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Navigate the ridiculously confusing process of getting into DIFF

girl tempting you with credit card

girl tempting  you with credit cardThe Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF) started six years ago under the name AFI Dallas (they have since booted the “AFI” and now it’s just our own film festival, yippee!). Over the past six years the festival has transformed from something new and mediocre to a festival that’s reasonably established with more than just a handful of screenings worth checking out. The festival lineup boasts a few favorites from both the Sundance Film Festival and South by Southwest (definitely check out Wolf, directed by UT Arlington professor Ya’Ke Smith).

As awesome as all these screenings will be, it’s not a film festival without an extremely convoluted ticketing process. Why do film festivals repeatedly do this? Is it because anyone not committed enough to spring for the full pass isn’t worthy of seeing a screening with ease? At any rate, with four (count them, FOUR) open tabs in my browser, here is the rundown.

The first option is to buy a festival pass. This lets you show up to whatever screening you want and gives you priority seating. Just make sure you show up to each screening at least 15 minutes before it’s scheduled to start, or you give up your priority status and could miss out. The next option, for those not interested in seeing all the movies, is to buy a ticket for each individual screening you are interested in seeing.  So far, it sounds easy enough.

Ticket holders are also subject to the 15 minute rule, meaning you must have your butt parked in a seat no later than 15 minutes before the screening or else you run the risk of losing your seat all together, thus wasting time and money. Tickets are generally around $10, although prices may vary. Tickets can be purchased online by selecting the title and hitting the little plus sign next the screening time you want. Then click “view my films” to check out.

Here’s where it gets extra confusing. The third and cheapest option is to buy vouchers (available only in packs of 10). A voucher can be traded for a ticket to any screening given that seats are available. Each screening will have a Rush Line, which is where voucher holders wait to see if there is room for them at the screening. 15 minutes before each screening, a head count is taken and the remaining number of empty seats is available to voucher holders standing in the Rush Line. While this is a cheaper option at $5/screening, you run the risk of not seeing the movie if it’s one of the more popular titles.

Vouchers may only be purchased at the Prekindle Main Box Office (at Mockingbird Station near Urban Taco). The voucher packets are supposedly available for purchase online, but good luck figuring out how or where online to buy them.  Seriously, it’s a little ridiculous. When a website posts a link saying “buy passes and vouchers here,” one should be able to follow that link to purchase both passes and vouchers, but this is not the case. Save yourself the frustration and just buy them at the main box office. The vouchers are $50 for a 10 pack. The DIFF website is so confusing I had to find the price on Groupon. (Which unfortunately is no longer selling the deal of 10 vouchers for $25, aww nuts).

Don’t be confused any longer. Keep up with the film festival via all seven social media venues. It’ll make life easier. Promise.

  • Stalk the Dallas Film Society on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Creep the guests and stars of the DIFF on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Check-in from the DIFF on Foursquare.
  • Absorb every detail and development on the DIFF blog.
  • Finally, watch a plethora of videos from the 2011 festival and get updated videos on the 2012 festival when available via Youtube.



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