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!).

Ok, I’m ridiculously excited about this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.  We’ve got our tickets, we’ve booked our apartment, now all we have to do is wait (augh!) – the full film list won’t be available until August 19th and we won’t be scheduling until August 27th.  In the meantime, the Midnight Madness and Canada First! programmes have been announced and I’m starting to build my list.  Here are some Midnight flicks that I’m looking forward to:

JCVD – “The Muscles from Brussels is back!” – Starring Jean Claude Van Damme as himself, “JCVD tells the comeback story of a screen hero who has been on the receiving end of kicks that are getting harder and harder to take. “

The Burrowers – One of my favourite film experiences of TIFF 06 was JT Petty’s S&Man – and this year JT is back with what has been described as a creature feature wrapped inside a gritty western.

There’s a bunch of flicks I want to see from the Midnight Madness series – I’ll be sure to keep linking them up.  I’m really looking forward to spending some late nights at Ryerson this year.  As for the Canada First! programme, some flicks I’d like to check out:

Control Alt Delete is an unusually quirky romantic comedy set in 1999. When computer geek Lewis Henderson (Tyler Labine) is dumped by his longtime girlfriend, he becomes more and more obsessed with internet porn. After a while, the images lose their power over his libido and he begins a strange sexual relationship with the machine itself. As Lewis starts dating the new receptionist Jane (Sonja Bennett), he realizes he may not be the only one harbouring a dirty little secret.”

and

A wild and deranged comedy set in 1985 suburbia, Cooper’s Camera follows the disintegration of a truly dysfunctional family Christmas after the arrival of an estranged uncle. As everyone gets drunker and drunker, old conflicts and secrets are unearthed to hilarious effect. The story is told through the eyes of the youngest son Teddy, via the family’s newest Christmas present, a second-hand VHS camcorder. The film stars Jason Jones, Samantha Bee, Peter Keleghan and Mike Beaver and is written by Jason Jones and Mike Beaver.”

Most in Canada would agree our summers are short enough as it is… but with TIFF coming, I find myself wishing August would just hurry the hell up already!

I just put our order in for our Toronto International Film Festival ticket packages!  We got 5 10-ticket packages (maximum flexibility) and I made a $250 donation to TIFFG to make sure our orders are among the first processed.  It is exciting times indeed.