For film buffs dying to see a new documentary but short on change, the Canadian magazine Broken Pencil offers a fun little three-point plan for stealthily infiltrating film festivals in its Summer How-To Issue.
Fiona Clarke suggests that smaller film fests are more opportune for creating mock passes, but “don’t put yourself too high on the totem pole, someone might actually ask you a question.” She says the trick is to create an identity that is “simultaneously vague and with a hint of hyperbole to guarantee confused acceptance.”
If you can’t gain access with your “official pass,” why not try a disguise? Clarke suggests transforming into a tradesperson:
If you can pass as an electrician or plumber, use this. Get a small toolbox or equipment bag, look haggard and confused at the long line of people waiting at the theatre and walk up to the front. Dismissively inform the FOH manager of a “building issue” that the theatre management has called you in about and you were told you should be let through.
Plan B: You can be a courier that has “an urgent delivery of ‘paper-tape.’”
Clarke warns that building infiltration is highly tricky, but “most festivals in big cities rely on old, large movie houses for their screenings. These old theatres contain all manner of surprise entrances and hidden areas.” For additional tips, crack open a copy of All Access Areas, a book by the creator of Infiltration, a zine about “going places that you’re not supposed to go.”
But getting caught will come with a price (and it might be more than a festival ticket), so Clarke advises that it’s probably best to pony up for a ticket or else volunteer. We agree. While events like Sundance can spare a few lost dollars, your local film fest probably can’t.