| December 4, 2020
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.
| December 4, 2020
| December 3, 2020
| November 26, 2020
Steven Zeitchik: "It's worth remembering -- because many people seem to have forgotten -- that before the pandemic U.S. movie theaters had their best two-year period ever, with a collective $23 billion in revenue. This isn't some dying model that digital needs to come in and save. Those sales, incidentally, likely include the many people who swear they will never go to a movie theater again. When the new Marvel or Jordan Peele or Mission: Impossible or Parasite comes only to theaters, I suspect they'll be lining up like they always have. What’s troubling is the false binary: streaming vs theaters. You can like both! Netflix is good and theaters are good! Institutions don't have to die just because something new is cool. And historically it takes more than one company in a strategically tough spot to kill a model. Of course ownership can change and experiences can change. We watched silent films and newsreels and serials in movie houses, and then we saw gritty crime films and pop films and dramatic films, and then 3-D films and franchise films. And there weren't showtimes and then there were showtimes, and seats weren't reserved and then they were reserved; we went from movie palaces to multiplexes to downtown dine-in rooms with reclining seats. And studios owned theaters and then families owned theaters and then entrepreneurs did and then big corporate chains and soon studios might own theaters again, and package movies as experiences or events or something new we haven't yet thought of. Of course it's theoretically possible an entire American institution just goes away. But given how durable it's been over the decades, I wouldn't bet on it. And certainly not because one company, for its own internal reasons, at one moment, needs to put its movies somewhere else."
| December 5, 2020
"Stankey decided to use HBO as the centerpiece for a new mission: Build a true Netflix competitor, dubbed HBO Max. When Stankey took over as AT&T’s CEO, he passed that goal to new WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, who previously launched Hulu. Stankey has dismantled the old Time Warner, spurring dozens of executives from all parts of the company to depart. He is attempting to funnel all of the company’s resources from cable, film, and HBO into HBO Max. Disney, Comcast’s NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS are all going through similar changes now to prepare for a world where subscription streaming services overtake cable as the world’s primary form of television consumption. Stankey — the MBA-buzzword, deep-voiced phone guy — was ahead of the trend. Still, his vision irritated some veteran WarnerMedia executives, who question Stankey’s knowledge of media. The execution of his mission, which Kilar has overseen since May, has been marred by strategic confusion and culture clashes, according to more than a dozen high-ranking WarnerMedia employees, about half of whom have left the company in the past six months. For now, investors don’t like what they see. AT&T is trading near a 10-year low."
| December 5, 2020
Nicholas Kristof: "I've spent the last few months reporting this piece about Pornhub. What most people don't realize is that it's infested with rape videos. I talked to child trafficking survivors whose rape videos the company had distributed and monetized. Unconscionable. Let's be clear: The issue is not porn, it's rape. Just as the problem with Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby wasn't the sex but the lack of consent, it's the same with Pornhub. Search "13yo" on Pornhub, and you get more than 100,000 videos. There are playlists called "Under Age." A special question for Canada, because Pornhub is based in Montreal. Prime Minister Trudeau, you are rightly proud of your reputation as a feminist. So why does Canada host a company that inflicts rape videos on the world? It's not just Pornhub, of course. Companies have enjoyed impunity, so even as we prosecuted individuals like Jeffrey Epstein we allowed corporations like Mindgeek (which owns Pornhub) to monetize rape videos. Pornhub is Jeffrey Epstein times 1,000. Solutions are difficult and complicated. I don't have perfect ways to solve the problem of online child sexual abuse. But I do outline steps that would help. These survivors risked so much to tell their stories."
| December 5, 2020
| December 13, 2019
| December 4, 2019
| December 4, 2019