Toronto Film Festival Suspends Participation From Russia-Sponsored Groups, But Welcomes Indie Filmmakers

The Toronto Film Festival said Thursday that it will suspend participation by film organizations and media outlets supported by the Russian state for its next festival, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But it said that it “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 fest also said in a statement that it is banning Russian cultural ambassadors and delegations.

The next TIFF is set to run September 8-18.

The news comes as the film and TV industries worldwide galvanize support for Ukraine as the invasion by its neighbor intensifies after beginning last week. The Cannes Film Festival and Venice Film Festival have made similar declarations about supporting Russian and Ukrainian filmmakers at their 2022 events.

“TIFF stands against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the declaration of war this signifies,” the festival said today. “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.”

The statement continued:

“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.

“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.

“As we do this, we will seek to amplify the voices of Ukrainian and independent Russian filmmakers who continue to illuminate our understanding of conflict in the region. Alongside our international colleagues in the film world, our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and the many Ukrainian artists and film professionals who have travelled to TIFF over the years.”

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