The final list of films dropped today, along with a couple of frustrating bombshells. I wasn't expecting anything spectacular, but I assumed TIFF saved some unexpected announcements for the end. Apart from Burn After Reading and the Mavericks presentation with Howard Zinn, there isn't anything that catches the eye. Of course, it could be because they haven't even put out the full announcement online for the Contemporary World Cinema additions. Still, the list of films announced prior to today is good enough to moot my concerns.
No, the real bombshell today is the release of the VISA Screening Room and Gala schedule. I'm not too put out by it, but I think a lot of pass-holders are going to be pretty pissed. For those who haven't read my previous post, the VISA Screening Room will no longer be part of the ticket lottery, which sets a whole lot of films off-limits for the rest of us. Here are the affected films from the Special Presentations and Gala programs (note: 'second screening' refers to Gala presentations)
Un Barrage Contre le Pacifique
Blindness (two screenings)
Burn After Reading (second showing)
Che (Part 1 and Part 2) (two screenings apiece)
The Duchess (second showing)
Easy Virtue (two screenings)
Flash of Genius
The Good, the Bad, the Weird (second screening)
Heaven on Earth
Inju (two screenings)
The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (second screening)
The Lucky Ones (second screening)
Miracle at St. Anna (two screenings)
Nothing But the Truth (second screening)
Rachel Getting Married (second screening)
Woman in Berlin
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Now, it's entirely possible that TIFF intends to screen all of these films at least once outside of the VISA screenings. But if they get only one screening, expect those showings to be very difficult to attend. I would pay particular attention to The Wrestler, in that regard. The two screenings of Aronofsky's The Fountain, two years ago, were some of the hardest tickets to score at that TIFF.
As I said, I'm not too angry about it this year, since two of my most anticipated--The Brothers Bloom and Synechdoche, New York--will both premiere somewhere else (most likely the Ryerson). But I am angry about this in general, because it's yet another step towards further undermining the egalitarian nature of the festival. Frankly, I'm not too confident about that.