Toronto Film Fest to Tackle Trump-Era Moviemaking, Hollywood Gender Gap

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TIFF's official industry conference will debate the impact of the U.S. president's Muslim travel ban on U.S. award shows and festival premieres.

The Trump administration's Muslim travel ban and upcoming NAFTA talks with Canada and Mexico are set to dominate the Toronto Film Festival.

Fest organizers on Wednesday said their official mid-September industry conference will feature a panel of film producers and lawyers debating the impact of President Donald Trump's scaled-back travel ban on global filmmaking. The ban's visa policies mostly impact citizens from six Muslim-majority countries.

But Iranian director Asghar Farhadi earning an Oscar for The Salesman in the best foreign-language film competition, while boycotting the Academy Awards, has raised concerns about global filmmakers being blocked from attending U.S. award shows or festival premieres.

The revised ban's continued focus on Muslim-majority countries also has drawn criticism from Hollywood stars.

As Toronto unveiled an early glimpse of its industry conference, the six-day event also will feature lawyers and producers discussing the impact of travel and trade restrictions on cross-border film production, especially Canada-U.S. screen co-ventures, as the Trump administration launches new talks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

"We are using the conference's international platform to focus on topics that are top-of-mind for attendees," Kathleen Drumm, director of TIFF Industry, said in a statement. The Sept. 8 to 13 conference, part of the wider Sept. 7 to 17 festival, also will include keynotes by Dallas Buyers Club producer Cassian Elwes and Swedish Film Institute CEO Anne Serner discussing possible solutions to close Hollywood's gender gap.

Toronto also has booked a keynote with unnamed execs from U.K. producer Working Title Films, maker of indie hits like Baby Driver, Les Miserables and the Bridget Jones trilogy.

TIFF's ninth annual Doc Conference is set for Sept. 12, with speakers to be announced in August.

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