Monday, June 27, 2016

Looking at Distribution: Sony Pictures Classics / Wells Gives Us Hints / Osiason Updates His Predictions

Good Monday All...


Each year at about this time I begin to break down three categories of film makers to look at the most probable of Telluride Film Fest lineup choices.  Those categories being Overseas Producers, The "Usual Suspects"...people with a very clear history with the fest and Distirbutors.

Today I begin the breakdown of distribution companies that have had films play at Telluride.  It's worth noting that not every film that makes the lineup each year has a distribution deal in place when it screens in Telluride but most do and by looking at a distribs past record and what they have in their stable, we can try to make some educated guesses about what films might make the trip to southwest Colorado over the Labor Day weekend.

So we begin by looking at Sony Pictures Classics.

SPC has historically been the largest distribution presence at Telluride for more than a decade and it's really not even close.  No other company has as long and consistent track record of having films selected for The SHOW program as Sony Pictures Classics.

Here's what SPC has shown in Telluride in the last 13 years:

2015: Son of Saul (1)
2014: Foxcatcher, Leviathan, Red Army, Mr. Turner, Wild Tales, Salt of the Earth and Merchants of Doubt (7)
2013: The Invisible Woman, The Lunchbox, The Past, Tim's Vermeer and Jodorowsky's Dune (5)
2012: The Gatekeepers, At Any Price, Rust and Bone, No, Wadjda, Amour (6)
2011: A Dangerous Method, In Darkness, Footnote, A Separation (4)
2010: Incendies, Of Gods and Men, Tamara Drewe, Another Year, The Illusionist, Inside Job (6)
2009: The Last Station, The White Ribbon, Coco Before Chanel, A Prophet, An Education (5)
2008: Waltz with Bashir, I've Loved You So Long, O'Horten (3)
2007: Brick Lane, When Did You Last See Your Father, Persepolis, The Band's Visit, The Counterfeiters, Steep! (6)
2006: Jindabyne, The Lives of Others, Volver, The Italian (4)
2005: Breakfast on Pluto, Capote, Cache, The Child (4)
2004: Being Julia, House of Flying Daggers, Bad Education, Merchant of Venice, Up and Down, Yes (6)
2003: The Fog of War, My Life Without Me, The Triplets of Belleville, Young Adam (4)

It was truly weird to see SPC with only one film on the Telluride list last year.  It's just uncharacteristic for a company that has averaged around five films at TFF over the past decade-plus. I suspect that last year will prove to be an anomaly and that SPC will be back to Telluride with a larger set of films.  Perhaps not the five that they have averaged, however.

So, what does SPC have and will those films play at Telluride?

According to IMDb these are the films that SPC currently has in place for distribution that seem most likely:

The Red Turtle
Toni Erdmann
All four of these films played Cannes in May.

Any other SPC films scheduled for 2016 have already opened or played Sundance.

My expectations are very high on both The Red Turtle and Toni Erdmann.  I had them on last Friday's first Ten Bets list for this year at #8 and #3 respectively.

Both Elle and Julieta could make the TFF #43 lineup as well but I feel both are less likely. Alomdovar hasn't had a film play TFF since 2006's Volver and despite Elle's critical reception at Cannes, which was very good, I still can't bring myself to buy into a Paul Verhoeven film at T-ride. Maybe I'm just a snob.

As to Toni Erdmann and The Red Turtle...I feel relatively confident that their critical reception at Cannes  makes them likely .

Toni Erdmann trailer with English subs via YouTube

Chances for each:

Toni Erdmann-80%
The Red Turtle-80%
Elle- 50%

Tomorrow a look at Sundance Selects/IFC Films.


I was looking through some posts here and there over the weekend and ran across two recent entries from Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere that give serious insight to at least one potential Telluride selection and maybe two.

First, in a post from June 20 titled Open Letter to Personal Shopper Loyalists Wells reveals that he has been told that TFF's directors weren't that keen on the film.  Quoting now from the post:

"...two or three days ago Tom Luddy and Julie Huntsinger of the Telluride Film Festival were telling me how they didn't care for it (Personal Shopper)".

Taken at face value, it seems that we aren't probably going to see that film at the Labor Day soiree in Telluride.

The complete post is here:

Additionally, in a post from HE on June 24 titled I Wasn't Much, Now I Feel Differently Wells talks about Ewan McGregor's directing debut American Pastoral.  The film was featured here on MTFB last week when it released its first trailer.

Wells suggests that the film might be Telluride material at the end of his piece.  I hadn't even had it really on my radar until last week's look.  Now I'm thinking that it's a real possibility.  

The Wells mention, the fact that it's under the Lionsgate banner for distribution...which doesn't make it a lock but also doesn't rule it out...the fact that Kris Tapley (InContention/Variety) mentioned last week on Twitter that he's "Been hearing this was amazing since like March" and that it "Could be a real surprise later this season."  Finally, the film is slated to open on Oct. 21st which would certainly allow for plays at any of the big fall fests : Telluride, Venice, Toronto, New York.

As of this post, I'm warming to the notion that American Pastoral is a now a real candidate for Telluride inclusion.

American Pastoral trailer via YouTube

Wells speculation is here:


Tower poster from IMDb

Last week I posted Telluride predictions from film fan and expert prognosticator Jason Osiason. Since then Jason has added a couple of films to his "Likely" for Telluride list.  His original list looked like this:

20th Century Women
Bleed for This
Fire at Sea
Manchester-by-the -Sea
The Eagle Huntress
The Red Turtle
The Salesman
Things to Come
Toni Erdmann
How to Talk to Girls at Parties

He also lists as "possible":

Good Time
My Life as a Courgette (just won the top prize at the Annecy Fest)
Nocturnal Animals
The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez
The Meyerowitz Stories
The Son of Joseph
The Mercy
Birth of a Nation
Girl on a Train

Since that post, Osiason has communicated that he also feels that Andrea Arnold's American Honey is likely as is Keith Maitland's Tower.

That's a wrap for this Monday.  Tune in again tomorrow as I take a look at what Sundance Selects and IFC have that could make a play at this year's SHOW.

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