to be announced, I’m starting to build out my shortlist of films I’d like to catch at TIFF08 over here.  Currently the list is heavy on Special Presentations and light on World Cinema – will have to work on that a bit.  This list will definitely get a lot bigger before it gets trimmed back down to about 20 films over the next couple of days.

There’s a lot of films in the Midnight Madness series I’m really looking forward to, but that’s gonna mean a lot of late nights making morning screenings difficult.  There’s a number of Canadian Films that I’m interested in, and we’re hoping to catch our first Mavericks discussion panel with Howard Zinn, Matt Damon, Chris Moore and Josh Brolin discussing Zinn’s upcoming documentary The People Speak.

I’m going to keep updating that page with films and information as we whittle our selections down over the next couple of days.

So Gala and Visa Screening Room tickets went on sale this weekend.  We managed to get a pair for the opening of Burn After Reading, the new Coen brothers film starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand.  I love the Coen Brothers’ films and we figured this would be a good chance to do some star gawking and catch what looks to be a really great flick.

There are a couple other films screening in the Gala and Visa Screening Room programmes that I’d like to see, but the tickets are a bit pricey, so I’m hoping we’ll be able to catch the second runs.  Zack and Miri Make a Porno is Kevin Smith’s new flick and I’d really like to catch it, mainly because I’d love to see him speak.  But as far as I know, the films that show at the Visa Screening Room typically don’t have Q&A following.  So I’m hoping Zack and Miri’s second screening will be at Ryerson, because if anyone will come out to a second screening just to do the Q&A, it’ll be Kevin Smith.

I also really want to see The Wrestler, the new film by Darren Aronofsky starring Mickey Rourke, but at $40 a pop, Gala screenings are pretty pricey so again I’m hoping to be able to catch this one on its second screening.

I got an email last week saying I was selected to take part in the Online Ticketing Process which is great because it gives us an extra couple hours to get our schedule in order – normally as Out-of-Towners we’ll get our programme book and schedule this wednesday morning and then have to turn it over to FedEx by the next day at 5:00pm.  With the Online Ticketing option, we get until midnight on Thursday to submit our order.

Looks like a friend of mine has scored us some invites to the after party for Every Little Step, a documentary on the making of Broadway’s 1975 original and the 2006 revival of A Chorus Line.  I hadn’t really had any interest in this film, but hey – if we’re going to the party, guess we’d better fit it in.  Actually after reading a bit about it, the film actually sounds kinda interesting so why not.

Unfortunately this means we’ve run into our first conflict – the one non-filmfest related event I’d been hoping to catch while in town, Cheech and Chong are performing at Massey Hall that night.  I kinda suspected this wasn’t going to be do-able – it’s Saturday night of the first weekend of TIFF – but I was still hopeful.  Oh well – I have two tickets for sale for the 7:30 show of Cheech and Chong at Massey Hall on Saturday September 6 if anyone’s interested.

A whole bunch more films were announced yesterday – 20 films were added to the Special Presentations programme, including some that I’m really looking forward to:

Me and Orson Welles by Richard Linklater, one of my favourite film makers.  Starring Zac Efron, Claire Danes, Ben Chaplin and Christian McKay.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno by Kevin Smith – starring Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks – the Q&A following this one should be a BLAST!

Synecdoche, New York by Charlie Kaufman starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Catherine Keener, Dianne Wiest, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Emily Watson and Hope Davis.

The Wrestler by Darren Aronofsky starring Mickey Rourke (who is AWESOME!).