Toronto Film Festival Loses Major Sponsor Bell – The Hollywood Reporter

Canadian telephone giant Bell, title sponsor of the Toronto Film Festival since 1995 and its name on the event’s Bell Lightbox site year-round, is set to walk the red carpet of the iconic event with its flashing lights and A-list following the upcoming 48th edition.

“Earlier this year, we determined that the end of 2023 would be a good time to step back from our partnership with TIFF and chose not to renew our sponsorship in order to invest in other opportunities that are core to our business,” a spokesperson for Bill Ellen Murphy said. Hollywood Reporter In a statement on Saturday.

Representatives for TIFF were not available for comment, as the phone and media giant confirmed it would end financial ties with the film festival after 28 years, which included two years of pandemic disruption with watered-down digital releases in 2020 and 2021 and another difficult year with the impact of ongoing Hollywood actors and writers’ strikes.

Ma Bell’s Canadian cousin — who will remain the official red carpet media sponsor at Roy Thomson Hall, host gala performances twice a night at TIFF, and whose logo will be plastered Sept. 7-17 — hangs out in Toronto next year. Festival organizers have followed in recent years. Increasingly embracing Netflix, the main competitor in Canada to the phone giant’s streaming platform Crave.

The American video giant, in embracing TIFF, succeeded in placing the titles of its films at the launch pad of the Hollywood Awards season every September.

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This year, Netflix is ​​bringing the world premiere of Grant Singer’s reptiles and David Yates pain hustlers, Starring Emily Blunt and Chris Evans, plus international premieres in Toronto naiadDirected by Chloe Dumont, directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarheli and Jimmy Chen fair play, and George C. Wolfe rustin, Starring Colman Domingo, ahead of fall releases mostly on streaming device worldwide.

Last year, a feud between the US streaming giant and local streaming platform Crave, and Canadian movie theater chain Cineplex, another TIFF sponsor, exploded into the open when Toronto booked Sally El Husseini’s show. bathers as the opening night movie for its first release “business as usual” before it debuts on Netflix.

In 2019, Cineplex banned Netflix and Amazon movie titles from the Scotiabank Theatre, which also serves as a traditional viewing venue for journalism and industry each September, forcing TIFF to shift those industry offerings to the Bell Lightbox.

Also that year, Netflix signed a three-year deal to invest in TIFF’s year-round filmmaking program, including financial support for emerging local filmmakers and the festival’s annual September Forum.

This Netflix investment originally came from a $25 million fund agreed with the Canadian government in 2017 to develop local content creators, particularly from the female, Indigenous, Francophone, and LGBTQ+ communities.

Toronto welcomes Netflix to its annual festival in September and to be part of its year-round programming, which contrasts with Cannes and other European film festivals that have kept the US streaming giant at arm’s length by disrupting traditional distribution models for local cinema, including movie theatres. . .

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TIFF instead seemed to be agnostic about where the titles of their lineup originate or end with after the festival. But this situation has generated local opposition to Netflix. Cineplex representatives declined to comment on the latest behind-the-scenes dealings of the major sponsors in Toronto.

As the primary sponsor, Bell leveraged its financial relationship with TIFF, which is understood to be around $5 million annually. As it looks to sign up new mobile subscribers and Crave Streaming, Bell has set up live installations and an interactive Canadian film unit in David Pecaut Square, just off King Street, where traffic was closed under the festival’s Bell Lightbox headquarters for the opening weekend.

Bell has provided extensive broadcast coverage of TIFF on its linear television channels, programs such as the CTV entertainment series eTALK and E!, broadcast live outside the Princess of Wales Theatre, and news outlets such as Canada AM, CTV News and CP24. .

After Bell ends its sponsorship ties with TIFF, the festival will rely on other major financial backers, including Cineplex, RBC, Visa and Italian luxury brand Bulgari through the upcoming 2023 edition as Hollywood strikes are expected to significantly reduce the number of American celebrities. her red carpet.

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