“The Judge” director David Dobkin kicked off the premiere of the legal drama at the opening night of the Toronto Film Festival by voicing support for the organization’s decision to limit the first four days of screenings to films that premiered at the gathering.
The move last January was seen as a shot across the bow of the Telluride Film Festival, which wrapped up last week, and has developed a reputation for attracting serious awards contenders. This year the festival fielded Jon Stewart’s directorial debut “Rosewater” and the Reese Witherspoon drama “Wild,” among other heavy hitters. In response to potential double dippers, Toronto has decided not to exhibit films shown at other North American festivals during its initial days.
“What you did was right,” said Dobkin from the stage at the Roy Thomson Hall shortly before his movie began unspooling. “When it’s a world premiere, it’s a world premiere.”
“The Judge” stars Robert Downey Jr. as a jaded lawyer forced to reconcile with his taciturn father (Robert Duvall) in order to defend him against a murder charge.
Dobkin praised Warner Bros. for taking a chance on the drama.
“Few studios are committed to telling stories big or small the way these people are,” he said.