IFFR 2011 gets strategically repositioned (screwed) out of its closing film

Associate Editor, Features; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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IFFR 2011 gets strategically repositioned (screwed) out of its closing film
Now here is some completely baffling news, and if there is anyone out there who can explain the "WHY" to me I'd be very grateful.

The much lauded historical drama "The King's Speech" was supposed to have closed the International Film Festival Rotterdam in just over two weeks, but the film has now been pulled from the schedule by its distributor.

Ok, well... shit happens. Nothing particularly new here, I thought. Last-minute-changes are par for the course with a big film festival.
Films sometimes aren't ready for screening yet, or can get a much more glamorous premiere elsewhere (cough Berlin cough). And in a few months this particular movie will go in general release outside of the festival anyway so as an audience member I don't feel too wronged about this.

But it's a bit odd to suddenly remove a film which has been shown all over the world already and has been given the honor of closing this year's festival.

So why was this film pulled?
According to the distributor, it's because of something called "strategic repositioning". Aye?

Quoting the IFFR pressdesk:
The Dutch distributor of the film, Paradiso Filmed Entertainment, was not allowed to screen the film as IFFR Closing Night Film 2011 due to the publicity campaigns in the BAFTA and Oscar Awards season. Dirk de Lille, Senior Consultant of Paradiso Filmed Entertainment Benelux: "As Dutch distributor of The King's Speech, we regret the producer's decision to withdraw the film from important film festivals for reasons of strategic repositioning. This was caused by the recent Golden Globe success and the expected BAFTA and Oscar awards for The King's Speech. For this reason, no further festival screenings of The King's Speech are allowed." The IFFR is looking for a replacement Closing Night Film.

So, wait... what?
A showing at IFFR would diminish this film's chances of winning BAFTAs or Oscars?
Can anyone explain to me how this works?

And you can read the original article here at the IFFR webpage:
The Original Article
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Rodney PerkinsJanuary 21, 2011 11:57 AM

Today, Berlinale announced The King's Speech as a "Gala Screening" so you can draw your own conclusions.

koay.allanJanuary 21, 2011 12:37 PM

unfortunately this is the way the festival circuit works. those lower in the food chain would just have to live with it.

evokativeJanuary 21, 2011 12:39 PM

I already found it ridiculous that Rotterdam would close with a film that's played in so many fests already and has been in general release in many countries. You'd think a closing film should be some sort of good premiere. Same goes with the Berlin gala screening.

Ard VijnJanuary 21, 2011 2:23 PM

And to top things off, there seems to be some disagreement about the opening film as well...