I just checked the Tribeca Film Festival program to find that the once fun & public friendly film-fest has changed its ticket pricing policy. Last year, tickets were $12.00 with a $1.00 internet surcharge. This year, most screenings are $18.00 - with $2.00 internet surcharges. Indiewire has a piece about it, and notes that festival promoters in other cities, where ticket prices remain similar to those in local theaters are "surprised."
My reaction is more like disgust - and I see that I'm not alone in that. It already annoys me that the TFF uses the building that I work in and does not give a discount to either students or teachers there, but does give discounts to people who live in Tribeca, among the most expensive zip codes in the United States. Given the facts that many of the good movies shown at the festival will eventually make it to major distribution on DVD or in theaters, that there are many other things to do in NY, that there are a number of good film venues that regularly show better films (Film Forum/MOMA/Anthology/Walter Reade) and that critics have often responded with skepticism to the programming choices at TFF, I can't think of this as a smart business move. I will suck it up and pay to see the restored print of "Attica", & possibly the new Forgacs movie if they have a "cheap" daytime screening. Otherwise, I'll just be waiting for their releases, just like I waited for "Who Killed the Electri Car?"; "Jesus Camp" and that Jonestown doc. to come out on DVD. So for my big festival fun, perhaps I'll be hitting the NY Underground Film Festbefore it's over and then waiting for the Sundance at BAM.
Too bad, too bad! It's really too bad that the prohibitive ticket prices will keep local kids from getting a chance to see Melvin Van Peebles in person at the first screening of "Blackout."