Canadian phone company Bell and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) have enjoyed a largely fruitful partnership for almost three decades, but that is all coming to an end this year. Both parties have announced that their long-standing relationship is finished.
In a statement to TheWrap, TIFF’s Judy Lung explained, “Over the past 28 years, TIFF and Bell have enjoyed a historic partnership that has greatly contributed to the growth and success of our organizations. Earlier this year, we mutually agreed that this partnership would come to a close at the end of 2023.”
Lung continued, “We extend our sincere gratitude to Bell for their unwavering support, dedication, and collaborative spirit and look forward to working with them in new ways. TIFF is an important pillar in the ever-evolving global entertainment industry. We look forward to continuing to grow and innovate with the support and collaboration of current and future partners.”
Meanwhile, Bell released a statement noting that it hopes to “invest in other opportunities that are core to our business.”
The partnership between Bell and TIFF appears to have slowly broken down in recent years. Bell’s streaming platform Crave is a direct competitor to Netflix in Canada. TIFF has begun to welcome Netflix into its events each year, and the streaming giant will premiere five films at this year’s festival.
In 2019, Netflix and TIFF signed a three-year agreement that would have the streamer financially support Canadian directors. At the same time, the Canadian theater chain Cineplex banned Netflix movies from its Scotiabank Theatre, which required TIFF to move part of its festival events that year.
Bell provided sponsorship of several million dollars a year to the festival. TIFF will continue to work with Cineplex, Bulgari and Visa to produce and promote this year’s event.