Netflix to invest in TIFF to support Canadian filmmakers

TIFF has screened many of Netflix's films in recent years

Netflix has committed to a three-year investment in the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) as part of a larger goal to support Canadian filmmakers.

Specifically, Netflix will invest in TIFF’s Talent Accelerator program, which offers subsidies to six female filmmakers to give them access to TIFF’s industry programs and events.

Further, Netflix has pledged a broader investment into several of TIFF’s industry programming and participants, including the TIFF Filmmaker Lab. Taking place during the festival, the Lab is intended to bring together emerging filmmaking talent from around the world and help them learn from and support one another.

Additionally, Netflix says it’s working with TIFF to develop three events specifically aimed towards the professional development of Canadian film industry creators.

“Netflix’s agreement to support both the Festival and TIFF’s year-round work with the Canadian film industry signals a meaningful commitment,” said Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente, TIFF co-heads, in a press statement. “TIFF Industry is dedicated to developing filmmaking talent and these resources will be directed towards expanding our efforts towards gender parity, under-represented voices in cinema and championing the very best in Canadian film.”

“New voices are important to the future of film, and we share TIFF’s confidence in the emerging talent coming out of Canada,” added Scott Stuber, head of film at Netflix. “This investment will help TIFF increase representation in the industry, and expand opportunities for these filmmakers that will allow them to deepen their craft and advance their projects.”

Not everyone has welcomed Netflix into Canada. During this year’s TIFF, Cineplex refused to screen the streaming company’s films at its Scotiabank Theatre — one of the festival’s main venues. Instead, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video films were required to be played at other theatres.

In a statement to Indiewire, Cineplex said at the time that it would only “feature titles from studios who understand and appreciate the importance of the theatrical release model.”

Nonetheless, Netflix and TIFF have maintained a strong relationship, with the streaming giant highlighting many of its recent movies at the festival. In 2018, the streaming giant screened eight films at the festival, including, most notably, Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, which went on to win three Oscars.

This year, the company showed off several more films, including the acclaimed Eddie Murphy-starring Dolemite is My Name and the Adam Driver-Scarlett Johansson drama Marriage Story, with the latter winning the runner-up People’s Choice Award.