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Emily is blogging from San Sebastian-Donostia and Cannes 


Why Go To Toronto?

Why not go to Toronto in September? Apparently, the real question is, why go? In an impromptu survey of representatives at the Cannes market, the nearly unanimous answer to questions regarding plans to go to the Toronto International Film Festival this year was a resounding "No."

Some groups, such as PRO Chile, explained that because they were new on the scene, they may not be ready for Toronto. A representative from the booth stated that Cannes is their first experience, and while it has been a good one, they have to review their options before making a decision about spending this fall in the Great White North.

Several buyers in the market were interviewed, such as Ultra Distributors and Moser Baer, both of whom responded that they did not intend to attend the Toronto festival. Cannes appears to be a friendlier and more prosperous market for buyers than Toronto; because Toronto, unlike Cannes, makes selections on the films that can feature in the market, there is a smaller base of films, especially independent films, at Toronto than at Cannes. This point, above all, seemed to strike a chord with those interviewed.

Independent filmmakers agreed with this idea. One independent filmmaker cited the fact that Toronto does not show shorts as part of their regular program as a reason for avoiding the festival. Cannes' "Short Film Corner" is an amazing resource for short-filmmakers, and because Toronto does not have anything similar at their festival, it is not terribly interesting to this kind of filmmaker.

Most of all, it was Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Productions in New York City who explained his reasons for avoiding Toronto. In response to the question when it was posed, Mr. Kaufman replied, "Why in heaven's name... they hate us." He went on to cite Toronto's selection as "warmed-over movies from Sundance," and then rhetorically posed the question, "Whose ass are they licking this year? Which devil-worshipping national conglomerate [is going to be there]?" Though Mr. Kaufman admitted that, "About three quarters of what [he said]" was true, and that it should all be taken "with a grain of salt," he went on to state that he was "a bitter, sad, old man:" Troma, an independent production company that has been in existence for thirty-five years, has essentially been ignored not only by the mainstream media, but even by the "respected" independent production houses like Warner Independent and Lionsgate. In Mr. Kaufman's opinion, festivals such as Toronto should be helping the independent filmmaker, not "economically blacklisting" him. Mr. Kaufman went on to promote festivals such as TromaDance in Park City, Utah, and Fantasia in Montreal, both of which aim to be more accessible to the independent filmmaker.

The one group who did say they were planning to attend Toronto in the fall was a group from Japan, who said that they were planning on sharing a booth there with Korea, hosted by AFN (Asian Film Network). Their representative stated that Toronto and Venice were equally attractive options for their company, but that Toronto was more feasible. Toronto offers easy access to theaters, and the public of the city is invited. Another reason, however, that this particular group would consider going to Toronto that cannot be ignored is the strength of the Japanese and Asian film markets in general in Toronto. Given that this response was the exception rather than the rule, however, it is safe to say that the Toronto festival is, in general, attractive to a much smaller demographic than the Cannes festival.

Comments (1)


For the september i prefer utah climbing . But the summer is terrific in Toronto.

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