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Toronto Film Fest Will Welcome Independent Russian Filmmakers but Ban Delegations and State Supporters

TIFF is the latest festival to weigh in amid the invasion of Ukraine.

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, file photo, a view of a festival sign appears on Day 1 of the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto.  Organizers announced Tuesday, July 20, 2021, that among the films that premiere at this year’s TIFF will be the adaptation of the Tony-winner “Dear Evan Hansen,” which will open the festival, Edgar Wright’s ’60s London themed “Last Night in Soho,” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” TIFF runs Sept. 9-18.  (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

TIFF sign in Toronto

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has joined the chorus of festivals and international arts organizations to establish its policies toward Russia amid Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. And like Cannes and Venice before them, TIFF organizers are banning Russian delegations from attending or participating, but will not ban Russian films and filmmakers outright — other than those who support the current regime.

Below is the statement that representatives of the Toronto International Film Festival shared with media on Thursday.

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.

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 traveled to TIFF over the years.

The statement arrives as major studios have all pulled their films from release in Russia, and the European Film Academy has been Russian films entirely from consideration for the end-of-2022 European Film Awards. Netflix has also paused all Russian productions and acquisitions as the industry continues to assess the situation.

After two consecutive years of a mostly virtual event, TIFF is resuming in-person festivities this coming fall. The festival is set to take place September 8–18, TIFF representatives announced February 24. For its 47th edition, Toronto will feature 11 days of screenings and events.

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