Film Festivals: Rivalry or Explosion

Variety reports that Venice Film Fest artistic director Alberto Barbera is upset about Telluride stepping up several of its world-premiered “sneak previews” this year and he intends to put a stop to it.

“For next year, we will all have to be agreed on the ground rules: if a movie is in competition in Venice it has to screen here first,” Barbera said in a press lunch.

For this year’s 40th edition, which wrapped September 2, Telluride beat the Lido to the punch on three films, Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin,” Errol Morris docu “The Unknown Known,” both in competition at Venice, and Gia Coppola’s “Palo Alto.”

While it’s not the first time Telluride “sneak peeks” a Venice title first, fest typically does Venice the courtesy of waiting at least a few hours after a film’s world premiere on the Lido before screening the same movie.

Telluride stole Venice’s thunder in a much bigger way this year. But Toronto got hit even worse. It lost world-premiere status on “Prisoners,” “Labor Day,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Ida,” “The Invisible Woman,” “Tim’s Vermeer” and “Starred Up.”

All three fests are important in kicking off awards’ season.

Barbera said that regarding two titles this year, he had no idea what Telluride was up to, most notably with Glazer’s “Under the Skin,” which ended up getting a better response from critics in Venice than in Telluride.

The bottom line is that there are not many great films around, which explains the fierce competition between festivals.