Netflix Partners with Toronto Film Festival Despite Opposition from Sponsors

Netflix and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) have announced a deal where the streaming service will invest in the film festival’s industry program, reports The Hollywood Reporter:

Hollywood’s awards season launchpad has signed a three-year deal that will see Netflix invest in TIFF’s year-round film industry program, including financial support for emerging local directors and the festival’s annual September forum. Terms of their pact were not disclosed, but the Netflix investment comes from a $25 million fund agreed with the Canadian government in 2017 to develop local content creators, especially from the female, indigenous, Francophone and LGBTQ+ communities.

Last September, major TIFF sponsors opposed Netflix involvement, with Cineplex banning titles from the streaming company at its Scotiabank Theatre, normally a venue for screeners for press every September. Cineplex did allow titles from fellow sponsor Bell Media’s Crave to stream, however.

The issue at stake? “Theatrical windows”, which are the days a film stays in theatres before it hits streaming services or online downloads. The industry wants it to remain at 97 days, which allows theatres exclusive windows to show films and generate ticket and concession revenue. But streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon want their movies shown to subscribers only after three weeks or even same day.

“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,” said Scott Stuber, Netflix head of film, told THR.

As of September, Netflix said it had met obligations of a $400 million Canadian film and TV investment ahead of schedule, a pledge made with the federal government back in 2017.

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