| March 6, 2022
With the release of the Toronto International schedule a couple weeks ago, the unveiling of the Telluride un-schedule today, Venice’s refusal to do any streaming for media or anyone else, and New York announcing that it will open with a TV series (not unlike TIFF opening with a movie The Academy apparently won’t qualify as a movie), the picture of just how much of a non-starter (save Tenet and a Zhao or two) this September is going to be for cinema lovers.
What surprises me is that it is getting more frustrating, not less.
The overlap between the “cooperative” Venice and Telluride is four titles in the Venice competition and two more in the Horizon section. Pending the New York list, 22 of the 29 of the Telluride selections have no North American festival placement scheduled in 2020, with Venice failing to offer streaming of any kind for their features.
And don’t look to Toronto to alleviate the problem. Only seven Venice titles are scheduled for TIFF.
But hey… Going to Venice is now a wide-open opportunity with Telluride out of the picture, right? Hold your horses.
Entry into Italy from countries outside the EU and/or the Schengen Agreement continues to be allowed only for:
All travelers arriving in Italy from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days unless they are traveling from an exempted country or for a purpose that falls under current exception.
So… If you can show that you are required by work to enter Italy with a U.S. passport (we are not exempt in any way), you are then supposed to quarantine for two weeks. That gives you two weeks to start your trip to the festival if you want to be out of self-isolation for opening night.
Among familiar names whose films will be at Venice and whose new films have no North American home yet are Andrey Konchalovskiy, Majid Majidi, Amos Gitai, Nicole Garcia, Alice Rohrwacher, Abel Ferrara, Gia Coppola, a documentary from Luca Guadagnino, Orson Welles interviewing Dennis Hopper, an Alex Gibney doc on a forensic psychiatrist, and a TV episode from Alex de la Iglesia.
A whopping 13 of the 29 Telluride selections have no other festival commitments or impending North American distribution. These include a doc on Tarkovsky by his son, an Agnieszka Holland film (now showing in Transylvania… not kidding), the next doc from Keith Maitland (The Tower), and a recreation of a conversation between Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote by the filmmaker who premiered Love, Cecil at the fest in 2017.
At this point, the only inside-the-kvell-way players daring the circuit are Searchlight (Nomadland), Neon (Ammonite), and Sony Classics (The Father).
And now, we wait for the New York list. TIFF took on eight of the 27 Cannes selections. One of those (Nomadland) is set for NY. How much more overlap might there be? And how accessible will NYFF make their festival outside of New York? So far, they have suggested the festival will try all kinds of ideas.
For ten days, between September 10 and September 20, getting through the 50-plus TIFF titles will be challenging, exhausting, and sure to offer some happy surprises. But how will be I be participating in advancing film culture for the rest of August until September 2 and then until September 9?
A few of the films will come my way via publicists. And they they will deservedly get my attention.
But mostly… waiting.
It didn’t have to be this way.
| March 6, 2022
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"Netflix, the great disrupter whose algorithms and direct-to-consumer platform have forced powerful media incumbents to rethink their economic models, now seems to need a big strategy change itself. It got me thinking about the simple idea that my film and TV production company Blumhouse is built on: If you give artists a lot of creative freedom and a little money upfront but a big stake in the movie’s or TV show’s commercial success, more often than not the result will be both commercial (the filmmakers are incentivized to make films that will resonate with audiences) and artistically interesting (creative freedom!). This approach has yielded movies as varied as Get Out (made for $4.5 million, with worldwide box office receipts of more than $250 million), Whiplash (made for $3.3 million, winner of three Academy Awards), The Invisible Man (made for $7 million, earned more than $140 million) and Paranormal Activity (made for $15,000, grossed more than $190 million).From the beginning, the most important strategy I used to persuade artists to work with me was to make radically transparent deals: We usually paid the artists (“participants” in Hollywood lingo) the absolute minimum allowable by union contracts upfront, with the promise of healthy bonuses based on actual box office results—instead of the opaque 'percentage points' that artists are usually offered. Anyone can see box office results immediately, so creators don’t quarrel with the payouts. In fact, when it comes time for an artist to collect a bonus based on box office receipts, I email a video clip of myself dropping the check off at FedEx to the recipient."
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