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What happens if you premiere a concert doc and none of the musicians show up?

Filmmakers for 12.12.12: The Concert for Sandy Relief from left: producers Meghan O'Hara and Amir Bar-Lev and executive producers James Dolan, John Sykes and Harvey Weinstein at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival on Monday. Note the complete absence of any musicians.

Galit Rodan/The Canadian PRess

And you are?

At the barely attended press conference for the concert documentary 12.12.12., the producers of the film along with the organizers of the Hurricane Sandy relief concert arrived at about 12:14, a couple of minutes later than they intended. Because none of the musicians in the film – not Jon Bon Jovi, not the Who, not the Rolling Stones and definitely not Paul McCartney (who originally was scheduled to be here) – were involved in any TIFF promotion, there hasn't been much buzz here about the movie.

Despite the low turnout, veteran TIFF moderator Henri Behar forged ahead with the presser. He took great care presenting the three alpha-male producers of the concert, slowly reading from his notes as he introduced a couple of men he clearly wasn't familiar with, starting with Clear Channel Entertainment president John Sykes and Madison Square Garden honcho Jim Dolan. Then he got to the larger-than-life fellow in the middle of the dais. He was a film-industry giant whom Behar and everyone else in the business knows very well indeed.

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Bizarrely though, the usually unflappable Behar introduced the fiery head of the Weinstein Company as "Mr. Harvey Fierstein," which triggered an absolutely puzzled and offended expression on the face of Harvey Weinstein, who definitely isn't the famously frog-voiced playwright and actor. Laughter erupted in the near-empty room, but, after Behar's profuse apology, the press conference went ahead without further incident.

One tidbit was revealed, and it was something that might explain the missing McCartney: Apparently the Macca camp had wanted to document the concert themselves. We were told that there was some initial awkwardness at Madison Square Garden when opposing crews showed up to film the historic mega-concert. The McCartney people ultimately gave way, but perhaps did not forget. Months later, the Say Say Say singer bailed on his commitment to attend TIFF, and 12.12.12. was lacking in a name musician to create buzz for Sunday night's world premiere.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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