Private screenings ramp up, including IM Global’s hot Venice premiere Locke.

US buyers were in pursuit of Tom Hardy starrer Locke heading into a packed weekend of screenings punctuated by a high volume of private events.

To the bewilderment of some, Locke has not landed an official Toronto slot despite earning rave reviews in Venice, but that has not stopped IM Global and CAA from staging four private screenings over the coming days.

The first took place on Friday morning and proved a hot ticket as dozens of acquisitions executives were shut out of TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 7.

ICM Partners showed a trailer from its Nina Simone film, Nina, while Voltage Pictures screened Terry Gilliam’s Venice selection The Zero Theorem.

The volume of private screenings is a new development in Toronto as sales agents leverage events to overcome scheduling hurdles and win hearts and minds.

Today (7) CAA screens Felony ahead of Tuesday’s world premiere (The Solution Entertainment Group represents international sales) as well as Matt Weiner’s You Are Here and Hyde Park International and CAA screen festival closing night film Life Of Crime, fully aware that many buyers will have left by the time the Jennifer Anniston caper premieres on Sept 14.

On Saturday IM Global chief Stuart Ford has scheduled a 5.30pm screening of the Justin Bieber concert film-documentary Believe and has recruited a young audience of female fans. Ford would not be drawn on whether Bieber himself would make an appearance.

Press and industry screenings and world premieres of acquisition titles this weekend include Horns, Hateship Loveship, The Railway Man, Bad Words and The Last Of Robin Hood on Friday night.

Among Saturday’s offerings are Supermensch, Can A Song Save Your Life?, The Double, Words And Pictures, The Green Inferno, The F Word and Fading Gigolo.

Sunday brings Devil’s Knot, Oculus, Enemy, The Sacrament, All The Wrong Reasons and Night Moves.