I have attended this film festival from the very beginning and I have always gotten the Spotlight Pass. But I gotta admit that I was also TRULY STUNNED about the increase in price of this pass. While all passes went up marginally, this one JUMPED UP DRAMATICALLY. Its even more amazing when one thinks that these passes were ALL DISCOUNTED the first two years of the festival. If it were not for the advantages this pass offers over the others, I would easily opt for the next pass. Unfortunately because many others don't feel this way (which is evident by the quick sell out and subsequent waiting list for this pass) TCM can probably charge whatever they want (and PROBABLY WILL with future increases) and the passes will still sell out. But in all fairness, one can't help but feel a bit exploited by it all.
Hey Janee, My answer is to you and anyone else regarding the TCM Film Festival. Although this years "Spotlight" passes are sold out (as always, they go the quickest even thought they are the most expensive) try to get one in the future. The advantage is that you get to avoid the lines of people at the movies and sail right by them and get a preferred seat at whatever venue you are going to. You also get a gift bag full of wonderful stuff that you can later sell (personally not me) or give away. The gift bag alone is worth several hundreds of dollars and is quite heavy. The Spotlight pass also gets one into the "Vanity Fair" magazine party. This is where one can see or meet the celebrities or Hollywood writers/dierctors/producers/others first hand without bodyguards. You can get some really nice pictures and hobknob around famous people. This might be your only chance to see them up close and relaxed. You also get a morning brunch with Robert Osbourne which is nice and he answers all of your questions and is actually a nice guy. The next step is the "Essentials" pass. This gives one almost everything the Spotlight does EXCEPT it doesn't provide one with first come choice of seating, you get a lessor gift bag and no Robert Osbourne breakfast. It also doesn't get one into the "Vanity Fair" party. But it does get one to get into the Red Carpet event. That ALONE will make one feel like a celebrity as you get to walk the same carpet as the celebrities who are also walking up with you/behind you/before you. There is a bleacher section and as you approach, a man on a "mike" says things to you to the crowd. its all nice and quite a thrill, I must admit. Much better than sitting at the hotel watching a movie, although TCM does give one a nice alternative event though. The first year's pool party was very nice. I can't speculate on one's wallet or finances, but I will say that if I couldn't spring for the Spotlight pass, then I would opt for the Essentials pass. Anything behind that would definitely depend on one's time and wallet. But the bottom line is that one GOES IN THE FIRST PLACE. It is an event that one will never forget and will always come back to. I have been at every festival and can't see myself not going. It is an event by and for TRUE movie lovers. And it should be an ESSENTIAL EVENT for true movie lovers. There is so much going on that its almost impossible to get bored and its easy to get overwhelmed with all that's happening.