• John Wilkes Booth making his surprise cameo in “Our American Cousin.”

This Civil War drama got a big push last Thursday, the opening day of the Toronto film festival, when the New York Times published a story noting the irony of its director, Robert Redford, coming to town with hat in hand to look for a distribution deal. “The fact that Mr. Redford, a studio war horse, will arrive here with a picture for sale,” wrote Michael Cieply, “suggests the extent to which even the most influential of directors and stars have become dependent on the festival circuit as a showcase for dramas and biographies that are sometimes tolerated, but seldom hotly pursued, in contemporary Hollywood.”

“I’m just like any independent filmmaker,” the director told Cieply, though the next few days proved that, even in 2010, it’s good to be Robert Redford. The festival had originally scheduled press-and-industry screenings of The Conspirator on Monday and Tuesday, but sometime over the weekend a third screening was announced for Sunday night, inside the Thursday-through-Sunday window when most of the big media are in town. Once the weekend was over, the Monday screening was abruptly canceled, to the vocal annoyance of more than one attendee.