OPEN TO HIS FILMING AT FEST, SEEING POTENTIAL TOWARD DIALOGUE ABOUT CHANGE IN THE INDUSTRY
The Toronto Star's Peter Howell interviewed Cameron Bailey, artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, the other day. Bailey tells Howell that TIFF has been following the news of Brian De Palma's Predator on Twitter, and that while he hasn't yet been approached about the film being shot at the festival, they are "following it as we read Twitter," and are open to the possibility. Here's more from Howell's article:
Is Brian De Palma really going to make a Harvey Weinstein-inspired horror movie and set it at the Toronto International Film Festival? If so, it could help serve as a reminder of the need to fight sexual harassment and to empower women, says TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey.
“It reminds us of just the real importance and the urgency of making a change in the film industry when it comes to gender parity,” Bailey told the Star.
Online reports this week, drawing from interviews De Palma is doing while on a European book tour, say the writer/director plans to make a horror film called Predator in Toronto based on the alleged sex crimes of disgraced producer Weinstein.
The film, to be produced by the same people who made Paul Verhoeven’s controversial rape-reckoning film Elle, would potentially use TIFF as a backdrop for the title predator’s crimes. Weinstein, who this week pleaded not guilty to multiple rape and criminal sex act charges in New York, is alleged to have used film festivals — including TIFF, Cannes and Sundance — as his hunting grounds to abuse women.
Bailey, who will become TIFF’s co-head on Oct. 1, said he hasn’t yet been approached about the film by Hollywood veteran De Palma, whose previous movies include Carrie, Dressed to Kill and Mission: Impossible.
He said TIFF is “following it as we read Twitter” and it’s too soon to say whether the festival would allow De Palma, 77, to use its TIFF Bell Lightbox headquarters and other facilities for a movie shoot, the way Cannes did when the American filmmaker used the French festival for multiple scenes in his 2002 thriller Femme Fatale.
Added Bailey: “I think we’d probably wait to see where this project goes and what it asks of us, but for us, really, what it raises is just the kind of harassment that had been happening throughout the industry, including at film festivals over the years, and how important it is to get women into more positions of power in the industry, telling their own stories. We’ve been doing a lot of that here, by Share Her Journey and other things.”
De Palma has been a familiar face at TIFF for decades. He most recently visited the festival in 2016, where he served as one of the three jury members of the Platform program, a mini-competition within the festival to select the best of new and challenging world cinema.
“Brian’s been at the festival many times and we think he’s a great filmmaker,” Bailey said. “This project (Predator) is something that I think we just need to see what happens with it.”