Later this month, the New York Asian Film Festival will kick off, featuring films like I'm a Cyborg But That's OK, Retribution, and Bodyguard 2. In a move of cross-media synergy, Midway Games was set to sponsor the festival as a way of promoting its upcoming Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC game Stranglehold, a pseudosequel to Chow Yun Fat and John Woo's seminal Hong Kong action flick Hard Boiled. Early media coverage of the festival said it would include a 15th anniversary screening of the film, but it is not listed on the official site's confirmed lineup.
But with mere weeks to go before the film festival's opening, the relationship between the publisher and the promoter has had a falling out of sorts. As covered over the weekend by indie film news site Twitch, festival representatives have issued a statement about the falling out. The organizers said that Midway had pulled out of the festival entirely, and they only found out about the publisher's decision when Midway representatives no-showed an appointment to measure one of the filmfest theater's lobbies to plan placement of Stranglehold demo kiosks.
"The damage has been devastating," the statement read. "We had been working on press releases with their publicity department, organizing parties to their specifications, and promoting their game with our good name. We had expanded the festival, paid higher fees for movies, brought in out-of-town guests, and were planning a number of events to be paid for with the money we had been told was coming from Midway. Now we don't even have a quarter left in the bank to soothe our woes with a game of Tron."
Film festival spokesperson Grady Hendrix told GameSpot that in hindsight, the organizers should have handled the situation differently.
"Looking at this situation, we absolutely should have been better businessmen about it," Hendrix said, "but I guess we just trusted Midway more than we should have, and they really did seem like active and excited partners in the festival, and we really wanted to make this relationship work. When they delayed and said they needed more time for their legal department to prepare the full contract, we gave them the benefit of the doubt and accepted their verbal and e-mailed commitment that they were entirely on board for the festival."
The original statement reassured fans that the festival would go on, but that Midway and Stranglehold were no longer associated with it "in any way, shape, or form." However, Midway's own comment on the matter suggests otherwise.
"Regrettably, Midway is not able to be the title sponsor of the New York Asian Film Festival because Stranglehold's development schedule did not allow time to attend," a representative told GameSpot. "However, Midway still plans to be an event sponsor."
As of press time, a representative with the film festival had not responded to GameSpot's inquiry on Midway's current sponsor status or the fate of the Hard Boiled screening.