TV Is Not the New Film, But It’s OK That Festivals Are Blurring the Lines

HEROES REBORN -- "Awakening" Episode 101 -- Pictured: Kiki Sukezane as Miko Otomo -- (Photo by: Christos Kalohoridis/NBC)

With Toronto the latest sprocket opera to add episodic programming to its lineup, our critics revisit the old film-vs.-TV debate.

PETER DEBRUGE: Looks like Toronto is the latest film festival to add a television section to its lineup. These days, everywhere from Sundance to SXSW to the Canadian “festival of festivals,” smallscreen content is getting a big push, which is intriguing — and even ironic — for all sorts of reasons (ironic because the state of distribution being what it is, many of the films in Toronto will end up trickling down to VOD, rather than ever getting a commercial theatrical run). On one hand, the trend isn’t exactly new: Classy longform features like “Carlos” (which premiered at Cannes in 2010), “Top of the Lake” (Sundance 2013) and “Olive Kitteridge” (Venice 2014) made their bows at top-tier film fests before going on to air as miniseries on Canal Plus, BBC Two and HBO, respectively.

“There are many, after all, who have argued that the traditional line separating TV and cinema has ceased to exist for some time now, and that the ongoing creative renaissance in television largely puts all but the very best new movies to shame.” 

But Toronto’s Primetime program — like SXSW’s Episodics, which launched last year — represents something different: Rather than expanding the definition of “film” to include projects that were “made for TV” (such as Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace biopic, “Behind the Candelabra”), festivals are carving out dedicated sidebars to celebrate this competing medium. Since its invention, television has been luring eyes away from the cinema. And now, at Toronto, audiences can go watch an episodic series pilot on the bigscreen, after which they’ll have to patiently wait until the series arrives on TV to see what happens next.

[Read the full story here, at Variety]

JUSTIN CHANG: As someone who makes too little time for television even outside the film-festival circuit, I confess that the addition of Toronto’s Primetime slate (which, full disclosure, was curated by our mutual friend Michael Lerman) will have little bearing on my schedule this September — or yours, Peter, given that our assignment in Toronto will be to see and review as much in the way of new cinema as we possibly can.  Read the rest of this entry »


Suge Knight Arrested in Fatal Hit-and-Run

Suge-Knight

Terrence McCoy and J. Freedom du Lac report; Rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight has been arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of a man in Compton, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.

“Looks like he drove backwards and struck the victims and drove forwards and struck them again. The people we talked to say it looked like it was an intentional act.”

— Lt. John Corina, sheriff’s office spokesman

A spokesman said late Thursday that it appeared Knight, the notorious Death Row Records founder, had run over two men with his truck after an argument on a movie set. One was killed; the other was injured. Authorities have not yet identified the victims, though the sheriff’s department said both men were in their 50s and that at least one was a member of the film crew.

“Looks like he drove backwards and struck the victims and drove forwards and struck them again,” Lt. John Corina, a sheriff’s office spokesman, told reporters. “The people we talked to say it looked like it was an intentional act.”

Authorities said Knight left the scene following the afternoon incident but turned himself in early Friday morning in West Hollywood. He was arrested a short while later and is being held on $2 million bail, according to the sheriff’s office.

This image from video shows Suge Knight arriving at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department West Hollywood station. (OnSceneVideo via AP Television)

This image from video shows Suge Knight arriving at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department West Hollywood station. (OnSceneVideo via AP Television)

The incident reportedly occurred following a dispute on the set of a movie called “Straight Outta Compton,” about the rise and fall of N.W.A., the pioneering rap group that included Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E.

“Mr. Knight was attacked by a group of men while he was in his vehicle. They were beating him, threatening to kill him and attempting to drag him outside of the vehicle. He made an effort to escape, he was in fear for his life. And that’s exactly what he did…He was the victim, he was not the aggressor.”

— Knight’s attorney James Blatt

Knight’s attorney acknowledged that his client ran over two people while driving a red pickup truck in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant in Compton. But, he said, it was an accident.

The attorney, James Blatt, told the Los Angeles Times that the man killed was Terry Carter, a friend of Knight’s. The second victim, who suffered injuries, was actor Cle “Bone” Sloan, Blatt told the Times.

Tupac Shakur, left, and Suge Knight, one month before Shakur’s 1996 death. (Frank Wiese/AP file)

Tupac Shakur, left, and Suge Knight, one month before Shakur’s 1996 death. (Frank Wiese/AP file)

Blatt told the Times that Carter was trying to break up a fight between Knight and others when he was run over — and that Knight “had no knowledge whatsoever he ran over anyone.”

“Mr. Knight was attacked by a group of men while he was in his vehicle,” Blatt said, according to the Times. “They were beating him, threatening to kill him and attempting to drag him outside of the vehicle. He made an effort to escape, he was in fear for his life. And that’s exactly what he did.”

The attorney said he expects Knight to be exonerated.

“He was the victim, he was not the aggressor,” Blatt said, according to the Times.

The incident in question occurred Thursday afternoon at Tam’s Burgers in Compton. Homicide detectives were dispatched to the scene to investigate a fatal hit-and-run accident, according a sheriff’s office news release. Read the rest of this entry »