Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA) President Michael Schatzman has confirmed that he is not going to be joining the committee that is running the screening of the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.
The panel is made up of industry professionals, including representatives from the Toronto Film Development Corp., Toronto Film Corporation, Toronto International International Film Festivals, and Toronto International Festival of the Arts.
Schatzmen’s inclusion on the panel was confirmed by a letter dated Feb. 15, 2017, from the chairperson of the committee, Mariam Alkhouri.
In the letter, Alkhoura states that her office has been contacted by representatives of several major production companies, which have expressed interest in supporting the Toronto International festival.
“While the committee has the right to nominate individuals, the decision on the inclusion of Mr. Schulzman is ultimately his,” the letter states.
“He has not participated in any committee deliberations.”
A spokesperson for Toronto Film Corp. said Schatzmans involvement with the committee was not his decision.
“Mr. Schutzman has always been supportive of the festival and its diverse programming,” the spokesperson said in an email to The Globe and Mail.
“This includes the selection of selected films.
He has been actively involved with the festival since the early days.”
The film festival is currently being run by the Toronto Screenwriter’s Guild.
It is being co-managed by the film-production industry group the Screenwriters Guild of Canada.
The TFCA is not alone in its displeasure with Schatzmann’s inclusion.
TFCG Executive Director Jim Wilson told The Globe that his union is opposed to the inclusion.
“We’re disappointed that he’s been included in the panel,” Wilson said.
“The TFFC and its members are trying to protect the festival as it moves forward and I don’t think the film festival community, or any other group that represents the artistic community, is in the best position to make that call.”
Schatzman is one of the leading critics and filmmakers in the film industry.
He was the founding editor of the Film Critics Guild’s Guide to Cinema.
He has been involved with film festivals for decades and has written for the Canadian Cinema Institute, the Canadian Film Journalists Association, and the Toronto Review of Books.
He is currently the director of the Centre for Cinematic Studies at the University of Toronto.
Actors and writers who have collaborated with Schulzmans include Tom Hanks, Tom Hiddleston, and Tom Hardy.
His work has been shown in over 60 countries.
He recently wrote an essay for The New York Times, in which he says he’s looking forward to spending more time with his family.
“The best thing to do would be to keep it short and sweet,” Schatzeman said in a press release.
“I think there’s a lot of really good films that are just sitting on the shelf.”