Telluride Versus Toronto: Filmmakers Must Choose

Telluride Versus Toronto: Filmmakers Must Choose

Everything is coming up powder, but some of the news points to festival season this summer. And it’s hot. Apparently Toronto Film Festival honchos are unhappy that films they accepted as premieres were sneak peeking at the Telluride Film Festival and plan to put a stop to the practice, saying they will no longer accept movies that have been seen elsewhere.

Alexander Payne and Jason Reitman. Where will their films premiere in North America? (from The Hollywood Reporter)

Alexander Payne and Jason Reitman. Where will their films premiere in North America? (The Hollywood Reporter)

The controversial story was posted in The Hollywood Reporter.

“Over the last four decades, many of the world’s greatest filmmakers have unveiled their films on “the Telluride-Toronto circuit.”

In other words, they sneak-screened their new films at the Telluride Film Festival, a small gathering of cineastes that has taken place every Labor Day weekend since 1973 in a remote ski resort town high in the Rocky Mountains, and then headed north of the border to the Toronto International Film Festival, which has grown into one of the largest film festivals in the world since its first installment in 1975, for an “official” North American or world premiere.

Films that were unveiled in such a manner include The Crying Game, Brokeback Mountain, Walk the Line, Juno, Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech.

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But, as IndieWire’s Anne Thompson first reported several days ago, the Telluride-Toronto circuit will no longer be available as an option next fall. TIFF is miffed about having some of its premieres’ thunder stolen by the coverage they receive in Telluride and is now insisting that filmmakers and distributors pick one fest or the other. If they side with Telluride, their film will not even be considered for a screening during Toronto’s first four days, when fest attendance and media coverage are at their height.

The decision probably won’t be an easy one for many, since there are pros and cons to each fest: Telluride is widely valued by filmmakers for its highly-selective lineup and low-key vibe, while Toronto, which has a significantly larger lineup and is much more structured around red carpets and media opportunities, is widely valued by distributors as an effective launching pad for not only awards campaigns but also commercial releases.

But there are some filmmakers whose future preference — Telluride or Toronto — can probably be anticipated from their personal and professional histories at one event and/or the other.”

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