The Toronto Film Festival press office team hasn’t made its final, last-minute calls about who will be getting press badges for the forthcoming festival (9.10 to 9.19). They’re re-reviewing the situation next Monday, a rep says. It nonetheless seems curious, especially considering the rampant implosion of print outlets all over the world, that the TIFF-ers are giving three well-read, thoroughly respectable online voices — Movieline‘s Stu VanAirsdale, Spoutblog‘s Karina Longworth and Cinemablend‘s Katey Rich — the vague idea that they may not make the cut. Or that they might…not sure yet!
(l. to r.) Movieline‘s Stu VanAirsdale; Spoutblog‘s Karina Longworth; Cinemablend‘s Katey Rich; In Contention‘s Kris Tapley.
On top of which In Contention‘s Kris Tapley, owner and master of one of the key quality-calibrating, awards-chasing sites that shifts into high gear starting with Toronto, has tried to get himself credentialed this year instead of the previously credentialed In Contention correspondent John Foote (Tapley having told Foote he’ll be taking over the beat). Tapley has nonetheless been told by the TIFFers, “Uhm, sorry, but we already have Foote covering for your site.” In response to which Tapley said, “Uhm, no…I’m covering this year for my site, not Foote.” In response to which the TIFFers said, “Uhm, sorry, but we already have Foote covering for your site.”
On top of which the very smart, aggressive, constantly poking-and-hammering film blogger Rodrigo Perez of The Playlist (whom I read daily because he’s always on to something I haven’t heard about) has been officially turned down . This just doesn’t add up. Perez is no fanboy. He’s on the Big Picture 24/7, chasing down scripts, putting his nose into things, assessing the whole equation, etc.
It’s kind of a strange way to treat a crew of respected, trend-spotting, ahead-of-the-curve types. Is the newspaper community not deflating and shrinking? Are the ad dollars that are spent online not starting to overtake print in some markets? It’s a profound changing-of-the-guard situation going on, and festivals, bless ’em, always seem to be slow to wake up to the new-coffee smell.
Whatever the final determination the Toronto Film Festival begins three and half weeks from now and they’re keeping these guys, who need to figure out plane travel and some hotel-room situation as far in advance as possible in order to get good deals, on pins and needles. Longworth, Tapley, Van Airsdale, Rich and Perez are hardly new to the net or the festival circuit. Longworth especially is…Karina Longworth! And Stu is, like, Mr. Shoe Leather. And Tapley is a brand-name guy who collects ad dollars from the biggies every fall and winter.
They’ve all been around, paid their dues, earned their stripes. Tapley does ComicCon and has been to Sundance. Two of them covered Cannes last May. VanAirsdale has been credentialed for Sundance and Cinevegas, and his Moveline colleagues did a bang-up job last month covering ComicCon. Rich covered ComicCon also and has done Showest.
It’s just seems sorta weird and clueless, is all. The Tapley situation especially, which sounds like something out of Kafka.
A TIFF press relations spokesperson told me this morning that (a) “we’ve pulled the files of the people you mentioned [and] we’ll be re-reviewing these files on Monday,” (b) “We get hundreds and hundreds of applications each year and have only a certain amount of passes to give out each year…there are about 1000 revolving/returning press people who come each year and every year we decide on about 200 new people,” and (c) “There are certain outlets we’ve said no to — the ones who focus just on celebrities, for instance — because we want steady persistent festival coverage…it’s not who they are as much as how persistent their coverage will be.”