Well, this is awkward: Snow warning at TIFF?
This could get ugly. My colleague Martin Knelman reported last week that Michael Snow, Canada's eminence grise of conceptual film, had sued the developers behind the construction of TIFF's Lightbox (and, ahem, condo tower) for breach of contract over a work he says was commissioned for the building. The developers, Daniels Corp., have replied they have no such contract with Snow (Snow's lawyer acknowledges there's nothing in writing, though he argues an "exchange of considerations" is legally binding.")
Slightly old news, perhaps, but when you think about it, it's a wily bit of PR on the part of the Snow Camp. Here on the eve of TIFF -- whatever the truth of the dispute -- it's fantastically bad timing to have quite possibly Canada's best-known international artist -- and one revered by much of the global film community set to descend on the brand-new Lightbox next week -- in a very public row over potential mistreatment of his iconic work.
Add in that the skirmish is stationed on the doorstep of our very own, brand-new temple of film -- Snow's piece, "Tower of Film," was intended as a monument to a medium rapidly being replaced by digital technology -- and it gets uglier still. TIFF is unfortunately caught in the middle of this -- they have nothing to do with the dispute -- but it's hard to imagine Snow feeling much like hanging out in a building that symbolizes a monumental snub. That might make October's scheduled showing of a new print of his iconic film, Wavelength, at the Lightbox a little awkward, though TIFF confirms Snow will honour the commitment.