Every year, the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals overlaps and crash into one another, making programmers at each event fight hard to land the most prestigious movies for the all important World Premiere. And in recent years, Toronto has been scooped more than once by Telluride, with organizers of the Colorado fest, who keep their lineup secret until just days before it starts, often revealing titles that were scheduled to debut at Toronto, or major movies their Canadian colleagues just couldn’t get.
Last year, Toronto tried to put their foot down by announcing that films screened at Telluride won’t be able to play during the first four days at TIFF, which has the highest media profile. This made things a bit of a Sophie’s Choice for distributors and filmmakers who felt they were forced to choose between two events that have very different audiences and purposes. Telluride is a much smaller, chummier affair where filmmakers and press rub very close elbows, while TIFF is a much bigger, much more international affair, with more glitz and red carpet moments. And for 2015, cooler heads have prevailed at TIFF.
The fest has ditched the Telluride screening policy, which is probably a smart move. Not only does it give distributors, producers and directors more flexibility in how they roll out their films in the crowded fall festival circuit, it also allows TIFF to remain adaptable as well. And pitting themselves against another festival wound up being a no-win situation anyway. That said, movies that do play Telluride first won’t be screened at TIFF’s three main venues, the Elgin Theatre, the Princess of Wales Theatre and Roy Thomson Hall. These are used for gala screenings, and one would imagine they want to reserve those screens for movies that will be making their true World Premiere in Toronto.
The 40th Toronto International Film Festival kicks off on September 10th. And with more news to come soon, there’s already rumblings about which movies will open the fest. [THR]