If you've never been, what are you waiting for? It's one of the top rated film festivals in the country and there is truly a film for everyone. There are 190 feature films and over 200 shorts from across the world to choose from.
Get your tickets ahead of time. These films will sell out, especially for ones during the most popular times.
Look for discount codes on social media. There are several around offering $2 off per ticket.
Take public transportation. There is parking at Tower City for $3 with validation, but it fills up fast. Save yourself the hassle and take the Rapid or a bus. At the very least, carpool with a bunch of friends.
Get there early. You may not know this, but ticket holders line up before each movie starts and everyone is let in at once. There is no casually strolling in and finding a seat 5 minutes before the show starts. Give yourself at least a half hour.
Dress for Success. Temperatures are unpredictable so layering ensures you'll be as comfortable as possible. Leave your high heels and big hats at home too.
Be polite. Don't even think about talking, texting or otherwise being noisy during the films. That includes eating apples, rustling around in bags of chips and crumpling up packages. The people in attendance take this seriously. Consider yourself warned.
Explore. Between films, take a stroll. There are tons of people in Tower City and downtown so you never know who you'll meet. Filmmakers, directors, celebrities or a friend you haven't seen in years may be right around the corner. You can check out the status of the Public Square renovations, try your luck at the casino or even go to the top of the Terminal Tower.
Eat. There are soooo many great places to eat within walking distance, there is no reason to limit yourself to the food court. Some of my favorite deals are Happy Hour at Mortons or Blue Point, pizza by the slice at Vincenzo's, Noodlecat and Taza. If you have more time, you can even ride the Rapid over to Ohio City. Don't forget snacks and water for waiting in line too.
A Must Do is to try Bloom Bakery. It's on Euclid Ave. across from Chipotle, right at Public Square. Everything, and I do mean everything, is fantastic. Plus it's a non-profit with the mission to help people learn skills and leave poverty behind.
Expand your horizons. See a foreign film with subtitles. Check out a cool documentary. See a Shorts program. Support your local filmmakers. Talk to people in line - maybe you'll even make new friends!
While you are there, be sure to check out the digital makeover this year too.
I hope that these tips help you enjoy #CIFF40 whether you are a veteran like me or a first timer. Follow along with me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
You may be wondering what films we are seeing this year - here are some of the highlights: