Fall Film Festivals Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York Team Up With ‘United Platform’

“As we work through challenging circumstances this summer to prepare our festivals, we will work together, in support of film,” a joint statement from the festivals reads

Last Updated: July 8, 2020 @ 7:53 AM

The fall film festivals of Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York have all agreed to team up this year and offer what they call a “united platform” for this year’s cinema in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement issued Wednesday, organizers of the festivals said they are moving away from competing with each other for world premieres and specific films and will work together to keep the “film ecosystem” thriving, serving filmmakers, audiences, journalists and industry professionals in the process.

Just about every festival has announced changes to its format in one way or the other, in many cases with hybrid physical and virtual screenings and events. But it’s not immediately clear what the format of a united platform will resemble, but it’s possible that the festivals will share world premieres of new films rather than compete to determine who can get the splashiest galas and premieres. In addition, both Venice and TIFF have previously announced that their film lineups this year will be a slimmer 50 films, and it could stand to reason that there could be some overlap.

All four festivals take place within a month and a half of one another in the fall, and they’re the first stepping stone on the road to the Oscars, which for 2021 has already delayed its ceremony to late April.

Venice is meant to take place Sept. 2-12, Telluride runs from Sept. 4-7, TIFF begins on Sept. 10 and runs through Sept. 20, and NYFF takes place between Sept. 27 and Oct. 13.

Read the full statement signed by the artistic heads of all four festivals below:

This year, we saw the COVID-19 pandemic devastate communities all over the world, and bring life as we knew it to a halt. As supporters of global cinema, we watched as the work of film artists stopped in its tracks, and the culture of film itself was challenged. Films come alive with audiences, who could no longer gather in the ways we had for over a century.

The art form we love is in crisis. Our own organizations have seen unprecedented challenges to our work and our financial security. The pandemic caught each of us as we were preparing for the biggest event of our year in the fall of 2020. We knew we had to adapt. We decided to collaborate as we never have before.

Venice is the origin story for every film festival in the world. Telluride is one of the world’s most influential festivals. Toronto is home to the world’s largest public film festival. And the New York Film Festival curates for one of the world’s most storied, sophisticated film cities. Our four festivals share a love of cinema and a devotion to filmmakers. We also share a short span of six weeks each autumn.

This year, we’ve moved away from competing with our colleagues at autumn festivals and commit instead to collaboration. We are sharing ideas and information. We are offering our festivals as a united platform for the best cinema we can find. We’re here to serve the filmmakers, audiences, journalists and industry members who keep the film ecosystem thriving. We need to do that together.

We believe cinema has a unique power to illuminate both the world around us, and our innermost perceptions. In a crisis, films can transport us. They can enchant, inform, provoke and heal. As we work through challenging circumstances this summer to prepare our festivals, we will work together, in support of film.

Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival
Alberto Barbera, Venice Film Festival
Eugene Hernandez, New York Film Festival
Julie Huntsinger, Telluride Film Festival
Tom Luddy, Telluride Film Festival
Joana Vicente, Toronto International Film Festival

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