IndieWire's Kohn: “Does America Need Its Own Cannes Competition?"

IndieWire's Eric Kohn just posted a op-ed about how, he believes, the U.S. might need a Cannes-like competition festival among major filmmakers. 
This line of thinking has, of course, started because of the dispute between the prestigious festival and Netflix, over streaming laws that prevent movies from being streamed in France 36 months after initial theatrical release. 
Titled “Does America Need Its Own Cannes Competition?“, Kohn’s piece is sub-headlined “with so few American films in the world’s most prestigious festival competition, U.S. programmers explain why there’s no equivalent in North America.”
Of course, I like the idea but Kohn tends to neglect the fact that Telluride and TIFF more than make up for it in the fall. They just need to add an actual competition for awards and et voila!
I don't think NYFF would work since 85% of their lineup is Cannes-oriented and they most probably want it to stay that way. 

Telluride could, technically, work, if they stop charging press for badges and turn their lineup into an awards competition, but fat chance that happens.

I think the best bet would actually be Toronto. Choose 20-30 films for competition and just run with it. You can program the rest of the 150 or so movies in non-competitive sections. This would most definitely re-energize the fest and wash away the Post-Telluride/Venice staleness that has inflicted TIFF in recent years.

In the writeup, Kohn speaks to Sundance head John Cooper, South by Southwest co-founder Janet Pierson and Tribeca Film Festival director of programming Cara Cusumato, all three of which tell him that they have no interest in doing such a festival since their respective brands have found the right niche, identity if you will, in terms of representation for American Independent cinema.

Cannes head Femaux has repeatedly stated that no selection will ” be governed or influenced by “positive discrimination,” which clearly means that he will not be influenced by the sudden forceful rush to represent "woke" and "feminist" cinema, which has quickly become a mainstay at film festivals such as Sundance.

Cooper makes mention of the Fremaux quote and says “What is ‘positive discrimination’?” Oh, man. He goes on to say that Sundance “discuss diversity as one factor in the competition selection process”, and adds, “It comes into play, during the eleventh hour, [but] we don’t let it drive the selection. I have a very diverse staff, so I know that helps. But we let the film drive things.” 

After reading Kohn's op-ed, Jeff Wells sent the following email to Cooper:

"Excuse me but Cooper knows exactly what “positive discrimination” is. Adhering to a woke feminist, LGBTQ and diverse agenda (which has resulted in that annual Park City gathering becoming a “socialist summer camp in the snow”) is what Sundance seems to be transitioning into these days."

"It was certainly what Sundance ‘18 was about. That festival was so progressively programmed and politically “instructive” that I began to feel a vague sense of suffocation after three or four days. After five or six days I began to feel lethargic and irritable. It was almost like being in China during the Great Cultural Revolution of the mid ‘60s."

"In the ‘90s and early aughts and even until recently, Sundance was about edgy provocations, discoveries and major breakouts, and occasional grand slams that travelled all the way into Oscar season. Now it’s basically for wokers in the same way that SXSW is mainly for fantasy-genre geeks and cutting-edge defiers of cultural norms."

I wrote back to Wells and said:

"Right before Cannes announced their slate, there was so much speculation, only stateside of course, as to whether or not Fremaux would adhere to current political wokeness and feminism for his Cannes lineup. When he didn't IndieWire and co. were all up in arms about it. You can bet your bottom dollar that Telluride will adhere to the pressure with this year's lineup, lots of female and African-American filmmakers expected, just like Sundance. A "politically instructive" program as you mentioned."