Skip to main content

Sandra Bullock in a scene from "Gravity."

AP

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced a new policy it hopes will guarantee the "premiere" status of the films it screens during the all-important first four days (Thursday through Sunday) of its annual 11-day event. The policy, released Wednesday by the TIFF press office, states that, beginning with TIFF 2014, "all films playing in the first four days of the festival must be a world premiere or North American premiere." Most crucially, officially invited films that end up being publicly screened elsewhere in North America before Toronto "can be scheduled" for screening from Monday onwards after the opening weekend.

Further, the press office release says, "the festival's opening night film must be a world premiere and the closing night film must be a world or international premiere" – a world premiere being "the first public screening anywhere in the world," an international "the first public screening outside a film's home country."

Details of the policy were reportedly delivered in-person earlier this week to Hollywood studios and talent agencies by TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey.

Story continues below advertisement

The move is clearly aimed at the Colorado's Telluride Film Festival, which is marking its 41st anniversary in late August this year, just before the start of TIFF 39. Relatively small, semi-exclusive, out-of-the-way, Telluride likes to call itself a "sneak-preview festival" rather than one orientated to premieres. Nevertheless, over the years, it's presented one-off screenings of movies that TIFF has advertised as being its premieres, thereby compromising the Canadian event's claims to exclusivity. Last year, for example, of the roughly 30 movies presented in Telluride's main program, at least 17 had been advertised by TIFF as premieres of one sort or another, including Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, as a world premiere, and Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, as a North American premiere. both films had their inaugural public screenings during TIFF's opening weekend. Telluride in recent years has seen a swell of reporters and bloggers willing to pay its rather stiff fees to have first dibs in declaring, online and in print, what films are destined for fan approbation in Toronto or Oscar contention later in the year.

A request to the Telluride press office for comment was not returned Wednesday evening.

Asked if previous arrangements with studios and distributors for TIFF premieres actually involved signed agreements, a TIFF spokesperson said: "The process is being formalized and will be communicated to films submitting to the festival."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies