The Toronto International Film Festival has long prided itself as the premiere fall showcase that launches awards season, but recent challenges from Venice, Telluride, and New York have made the competition for world premieres of Oscar contenders much more intense. Last year, TIFF marked its territory by penalizing any film set for a sneak-peak at Telluride by not screening them during the first four days of the Toronto festival—when the media spotlight is its most intense. Some films were forced to choose: Telluride or Toronto.
But according to the Hollywood Reporter, that one-year experiment is history. Toronto will no longer prohibit Telluride premieres from screening during its opening weekend—though they will slap films that try the Telluride-Toronto double-dip on the wrist by prohibiting them from playing in its three major venues, the Elgin Theatre, the Princess of Wales Theatre and Roy Thomson Hall.
The de-escalation of tensions will certainly make distributors and filmmakers happy. While Telluride has made a habit of stealing some of Toronto’s thunder with surprise world premieres just days before a big Toronto premiere, the Colorado festival is a lower-key event that caters to industry insiders. In recent years, films like 12 Years a Slave, Argo, and The Imitation Game premiered first at Telluride before playing at Toronto. Though Toronto lost the prestige of being “first,” it didn’t seem to hurt the festival, and in the case of The Imitation Game (and Wild), the festival’s policy to encourage only world premieres didn’t have a marked effect on their awards prospects.
Representatives from TIFF did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.