Friday, July 27, 2012

Why Hasn't ‘The Master' Shown Up On The Festival Circuit?

As each of the lineups have been announced for Cannes, TIFF and Venice, cinephiles have found themselves disappointed that "The Master" has yet to show up anywhere. We ran down the odds back in March using nothing but our own intuition but recently some more information has come to light which seems to change the game a bit. 

Commenter Blake pointed us to an interview with Alamo Drafthouse owner/Fantastic Fest programmer Tim League from back in 2008. The scrappy genre festival had managed to land "There Will Be Blood" when none of the prestigious festivals had. So how'd he do it? League explained,
"[Paul Thomas Anderson] doesn’t like to do traditional festivals and I assured him that if he came here he would be able to enjoy the movie; it would be with fans; and it wouldn’t be paparazzi. And it wasn’t. So he had a great time. But it wasn’t through the studio. He actually didn’t tell the studio until the day before."
We had figured this low-key approach might've been a one-off for 'Blood,' since his previous films had all done the festival circuit -- screening all over the place before their release dates -- but perhaps not. Personally we'd love to see the film with the Austin crowd, as opposed to say, a New York Film Festival one. League was coy with us when confronted with the evidence, tweeting "I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of contents of said blue cans," but signs do seem to point to a Fantastic Fest screening, whether exclusive or otherwise.

How Paul's strategy will fit in with The Weinstein Co.'s festival-centric Oscar campaigning is anybody's guess. But it will be very interesting to watch. As a Facebook commenter said, "I love the fact that P.T. is blowin' off these corporate schmooze fests. He marches to his own drummer. He will screen his movie when and where he wants." Well put, sir. Keep in mind this is just a little speculating on our part and it's still possible the film could show up at any one of the aforementioned festivals (as well as Telluride or NYFF) as a surprise or scheduled screening. We'll just have to wait and see.

FYI, we're a lot more active on Twitter than Facebook so if you like your news up-to-the-moment, that's where you want to be.


  1. The major difference is this: Harvey Weinstein. He always has a plan. And there is one in place. We're just not privy to it yet. Remember this is a man who is Oscar-nutso. I will bet you anything, the plan is not the same as TWBB which was Paramount, not TWC.

  2. Well TWBB passed up all the major festivals and still managed to get nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and win Best Actor for Daniel Day. So I bet Harvey has an alternate plan as far as getting this thing Oscar nods.

  3. Guys, I remember you that "There Will be Blood" went to Belirn Film Festival and won Best Director and Best Artistic Achievement (Music).So Paul surely doesn't hate the Berlin Film Festival, that couldn't be called a small festival ...

  4. I don't think we said that we thought Paul "hated" any of the festivals, I'm sure he doesn't. Berlin is a different breed simply because it comes after the traditional Fall festivals and the U.S. release dates, so it takes the pressures off a big "premiere."

    1. Yeah, I agree with you. I was responding to Eddie From Torrance about the fact that "Paul passed up all the major festivals" with TWBB. And for me, despite everything, Berlin is a major festival.
      Thank you for the news about the new date release of "The Master"!

  5. I will be at TFF and was wondering what you guys think the chances are of "The Master" showing up?

  6. Thanks for the shout out and glad you shared this context! TWBB played Berlin and they jetted off to London immediately after. Berlin is one of the biggest film fests in the world. Just a massive fest. That said it certainly didn't have a normal fest run which everyone said would hurt it but we know that not to be the case. I'll never forget us all at one party there w/ PT, Paul D., etc in a group chatting and we realized it had gotten really quiet in the party and turned to look back and the entire room of hundreds were staring at us. Weinstein's prefer big fests as part of their release strategies and love Venice and especially TIFF. I think we'll hear more when the print is finally locked down and then decisions can be made.