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Toronto International Film Festival Will Program Russian Independent Movies But Ban Official Delegations

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will partially boycott the Russian movie industry throughout its programming this year after the country invaded Ukraine last week. TIFF is the latest major film festival to express solidarity with Ukraine following the attacks by Russian forces, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

TIFF organizers said they will welcome independent Russian filmmakers to, but ban official Russian delegations from attending, the Canadian festival’s events. “TIFF stands against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the declaration of war this signifies. We hope for a swift return to peace and stability in the region, and we extend our support to the people of Ukraine and those within Russia who stand against these attacks,” TIFF said in a statement it released today.

Organizers from TIFF won’t include movies that receive financing from the Russian government in its official festival selection in September and its year-round programming. “As an arts organization dedicated to transforming the way people see the world through film, we support artists and their freedom of expression. TIFF will continue to include films from independent Russian filmmakers in our programming at the Toronto International Film Festival and year-round at TIFF Bell Lightbox,” the announcement also noted.

The statement from TIFF’s organizers also shared the news that it will ban all contact with official Russian film industry delegations: “TIFF will suspend participation by film organizations and media outlets supported by the Russian state, as well as Russian cultural ambassadors and delegations related to our festival,” the organization revealed.

Toronto festival organizers added they will “amplify the voices of Ukrainian and independent Russian filmmakers who continue to illuminate our understanding of conflict in the region.”

That response follows a series of swift actions from international movie and television industries in support of Ukraine, with companies increasingly sanctioning Russia in the wake of the invasion. Disney, Sony, Warner Bros. and Paramount have cancelled or paused the planned theatrical releases of their films in Russia.

Like TIFF, Cannes officials also won’t welcome any Russian delegations or anyone connected to the Russian government to its edition this year, which will run in May. Venice organizers will also ban Russian delegations from its event this year, but won’t stop independent Russian filmmakers from attending its event in September.

The Glasgow and Stockholm Film Festivals are also boycotting Russian state-backed features from their programs; the Glasgow Film Festival is currently running until March 13, and the Stockholm Film Festival will be held in November.

Check out more of Karen Benardello’s articles.

Karen Benardello
Karen Benardellohttps://cinemadailyus.com
As a life-long fan of films and television shows, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic in 2008. Karen has since been working in the press in New York City, including interviewing film and television casts and crews, writing movie and television news articles and reviewing films and televisions series. Some of her highlights include attending such local events as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and New York Comic-Con, as well as traveling across North America to attend such festivals as the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and the Toronto International Film Festival. She has been a member of the Women Film Critics Circle since 2012, and the New York Film Critics Online since 2019.


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