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The Toronto Film Festival has announced a partial boycott of the Russian film industry while expressing solidarity with the people of Ukraine after the country was invaded last week.
TIFF organizers said they would welcome indie Russian filmmakers to this year’s festival but ban official Russian delegations. “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,” the festival said in a statement on Thursday.
Festival organizers stopped short of banning individual Russian films — many of which have government financing — from its official selection each September or 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 statement continued.
TIFF will ban contact with official Russian film industry delegations as it joins other major film festivals standing in solidarity with Ukraine. “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 added.
Toronto fest 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 the global film and TV industry in support of Ukraine, with companies increasingly sanctioning Russia in the wake of the invasion. Cannes said it would not welcome any Russian delegations or anyone connected to the Russian government to its 2022 edition in May.
Venice said it would ban Russian delegations from its 2022 event but would not stop independent Russian filmmakers from attending. Elsewhere, Disney, Sony, Warner Bros. and Paramount have pulled or paused planned theatrical releases in the country. The Stockholm and Glasgow film festivals are also boycotting Russian state-backed films from their programs.
The International television market MIPTV condemned the Russian invasion, saying that it would follow French sanctions, a move likely to mean there will be little to no Russian presence at the Cannes TV market.
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