Tag Archives: toronto festival

in.reuters.com

Dramas face tough time at Toronto festival

in.reuters.com

Dramas face tough time at Toronto festival

If there is anything Oscar voters love, it is a good drama. But as a key festival stop on the road to Hollywood awards got down to business on Friday, dramas were less on movie screens and more behind the scenes where the film genre is troubled.

The Toronto International Film Festival, which has long been considered a starting point for movie awards — Oscar winner “Slumdog Millionaire” got a big boost here last year — opened on Thursday night with Charles Darwin drama “Creation,” which came into the event seeking a U.S. distributor.

The festival boasts more than 330 films screening over 10 days, and ahead of opening week about a third of them lacked key distribution, including titles such as Atom Egoyan’s “Chloe” and Oliver Parker’s “Dorian Gray.”

Facing the recession at home, audiences have flocked to escapist fantasies and comedies, causing distributors of the dramas that vie for Oscars to snap up rights for those genres, leaving serious-minded fare in the dust.

Industry players say lovers of good dramas are not gone, nor is the genre dead. They see the issue as cyclical and more a marketing and cost problem than one of creative content.

Still, if you are making movies like 2007’s “No Country for Old Men,” which earned a best film Oscar, times are tough.

Director Jon Amiel, whose “Creation” tells of Charles Darwin struggling with his theories of evolution in the 1850s, called “drama” the new “five-letter word” in Hollywood.

“If you’re making a movie about a dead, bald Englishman, you’re not making a movie that even the indie distributors are flocking to buy these days,” Amiel said. “There are just many, many movies that American audiences are not going to see.”

The waning interest can be seen at box offices. Two big hits of the art house market this past summer were war drama “The Hurt Locker,” which earned $12 million — a solid number for a low-budget film but far less than twice the roughly $29 million earned by romantic comedy “(500) Days of Summer.”

“There’s a real conservative attitude (and) dramas are viewed as risky in today’s marketplace,” said Steven Beer, an entertainment attorney with law firm Greenberg Traurig.

Still, industry players say dramas can lure fans and make money. The key is devising the right production and marketing model that makes sense given today’s movie going climate.

In many cases, those marketing strategies call for grass roots campaigns that target key groups, lovers of science and period pieces for a movie such as “Creation,” for instance.

Production costs must fall to account for lower box office and declining DVD sales, which have dropped by double-digits on a percentage basis due in large part to competition from other forms of home entertainment.

“These have always been tough movies and they’ll always be tough movies. In a tough economic climate perhaps even tougher, which is why those models have to change,” said Tom Ortenberg, president of theatrical films at The Weinstein Co.

Industry watcher David Poland of MovieCityNews.com, said the drop in DVD sales had been a key factor in distributors’ unwillingness to back expensive dramas but, like the other experts, he noted there remained an appetite for the genre.

Still, distributors remain selective when looking at dramas, and that leaves little room for another breakthrough at Toronto 2009 such as “Slumdog” proved to be last year when it was acquired by Fox Searchlight ahead of awards season.

Dramas face  Artist, Dramas face  song, Dramas face  music, Dramas face mtv, Dramas face  news, Dramas face  web, Dramas face dressed, Dramas face  photo, Dramas face  portfolio, Dramas face  artist, Dramas face  Album, Dramas face  film, Dramas face  info, Dramas face  movie, Dramas faceupdate, Dramas face  post, Dramas face  mail,Dramas face  latest, Dramas face show, Dramas face  actress, Dramas face  model, Dramas face  singer, Dramas face  Award, Dramas face  mtv, Dramas face  actor, Dramas face  Oscar, Dramas face  album, festival, Award, Horror, mtv, actor, singer, Oscar, show, mtv, dressed, album, bf1, Dramas, face, tough, time,at, Toronto, festival

preityheaven_full

Toronto film festival promises deals, less glitz

preityheaven_full

Toronto film festival promises deals, less glitz

The Toronto International Film Festival will pull back the curtain for its 34th edition this week, as an unofficial kick-off to the Oscars for an industry whose glitz factor has been dulled by the slumping economy.

More than 330 films from 64 countries will be screened over 10 days from Thursday, up slightly from 2008. Many were financed last year before funds dried up as a result of the global financial crisis.

Although participants expect fewer lavish parties, they say the festival should still be a deal-making hotbed as distributors clamor to uncover the next “Chariots of Fire” or “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Those films won the Oscar for Best Picture after garnering attention at the Toronto festival.

As of last week, about one-third of the films on the bill this year lacked distribution rights in major territories.

“My feeling is that this is going to be a very good year as far as dealmaking is concerned because there are so many unknown films that look intriguing” said Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics.

“Every year, several of those films have always been bought. I don’t think that’s going to change this year.”

Barker, however, said he expects the value for deals to distribute top films will likely fall from past years.

PEOPLE’S FESTIVAL

In the past three decades, the Toronto festival has built a reputation rivaling the better-known Cannes and Sundance film festivals and has carved out a niche as the place where studios showcase films ahead of the end-of-year Academy Awards races.

With Toronto offering more public access to screenings than at many other festivals, studios and distributors often are able to see how a film plays in front of a real audience.

Audience approval of “Slumdog Millionaire” — it won the festival’s top award last year — presaged the movie’s Best Picture win at the Oscars.

“I think Toronto’s always been a really important part of opening the door to Oscar season,” said Michael Schaefer, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions for Summit Entertainment.

Following what reviewers saw as a lackluster 2008 roster, the festival has scored high profile titles among this year’s 96 world premieres, including the Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man,” and Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut “Whip It.”

Other films include “Up in the Air,” starring George Clooney and helmed by “Juno” director Jason Reitman, and “Get Low,” starring Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek.

Also showing is Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist,” which shocked audiences in Cannes for its graphic sex and violence.

The festival is also breaking with its long-standing tradition of opening with a Canadian film, opting instead to debut with British production “Creation,” which tells the story of Charles Darwin and his struggle to bring the idea of evolution into a world rooted in religious belief.

Toronto film festival Artist, Toronto film festival song, Toronto film festival music, Toronto film festival mtv, Toronto film festival news, Toronto film festival web, Toronto film festival gallery, Toronto film festival photo, Toronto film festival portfolio, Toronto film festival artist, Toronto film festival Album, Toronto film festival film, Toronto film festival info, Toronto film festival movie, Toronto film festival update, Toronto film festival post, Toronto film festival mail,Toronto film festival latest, Toronto film festival actress, Toronto film festival model, Toronto film festival singer, Toronto film festival mtv, Toronto film festival actor, Toronto film festival Oscar, Toronto film festival album, festival, Horror, mtv, actor, singer, Oscar, mtv, album, bf1,