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TCMFF 2018 - Expensive?

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I was interested in attending this year's event but I'm not sure I can justify the expense.

Festival Passes look to be $299, $649, $799, and $2149

Using the code for the TCMFF2018, rates at the Roosevelt Hotel are currently listed at $1,200 per night. (last week they were $500 per night).

Flights from Northern California will run about $300

Rental car for five days would be $400

So, without taking into account food, drink, and miscellaneous expenses, I'd be looking at $8850 for the Spotlight pass. ($7500 for the Essential pass).

Does anyone else find this to be a bit too much??
What does everyone else believe their all-in costs to be?

Yes, the flights and rental cars could be cheaper (or more expensive).
Yes, there could be some options that help - other hotels, driving instead of flying (cutting out flights & rental car expenses).
Perhaps even the hotel rates will be cheaper tomorrow when passes go on sale.
But overall, it just seems that this becomes quite the expensive event to attend.

Was curious what others thoughts are on the cost.


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Yes, the cost of the festival has gone up significantly since the first years. Here are some thoughts about cheaper alternatives:

There are quite a few hotels within easy walking distance (no more than four city blocks) of the festival venues. You should be able to find a hotel for $200/night or less. I never stay at the Roosevelt, which usually sells out quickly, even at its inflated prices.

Investigate the cost of getting airport transportation to and from your hotel. Driving a car in LA is extremely unpleasant, and you will probably have a daily fee for parking your car at your hotel. Unless you have specific reasons to go places other than the festival, don't bother with a rental car.

For many people, the Classic Pass at $649 is perfectly adequate. If you get to your movie at least 45 minutes in advance, you should probably get in.

There are fast food places and inexpensive restaurants near the festival sites. Some of the hotels include breakfast in their price. For most people, food is less expensive than on a regular vacation because you eat whenever there is time between your movies or other events.






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45 minutes in line?!?!? and then I still MIGHT not get a seat??

is this from first-hand knowledge (you've had this pass before and waited in line for almost an hour beforehand?)

and of course, there are always possible cheaper alternatives. I mentioned that in my original post.
my main point was that overall this seems to be a rather expensive event to attend - cheaper alternatives included. similar to the backlot program - not sure I see the value at $90 a year. I think they'd be better off making both the festival and the fan club more affordable, but that's probably what comes from being owned by "blood from a turnip" Time Warner.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I went to the 2017 Film Festival.  We stayed in a tiny house we found on Homeaway.com for $120 a night, bought a subway pass for $25 for the week, took the Hollywood Flyer bus from LA airport for $16 round trip.

Yes, it is expensive, but if you can live without some luxuries, it can be done cheaper.

This year, I am going by myself, because my wife doesn't want to go.  I am looking into an AirBnB within walking distance to save even further.


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Expenses always vary at the TCM Film Festival depending upon a myriad of factors, and I find that the choices I make always reflect what's available in my pocketbook. Los Angeles is an expensive town to visit, but during the festival there are important factors to take into consideration. Complaints about costs at the TCM Film Festival have always been a topic due to the expense of arriving, lodging, and dining at such a popular venue. Yet fans come, and festival attendance has blossomed every year.

For me, it is always connecting with like-minded fans of classic film and visiting with friends I've made at every festival since 2010. There's actually no way to attach a price tag to the treasured memories I've collected while celebrating with my friends at events, at films, at private dinners, at visits to local historical sites, and in Club TCM.

I believe an estimate of $8850 or $7500 is an inflated projection. I travel from Texas, have purchased an Essential pass a few years and never spent more than $2,000. Putting a price tag on a precious memory is always a personal choice, so if enormous expenses are your highest priority, daily vociferous complaining about costs will certainly impede an expectation of festival enjoyment. Personal priorities should always orchestrate a decision to attend.

Wrighbar, who has only made one post here on the Message Boards, is correct. There are ways to economize if you are more serious about attendance than cost. ArchieLeachJr, I'm sorry to hear that the cost estimates you have devised seem to preclude your attendance in 2018. Since you have made only 8 posts here on the Message Boards, maybe reviewing all the posts on the forums threads or making an internet search for TCM Film Festival topics by reporters, journalists, and bloggers will help you overcome such financial reluctance, however well-conceived.

Kingrat, a TCM Film Festival veteran, has made some valid comments about costs at the festival, too. I enjoy seeing and visiting with him every year, and listening to him discuss classic film with his encyclopedic knowledge of topics that every classic film aficionado would enjoy.


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  • 2 months later...


You make valid points about the precious memories of the film festival. And it's wonderful you have made friends and are a festival veteran. Great picture with Ben, btw. But the main purpose of this thread was asking for info, not to complain. To point out how few posts members have seems a bit short sided. Speaking personally, I have watched TCM since it came on air, but don't participate in threads often because I don't  have an electronic device that makes it easy. But I'm interested and read the boards a lot. So I try to keep current with TCM events. Have a great time at the festival. 

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TCMFF is definitely more expensive than other festivals I attend, such as the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Palm Springs, CA or the Lone Pine (CA) Film Festival.  It's in a more expensive area and is a huge undertaking with more films and more attendees than the other festivals.

That said, it does not need to cost many thousands of dollars unless that's your preference.  I have attended for several years and had the classic level pass.  With rare exception (the infamous DOUBLE HARNESS pre-Code...but I think I ended up better off at HE RAN ALL THE WAY) I have always gotten in to the movies I wanted to see -- and I typically see 15-16 movies per festival.

You will spend very little time in your room if you are seeing as many movies as you can or spending time getting to know fellow film fans.  I always stay in one of the boutique hotels behind the Hollywood & Highland Center.  You will save many hundreds of dollars per night and have a clean comfortable but not fancy room.  Parking there is also much cheaper than at other hotels if you have a car (i.e., my hotel charges $11 a night instead of in the $30s).  I'm there to shower, sleep and that's it.  Honestly, I'd personally save money for a fancy hotel for a trip where you'll be spending lots of time in the hotel and poolside and have more time to enjoy it!  You can be just as centrally located at a different hotel -- mine is just steps away from Hollywood & Highland Center where the Chinese Multiplex Theatres are located.

Breakfast is included at my hotel.  I typically only have time for one other meal on festival days, usually somewhere affordable like Baja Fresh, CPK or 25 Degrees (in the Hollywood Roosevelt).  Before the festival actually starts I usually splurge on a couple nicer meals out with friends.

There are some really good blogs out there with tips on making it more affordable such as this post at Out of the Past: http://www.outofthepastblog.com/2015/02/budget-tcmff.html

This is a little late as far as answering the original post but with the festival coming up soon perhaps more people will be checking out this topic, I hope the info will be helpful!

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Thanks to you and everyone else for the detailed information. I think as the time gets closer people will definitely be looking for less pricey accomodations. You all give a good idea of what first timers can expect not just as far as accomodations,  but also once at the festival in terms of movie wait times, availabilities and how to spend the day.  We're in VA, but hope to make it to a festival one year. Thanks again!

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