TIFF pulls red carpet for Russian-backed film delegations amid invasion of Ukraine

The Toronto International Film Festival won’t be rolling out the red carpet to organizations, official delegations and media outlets supported by the Russian state.

Festival organizers say they intend to “suspend participation” by government-backed groups and cultural ambassadors in response to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.

At the same time, TIFF voiced its solidarity with “the people of Ukraine and those within Russia who stand against these attacks,” noting films from independent Russian filmmakers are still welcome.

The festival joins several cultural groups speaking out against the war and introducing related measures, including the Cannes Film Festival, which has said it will bar Russian delegations to its edition in May.

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Meanwhile, major film studios Warner Bros., Paramount, Disney and Sony have cancelled their big-screen releases in Russia as the country’s currency plummets in value.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 8 to 18.

A statement provided by a TIFF spokeswoman said the festival “will seek to amplify the voices of Ukrainian and independent Russian filmmakers who continue to illuminate our understanding of conflict in the region.”

“Alongside our international colleagues in the film world, our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and the many Ukrainian artists and film professionals who have travelled to TIFF over the years,” the organization said Thursday.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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