Journalist pay a price to cover festival

Covering a film festival can be hectic at the best of times for international media.

Added to the pressures of early morning screenings, packed press conferences and the scramble to get access to film talent, some journalists are now being asked to pay out of their own pocket for junket slots.

Typically, sales agents and distributors share the costs for staging a junket at a film fest. In some instances, however, particularly with distributors in smaller territories, those costs are being passed on to the journos.

With Werner Herzog’s “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done,” which played as the surprise film at Venice, some journos were being asked to fork over $1,500 for an interview with the film’s star, Michael Shannon.

“This doesn’t usually happen, but when you’re dealing with some of the smaller territories such as in East Europe, those costs do get passed on,” said one publicist. “It’s just the way things work. It’s not a negative thing. It’s the only way the economics work. It’s a very expensive operation to bring in talent.”

While this has been a recurring gripe for some journos — in 2007 one irate reporter famously asked a bemused Quentin Tarantino if he knew about the practice during the Cannes confab for “Death Proof” — an increasing number are reconciling themselves to it.

“We need these interviews and it’s the only way to get them,” said one journo on the Lido. “It’s really a question of who we’re getting. I’m not sure about $1,500 to interview Michael Shannon but I’d happily pay $5,000 to get a slot with Brad Pitt.”

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