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The Reeler Blog

Golden Tickets: This Year, Tribeca Will Cost You

Over the last 24 hours, while parsing the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival program for hints, clues and inspiration in the lead up to this year's coverage on The Reeler, I was tipped off to two things: The fabulous keyword conglomerations on films like Lost in Beijing (Asian, Sex, Female Directors), Lady Chatterley (Sex, Adaptation) and This is England (Music, Urban, Musical, Violence, Returning Filmmaker); and, today on indieWIRE, Eugene Hernandez's thoroughly amazing story about the ticket prices to view this year's selections. Most average around $18 -- a 50 percent jump over prices in 2006. The premieres of films like Blue State, You Kill Me and even undistributed docs like The Business of Being Born -- plus many of the panel discussions (even the ones with Bruce Dern and Rachel Dratch!) -- cap out at around $25. Family Fest Films go for $14, as do several matinees.

Eug's piece really must be read to be believed, particularly for its survey of other film festivals by metropolis, relative cost of living and industry significance; Tribeca spokeswoman Tammie Rosen is on the record noting that "Seeing a film at the festival is not just seeing a movie at the local theater" (she's half-right; I can walk to at least two venues from Reeler HQ, but I have to admit that viewing something like the Harlem jump-rope doc Doubletime with a hometown crowd makes it hard to pass up), but the economics are somewhat staggering no matter how you look at it:

(Rosen) emphasized that TFF tickets are on par with the cost of going to a festival in other international cities with a similar cost of living, like London. In that city, tickets to the London Film Festival range from as high as about $17 U.S. dollars to about $14 USD in other London festival venues (and local London movie tickets currently cost about $13 - $14 USD in Leicester Square). Elsewhere in Europe, tickets for the annual Berlin International Film Festival in Germany are priced at about 7 -8 Euros and 11 Euros for gala screenings. ...
The event's general ticket prices top the Sundance Film Festival, which charges $15 for tickets and the costs are essentially rivaling the New York Film Festival, the famously selective uptown Manhattan event that charged $16 and $20 for tickets to Lincoln Center screenings back in October (and $10 for Walter Reade Theater screenings, before discounts). The Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA's New Directors/New Films series, currently running at the Walter Reade Theater and the Museum of Modern Art, charges $12 for tickets to showings.

There's a whole other story to be reported about the relationship between sponsors and ticket prices -- both London (a 50-year-old fest, incidentally) and Tribeca have stacks of backers in addition to leading the world in the cost of admission. Meanwhile, as we posit that thought over the weekend, take consolation in the free screening of Dirty Dancing, further proof that, indeed, seeing a movie at the festival is not like simply bumping it to the top of your Netflix queue.

Posted at March 30, 2007 7:32 PM

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