Film critic Alex Billington couldn’t bear sitting through a press screening at the Toronto International Film Festival while a nearby audience member blatantly emailed and texted throughout Ti West’s horror flick, The Sacrament. The cinematic faux paus irritated Billington so much that after complaining to theater managers proved unsuccessful, he called the police.
“I’m trying to watch your film but guy in front row keeps using phone and theater tells me he is allowed. Ruining the experience,” the blogger tweeted to director Ti West on Monday. Billington, who runs the movie site FirstShowing.net, says he also thought the offender was illegally recording the film. “I saw what I thought might be piracy. I care about film and anti-piracy. I left the theater, called it in,” he tweeted. He told the Los Angeles Times, “I cannot believe that TIFF is allowing this disregard for the integrity of cinema and letting disgusting industry ruin experiences.”
Billington admitted to the Times on Tuesday that calling emergency services was a bit of an overreaction. “Calling 911 is something I realize was a mistake,” Billington said. “But … the issue is cellphone use. It’s a rampant problem.”