So Wes Anderson‘s The French Dispatch (Searchlight, 10.22) will have its big stateside debut at the 2021 New York Film Festival. Which means, of course, that it won’t be at the 2021 Telluride or Toronto gatherings. The latter festival, I’m told, really went the extra mile to try and persuade Anderson and Searchlight to have the big North American premiere in Toronto, but all for naught.

Why exactly? Because Toronto is generally regarded as a shit-show these days. They don’t know what they’re doing, and, like Sundance, they’ve safe-spaced and woked themselves into a corner.

Who opens a festival with a serving of musical snowflake pablum like Dear Evan Hansen with a 28 year-old “teenager” who looks like he’s 33? Some films still want to buddy up with Toronto for promotional purposes and that’s fine, but the Toronto Film Festival’s heyday (late ’90s to late teens) has come to an end. Toronto needs an official second-class seal attached to its logo. Let’s all get together and cut Toronto out of the action…seriously!

This is pure speculation but did TIFF reject Paul Schrader‘s The Card Counter because his Facebook posts have been too boomerish?

I adore the fact that Toronto is floundering, taking hits, missing out, experiencing behind-the-scenes chaos, etc.

The only biggies that Telluride missed out on are The French Dispatch and The Tragedy of Macbeth. I’m presuming they rejected Dune, and who wouldn’t?

Right now TIFF is basically suggesting that press people should stay home and watch everything digitally. A friend recently emailed them about covering the fest in-person and the press office was quite literally trying to convince him to cover it remotely and watch the films at home digitally. 

Last month a Toronto veteran was shaking his head about TIFF opening with Dear Evan Hansen, which seems weak and inconsequential even by the standards of a weak and inconsequential festival. The days when TIFF was an essential stopover — a big, muscular, must-attend, launch-of-awards-season festival — are over, and that is an excellent thing, trust me. They seem so uncertain, so off-balance, so anxious an∂ even puzzled. The world belongs to Venice, Telluride, New York, Berlin and Cannes now. Toronto is strictly second-tier.