Netflix partners with TIFF Industry programs designed to foster new filmmakers

TORONTO — Netflix is putting financial support behind the next generation of filmmakers under a partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival.

The streaming giant says it’s made a three-year commitment to back TIFF’s Industry programs that provide professional development and business opportunities for burgeoning talent. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Netflix will subsidize TIFF’s Talent Accelerator initiative, which gives six female filmmakers access to industry events designed to boost participation and skills for women in the industry.

Further contributions will go towards TIFF Filmmaker Lab, a series of workshops and networking events that happen during the annual film festival.

TIFF co-heads Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente said in a statement the Netflix partnership will help the festival dedicate more resources to “gender parity, under-represented voices in cinema and championing the very best in Canadian film.”

Netflix’s initiative is part of a larger $25-million pact the streaming company made in September 2017 to invest in events and activities designed to help Canadian creators over five years.

Earlier this year, the company struck partnerships with the Alliance of Francophone Producers of Canada and various Indigenous cultural groups to develop screen talent.

However, the pairing of Netflix and TIFF is rare among the largest global film festivals where the streaming giant has become more of an adversary.

The Cannes Film Festival banned Netflix titles from its competition lineup over complaints from local exhibitors that the streaming company wasn’t interested in the theatrical model. Earlier this year, the Berlin Film Festival faced criticism from independent exhibitors for including a Netflix film in its competition.

In Toronto, movie exhibitor Cineplex prevented Netflix titles from showing on its screens at this year’s TIFF.

Despite the pushback, Netflix has continued to produce an extensive number of TV series and films shot across Canada. The company announced in September it had already met its five-year pledge to invest $500 million in Canadian productions, three years ahead of schedule.

This report by The Canadian Press was originally published on Nov. 5, 2019.


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David Friend, The Canadian Press

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