This year’s TIFF Industry Conference — a six-day event, taking place September 7–12 during the Toronto International Film Festival — will inspire and incite discussions for creative and business entrepreneurship, while examining the role independent filmmakers play within an evolving and challenging media landscape.
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More than 150 speakers will take the stage of the Glenn Gould Studio including Ivy Agregan, Tre’vell Anderson, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Chris Aronson, Paul Austerberry, Jennifer Baichwalz, Andrew Barnes, Jeremy Blacklow, Justin Broadbent, Tantoo Cardinal, Barry Cole, Jacqueline Coley, Valerie Complex, Christian de Castro Oliveira, Nicholas de Pencier, Amy Emmerich, Helen Estabrook, Ana Letícia Fialho, Shawn Finnie, John Fithian, Patricia Gomes, Kate Hagen, Werner Herzog, Kevin Iwashina, Ellis Jacob, Jiang Wen, Mark Kueper, Amanda Lebow, Franklin Leonard, Sergei Loznitsa, Maxim Pozdorovkin, April Reign, Gil Robertson, A.V. Rockwell, Rena Ronson, Nermeen Shaikh, Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Tema Staig, Taika Waititi, and Nina Yang Bongiovi.
TIFF MASTER CLASSES
The Conference will open with a candid interview with Canadian screen icon Tantoo Cardinal, as part of the new Betty-Ann Heggie Speaker Series, a Share Her Journey initiative. In his first visit to TIFF, New Zealand filmmaker, actor, and comedian Taika Waititi joins TIFF’s Artistic Director Cameron Bailey for a conversation about cinematic inspiration, vampires, superheroes, and portraying marginalised characters in films. Fresh from his role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, actor-director Jiang Wen, one of China’s most prolific and accomplished superstars, takes the stage to discuss his trajectory from acting in art-house classics to blockbusters that are tailor-made for the largest film audience in the world.
This series, with industry leaders and innovators, begins with a groundbreaking keynote on inclusion and diversity from Dr. Stacy L. Smith, author of the inclusion rider template and the Founder & Director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. Dr. Smith will unveil the second phase of her research on equity in film criticism in a compelling address, after which she will be joined by Rotten Tomatoes editor Jacqueline Coley, freelance writer Valerie Complex, and Gil Robertson of the AAFCA. The panel will be moderated by Franklin Leonard, Founder & CEO of The Black List.
TIFF also welcomes award-winning producer Nina Yang Bongiovi (Fruitvale Station, Sorry to Bother You, Dope), an influential force in the industry with a discerning eye for groundbreaking stories and thrilling new directors.
Our Dialogues programme presents an array of topical programming that includes exhibitors, filmmakers, and industry executives, including:
- John Fithian, President & CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, will moderate a discussion examining the impact of theatrical exhibition on today’s culture.
- Go behind the scenes with GLAAD, who, along with film executives and creators, explore how the organization uses onscreen representation to change hearts and minds around the world.
- The 3 for 30 screenwriters session returns with three writer-director film teams exposing the hardest scene to write. Hosted by Franklin Leonard and Kate Hagen of The Black List.
- Renowned music supervisors, including Barry Cole (The Chi), explain how to create the perfect soundtrack.
Foundations is a practical stream designed for up-and-comers that explores all aspects of the business, from craft to distribution, and provides tangible tools for creative practitioners.
- Dynamic sessions highlight excellence in below-the-line roles, including a panel on how to build a diverse crew featuring April Reign (#OscarsSoWhite), Shawn Finnie (AMPAS), Tema Staig (Women In Media), and Patricia Gomes (LA Skins Fest).
- An inspiring conversation with a panel of brilliant designers, including Academy Award–winning production designer Paul Austerberry (The Shape Of Water) and visual effects producer and director Ivy Agregan (The Revenant).
- A panel on post-production with the award-winning co-directing team of Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier (Anthropocene) and their longtime collaborator Mark Kueper, Senior Colourist at Technicolor, in which they discuss how they establish the visual language for their films.
THE GUARDIAN TIFF TALKS
The Guardian TIFF Talks is a series of onstage conversations between high-profile creative talent and The Guardian’s journalists. Landscapes is a new stream featuring four intimate fireside chats presenting a global snapshot of current trends in storytelling from specific countries and markets. Connections will offer networking roundtables in the areas of co-production, documentary, shorts, tech, and primetime television, on a first-come, first-served basis. Delegates can also look forward to Microsessions sponsored by leading companies that showcase their newest media tools, products, and programmes.
Launching this year, TIFF Tech is a new stream presenting innovations in computer technology and the convergence of the tech and media industries.
TIFF DOC CONFERENCE
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Doc Conference will deliver an array of high-profile guests in its news-making talk and craft sessions. Highlights include an opening conversation with director Werner Herzog on the making of this new film Meeting Gorbachev; producer of Democracy Now! Nermeen Shaikh revealing what makes a great documentary; CEO of The Festival Agency Leslie Vuchot providing the hits and misses of self-distribution and marketing; award-winning Inuk filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril providing a critical insight into how to tell stories with humility while looking to the future of Indigenous storytelling; and renowned filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa, joined by Tanya Cooper from Human Rights Watch and Polina Kovaleva from PEN American, to discuss actions to free Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker who was detained in Crimea and sentenced to 20 years in a Russian prison on charges of terrorism.