Add airline reps to the list of movers and shakers gathering at the Toronto International Film Festival this week in search of the next blockbuster.
Improved in-flight technology is turning many commercial jets into virtual multiplexes in the sky, offering passengers an ever-expanding digital library of what's hot.
Those behind Air Canada's new seatback system - set to be fleetwide by the end of next year - are touting an on-demand service that can cater to more unconventional tastes.
That has reps making regular visits to all the world's film expos, with airline scouts rubbing shoulders with producers and distributors at Cannes, Sundance and Berlin, says one in-flight entertainment company.
"People want to see what's playing in the theatre and what all the buzz is about," says Katrin Kopvillem of Spafax Inc., whose London company represents more than 60 airlines, including Air Canada. Spafax will send two scouts to TIFF.
Overall, film on flights has become more risque, notes Peter George of the L.A.-based company Jaguar Distribution, which specializes in securing airline rights.
"In the old days, when it was ... one movie per aircraft, any airline had to be very judicious with what they chose because it couldn't offend anyone, it couldn't be violent or have sex," says George.
Last year, Air Canada walked away from TIFF with Brokeback Mountain, Thank You for Smoking and C.R.A.Z.Y.
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