PosterGate may finally be over now that BIM Distribuzine, the Italian distributor of “12 Years a Slave,” has apologized for unauthorized posters that have caused an unnecessary distraction on the film’s awards campaign trail.
The posters, which have already been recalled, highlighted well-known caucasian actors such as Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender over the film’s true star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, whose performance is expected to receive an Oscar nomination. The posters appear to diminish the African-American actor’s powerful lead role.
In a statement released Thursday, BIM Distribuzine said: “We apologize for creating and releasing unauthorized posters for ’12 Years A Slave’ in Italy featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in a manner inconsistent with approved advertising materials. All inappropriate materials have now been withdrawn. We are very proud of the film and regret any distraction this incident may have caused.”
While Fox Searchlight served as the domestic distributor of “12 Years a Slave,” it was Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment served as the international sales agent and handled Italian distribution rights, which were acquired by BIM Distribuzine.
Lionsgate vowed swift action would be taken when the unauthorized posters began causing an uproar on social media, though it’s not uncommon for A-list stars to have their roles blown out of proportion for a film’s international marketing campaign. While Fassbender has a major role in “12 Years a Slave,” Pitt’s is considerably smaller, though he also produced the movie — which may never have been made without his participation, both behind and in front of the camera.
PosterGate may have represented a slight setback en route to the Oscars for “12 Years a Slave,” but the film is just as resilient as its protagonist, so don’t expect this to affect its chances this awards season. Steve McQueen’s harrowing drama has received 16 nominations between SAG Awards, Independent Spirit Awards and the Golden Globes.
Fox Searchlight will re-release “12 Years a Slave” in select theaters beginning Jan. 17.
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