TIFF responds to Taylor Swift fans bemoaning presale ‘that got me nothing’

Bruno Cooke September 5, 2022
TIFF responds to Taylor Swift fans bemoaning presale ‘that got me nothing’
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images


News broke on September 2, 2022 that Taylor Swift would keynote Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and introduce a screening of her short film All Too Well, but fans were quick to voice their frustration at being unable to access either presale, members’ or general public onsale tickets.

One fan took to Twitter to thank TIFF – sarcastically – for giving “Taylor Swift, the biggest celebrity on the planet, the smallest venue.”

TIFF’s Bell Lightbox houses five cinemas, each of which has a different seating capacity. 

The biggest of the venue’s five cinemas has the capacity to seat 522 people. 

Photo by Catherine Powell/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global

What happened to Taylor Swift’s TIFF presale?

In Conversation With… Taylor Swift will take place on Friday, September 9, 2022 at 7pm local time at TIFF Bell Lightbox. 

She’ll be introducing the first-ever screening of her short film All Too Well, The Short Film on 35mm film. TIFF chief executive Cameron Bailey will converse with her about filmmaking and the visual aspects of her music, according to TIFF’s media release of September 2.

Tickets went on sale to TIFF Members beginning September 3, “with remaining tickets on sale to the public on September 5.”

TIFF also stressed that industry pass holders and accredited press pass holders with public ticket allocations would be able to secure tickets in advance as well as on the day of the event.

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

But presale tickets to see Taylor Swift’s TIFF talk appear to have sold out almost immediately

Presale tickets to Taylor Swift’s In Conversation event at TIFF went on sale on September 3, 2022. At just past noon on that day, local time, TIFF tweeted that the event was “now off-sale.”

In other words, it seems, the presale had ended. TIFF’s Twitter account clarified, however, that the event would be “Rush eligible.”

This means that customers without tickets “may wait in the Rush line as a last-chance” to see the film. 

“Around 15 minutes prior to a screening’s start time,” the TIFF website’s FAQ page adds, “Front of House staff will count the empty seats in the cinema and sell a select amount of Rush tickets to those in the Rush line on a first-come, first-served basis.”

The Visitor I Official Trailer

The Visitor I Official Trailer

How much are Rush tickets to Taylor’s talk at TIFF?

“Rush tickets are CA $45 for Premium screenings,” continues TIFF’s FAQ section on Rush screenings, “and $25 for Regular screenings.”

The site clarifies elsewhere that Premium screenings “offer a premium in-person experience,” meaning the event with Taylor Swift is most likely Premium.

One Swift fan decided to “check out what the scalpers are up to,” and posted the result on Twitter – “since apparently Taylor’s talk at TIFF is already sold out even before presale.” 

They discovered at least one ticket up for sale for CA $4,099.

TIFF Customer Relations responds to Taylor Swift presale, off-sale queries

TIFF Customer Relations, operating with the Twitter handle #tiff_help, tweeted today (September 5, 2022) that “In Conversation With… Taylor Swift remains off-sale today.”

It added that customers “will not gain an advantage by lining up.”

Users commenting on the post responded with chagrin. One Taylor Swift fan asked if they could get a refund for their TIFF membership that they bought “just for the presale that got me nothing.” 

Others bemoaned the fact that they were unable to secure tickets, saying variously that it is their “dream,” that they are “still manifesting,” and that their hearts are “breaking.”

The Focus has reached out to TIFF’s customer relations team for comment on the sell-out, and to clarify the points mentioned above.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.