Thursday, July 26, 2012

‘The Master' Not Playing Venice Or TIFF

Over the last two days the lineups for Toronto and Venice Film Festival's have been unveiled and it looks like neither one managed to score "The Master." Though TIFF seemed like a long shot in recent days, Venice came as more of a shock. We knew that the festival was chasing the film along with the new efforts from Terrence Malick and Brian DePalma, and while it looks like they got their other two choices, PTA's latest is the whale they just couldn't catch. Curiously (and probably frustratingly for those attending) Variety had initially announced "The Master" as being part of the lineup only to retract that statement shortly afterwards. (via @ThePlaylist) Anybody know what happened there? Please pass it along.

Update 8/27: Festival director Alberto Barbera says the film will not play the festival. “I didn’t mention the film. Nobody mentioned the film. It is not in any of our sections.” (via @manuyanezm)

Update 10:40am: A commenter informs us that Venice Festival Director "Alberto Barbera said at the press conference there is one more movie in competition that will be announced in the next few days." So it's still possible "The Master" could bet that film. Standby for heart-attack.

And then there were two. Back in March we ran down the odds on which festivals we thought were most likely to land the film and at the time gave the New York Film Festival the best odds while calling Fantastic Fest a long shot. Obviously some new information has come to light which seems to tip the scales in the other direction. Though it is possible, it doesn't seem likely that the film would play at both fests. (It should be noted that "Melancholia" did this last year but had also played at Cannes, TIFF, opened in France and premiered on VOD by that time too.) Because NYFF is so late in the year, it's really the last major festival and the selection is usually culled from Cannes favorites and a few repeats from Venice/TIFF with a few high profile premieres sprinkled in.

While we have no doubt they're trying to at least get a peek at "The Master" for inclusion in their lineup, their tastes can be a little baffling sometimes. (For example, in 2010 they scored Premieres for "Hereafter" and "The Tempest" while turning down "Black Swan," which was filmed at Lincoln Center where the festival is held.) So nothing is a sure thing. (Remember that "There Will Be Blood" did not premiere there in 2007...) Of course there's there's the possibility that PTA has decided to skip all the major fall festivals. Here's what we said back in March...
"There Will Be Blood" sidestepped all the major Fall festivals and still went on to being PTA's highest grossing and most acclaimed film. "The Master" isn't going to have any trouble stirring up attention and traveling the festival circuit also runs the risk of 'peaking too early. If the team behind the film just decide to have a couple of screenings (like they did for "There Will Be Blood" at The Castro in San Francisco and secretly in Austin), that would be just fine with us. With the curiosity surrounding the film - it appeared on nearly every site's Most Anticipated list for 2012 despite not even knowing at the time that it would be released this year - the festivals probably need the film more than it needs them.
As much as I'd like to see the film premiere at NYFF for selfish reasons (I live here), there's something kinda cool about Paul doing his own thing and premiering it in Austin instead. The NYFF lineup should be announced in the next few weeks, so we'll know for sure soon.

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  1. Tomorrow (11:30 a.m., Italian Time) Alberto Barbera said at the press conference there is one more movie in competition that will be announced in the next few days ... I really hope that it could be "The Master" ... I'm an italian movie critic, I'll be in Venice and I don't want to miss the new PTA's movie!

  2. sorry, I would say "this morning", not "tomorrow"

  3. Oh, interesting. Thanks for the headsup!

    Do you have a link?

    1. For now I haven't links in english.
      This is from my blog (
      and this from one of the best italian movie sites (
      Maybe you can read it via google translator...

  4. Well maybe that's just it CJ, maybe he's doin NYFF as a special favor to you for running such an awesome blog!! Wouldn't that be great?!

  5. Actually, this is Cory (modage). CJ has the little "Posted by fortyfps" at the bottom of his posts. But thanks for the compliment, we shall share it together!

  6. TIFF has only announced a fraction of their titles, so it could still play there. However, it seems more likely that it will (a) have an unannounced screening at Fantastic Fest and (b) open NYFF.

  7. Well I guess having new Malick AND PTA was just too good to be true. What an amazing year for American cinema with these two plus Killing Them Softly, Lawless, and Django Unchained.

    Fellow PT Anderson fans feel free to check out my blog below, did a retrospective on all his films a while back, pieces I'm sure you'll find insightful.


    Joe McDonagh Film

  8. I've always been curious as to why PTA & co. is so attracted to Fantastic Fest in Austin. I was under the impression that they only went there for TWBB because they shot in Texas.

  9. I think the movie should just skip ALL film festivals and come out october 12 with all it's mystery still intact. Specially because I don't want a ton of reviews and articles and even more spoilers coming out.

    But with that said, if it plays at the NYFF, I'M FUCKING GOING!

  10. Anyone curious on why PT and Austin read this article which goes to the origin of how Tim and PT met and rest has been history as they say:

    Pan's Labyrinth (though it had world prem by then) highlights time where NYFF got to say US prem but it actually played FF before.

  11. Is there any chance at all this plays in Telluride?

  12. The Astor-theatre in Melbourne, said that it was semi confirmed The Master will only be shown 70mm in a select location in LA, I don't know their sources but they are the 70mm film specialists here, and I take their word pretty trustingly, they also mentioned that every 70mm print costs the Studio about $50,000, and aside from there being a limited number of locations that 70mm can be screened in, there are only limited prints that usually are available due to cost.

    - Mert B
    Twitter: @mertsrocket

  13. Guess PTA got too big for any festival :) I mean really, what is the reason for THE MASTER to screen at some festival? Cannes, Venice and other such venues are important for films that could not get that kind of media coverage other way. PTA does not need critical acclaim, he already has it, the film is one of the most anticipated films of the year already, so the hype's there already, and by not showing it before the actual distribution it just rises the intrigue.
    Oh yeah, and I guess they're keeping the low profile cause they're preparing for the war with you know whom ;)

  14. There are theater(s) in Austin (they've been gearing up for it there) and in San Francisco that can screen 70mm. TIFF's Lightbox can easily handle 70mm as well. Imagine as you mention Mert theatres screening it in 70mm will be a very limited run nonetheless but if it means flying to said locations then its a rare film more than worth that type of effort.