I was told today that three significant award-season films that are probably going to play the 2013 Telluride Film Festival — Alexander Payne‘s Nebraska, J.C. Chandor‘s All Is Lost and Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Inside Llewyn Davis — will not make the trek to the Toronto Film Festival, which starts just a few days after Telluride ends. Telluride films almost always go to Toronto so this is…well, it’s interesting.
I hope this information is wrong, or that the distributors of these films will think things over and change their minds. I saw all three at Cannes and suspect they’d all get a rousing reception at Toronto.
Seven years ago I ran a piece called “The Old Toronto Sidestep.” It was about a decision by Sony Pictures to not screen Ryan Murphy‘s Running With Scissors at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. A week earlier I had written that Fox Searchlight had made the same decision about Nicholas Hytner‘s The History Boys.
I wrote that “there are three reasons that fall releases with high-pedigree trappings don’t make the trip to Telluride, Toronto, Venice or New York: (a) The film doesn’t quite have the chops that everyone has been expecting; (b) it has the chops and then some, and the handlers are figuring they don’t need early-fall festival buzz to start things off; or (c) it has the chops but for some reason they don’t want reactions percolating for eight or ten or twelve weeks before it opens.”
Presuming that today’s information (which came from two sources) is accurate, I can’t figure why the mostly well-liked Nebraska or the flat-out brilliant Inside Llewyn Davis or All Is Lost wouldn’t like the idea of Toronto this year, but this is what I’m hearing. I was presuming that these films would be announced as late entries. Perhaps not. Obviously we’ll see soon enough.
If my information is correct, it indicates that there’s a feeling among hot-shot film publicists that (a) Toronto can be a good place to promote a fall film, but (b) it’s also a place that can chew your film up and spit it out if things don’t go exactly right.