“Don’t drink a lot of water”: Ticket-seekers on how to survive a rush line during TIFF

“Don’t drink a lot of water”: Ticket-seekers on how to survive a rush line during TIFF

Rush lines aren’t for the meek or weak: it takes stamina and preparation to make the jump from patient fan to official ticket-holder. Preparation is critical. We visited the Elgin Theatre’s rush line for last night’s 9:15 p.m. screening of In Dubious Battle—a John Steinbeck adaptation directed by James Franco and starring him and Selena Gomez—to get some lessons from the first few hopefuls.


Mackenzie Jones and Jessica Dennis

Students in media and humanities, respectively

Lined up at: 5:30 p.m.
Reason to rush:
Jones: “James Franco! But we don’t even know if he’s coming—he did post something on Instagram though.
Jones: “I have a charger in my bag, although I didn’t charge my phone earlier so that’s a problem. I brought makeup and heels, which I’ll change into when I know I’m getting in.”
Dennis: “I brought a portable charger. And I missed a lecture to be here so I brought my textbook to do some reading.”
Pro tip:
Dennis: “Charge your phone or bring a portable charger—make that investment. Have food prepared, drink lots of water and wear comfortable shoes.”


Simone Holmes


Lined up at: “7 p.m. I figured two-and-a-half hours early was enough, even with a voucher.”
Reason to rush: “I think Franco is definitely branching out, and Steinbeck is a very prolific writer. It should be worth it to see how our generation can capture such literature.”
Preparation: “I had a late lunch and a nibble in between, and I have some lemon water. I should be good.”
Pro tip: “Hope for the best! You want to be sure—like anybody else who’s actually expecting to see the film—to line up at least two hours in advance. Also, be patient and kind.”


Wilberth Canto

Event management student

Lined up at: 7 p.m.
Reason to rush: “I have nothing to do right now. I have seven vouchers to use for movies, so I thought, why not?”
Preparation: “I have snacks and an emergency battery.”
Pro tip: “If it’s a really popular movie, arrive more than two hours before. Yesterday, people rushed for three hours or longer for La La Land, and only about 10 of them got in. If you’re way down the line, don’t bother staying.”


Yen Oh (right), with friend Sasha Braganza

Marketing manager at a telecommunications provider

Lined up at: “Around 6:45 p.m. I planned to get here earlier but there weren’t many people in line, so I went to get a pedicure.”
Reason to rush: “Outside of the cast, it’s a really interesting story because it’s based on a Steinbeck book.”
Preparation: “I ate a panini and some yogurt; I have granola bars and a water bottle, too. Both of my phones are fully charged.”
Pro tip: “Make friends in line! If you can make friends, you can hop out to buy snacks or do errands.”


Shanekia Brown

Works in business development

Lined up at: 7 p.m.
Reason to rush: “I just moved back home from Halifax, so I thought I’d do this. I tend to gravitate towards documentaries.”
Preparation: “I’m running low on snacks, so we’ll see what happens, but I think I’ll be good.”
Pro tip: “Talk to people and make friends.”


Stacey Richardson

Tourist from Northern Ireland

Lined up at: “Shortly before 7 p.m., I think?”
Reason to rush: “It’s a really good book, and I think this is a bit of a departure for James Franco—it’ll be cool to see him in a director’s role. Plus, anything Robert Duvall does seems to have a stamp of approval.”
Preparation: “I have a book and some water. Normally I’d have a snack in my bag but I had dinner before I came here.”
Pro tip: “Give yourself two hours—I’ve always given myself two hours, and I’ve never not made it into a movie. Have water on you—and be patient.”


Shelly Fernandes

Stay-at-home mom

Lined up at: 6:30 p.m.
Reason to rush: “My daughter wanted to see it, but I’m keen on the movie, too. I’m holding a space for her. She’s at the red carpet hoping to catch a glimpse of Josh Hutcherson.”
Preparation: “I picked up some Jamaican food before getting in line.”
Pro tip: “Make sure you’re one of the first 20 people in line.”


Jacqueline Neddeau

Law clerk

Lined up at: 7:45 p.m.
Reason to rush: “I’m here with my daughter—she’s a big fan.”
Preparation: “There aren’t any bathrooms, so I made sure to use one before lining up.”
Pro tip: “Sometimes you think oh it’s going to be a bother, but it’s totally worth it.”


Ben Sager

High school student

Lined up at: “At 6:30 p.m., and I still have no idea if I’m getting in.”
Reason to rush: “I came with a friend who loves James Franco, so hopefully he shows up. My friend is at Tim Hortons right now.”
Preparation: “I brought an umbrella. That’s about it, really.”
Pro tip: “People in rush lines are always interesting. Sometimes they haven’t prepared enough—like me.”


Margaret Krawecka


Lined up at: 7:55 p.m.
Reason to rush: “I’m a big fan of James Franco. I normally buy tickets in advance, but I didn’t wake up early enough today. I called TIFF, and the lady was nice enough to tell me, ‘It’s such a big theatre, there’s actually a good chance you’ll get tickets.’ Otherwise, I wouldn’t have bothered, but she said that she always got in every time she rushed at the Elgin.”
Preparation: “I brought a granola bar. I didn’t bring water, though I should have. I’ll probably grab a coffee or pizza slice before the movie starts.”
Pro tip: “If you don’t bring a friend, make some.”


Maria Quiroz

Events coordinator at U of T

Lined up at: 8:15 p.m.
Reason to rush: “I was at a TIFF after-party where we met the film’s producers. They told us about some really cool behind-the-scenes stuff, so I decided to check it out for myself!”
Preparation: “I’ve been rained on multiple times while waiting for the stars on the red carpet, so I have an umbrella—and an emergency top to change into just in case. I had dinner before coming here, so I’m all set.”
Pro tip: “Be adventurous and helpful.”


Fabiola Gomez

Market researcher

Lined up at: 8 p.m.
Reason to rush: “I’m a James Franco fan!”
Preparation: “I’ve got string cheese and plantain chips but it’s best to have a really good meal, too, either before you come or while in line.
Pro tip: “Don’t drink a lot of water, as you could need the washroom and that could be tricky. And make sure that it’s not a press and industry event; if it is, your chances of getting in are much lower.”