The AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles [Hollywood actually] is free again this year. And it is a dumb idea. Here's why. As of right now tickets are available for free [started at 10 am] - but most people cannot access the site now because [duh!] everyone is swamping the site.
But here's the thing, most everyone who can access the site can afford to buy tickets. The folks who would benefit most from the festival being free don't have easy access to a computer. And a good many others are at work right now and cannot access the site because...well they are working and it's not advantageous for them to be perusing the site.
The only other options are to buy a pass for $500.00, which is not really a good choice, or to join AFI and get a chance to aquire tickets...well yesterday. This scheme is obviously a nice way to advertise AFI. And maybe that is the whole idea behind the concept.
But I say here's a better idea: Stop making the AFI Festival free and instead sell tickets again so people can get tickets for movies they want to see without the hassle.
That said, I saw five or six films last year at the festival and none of them were sold out. So there is a good chance that films will still have seats available on the day of the screenings. But a good many people will not want to drive across the city, pay for parking and take a chance that maybe they can get into a film.
It's time for AFI to admit that the only reason they offer free tickets is as an adsvertising tool. It's a nice idea in theory. Let's hope next year they stop advertising and let us buy tickets again.