The Toronto Film Festival is Launching an Official Market in 2026, Supported by $17 Million in Government Funding: Organizers Want to Double Industry Participation - Latest Global News

The Toronto Film Festival is Launching an Official Market in 2026, Supported by $17 Million in Government Funding: Organizers Want to Double Industry Participation

The Toronto International Film Fest will launch an official market starting in 2026, supported by a generous C$23 million (US$16.9 million) grant from the Canadian federal government. TIFF organizers said the new market will be a “game-changer” for Canadian and broader international business. Cameron Bailey, the festival’s CEO, told Deadline he wants to more than double industry attendance.

“We have been a great buying, selling and pitching platform for so many years, but I think we can do so much more by providing larger, more robust infrastructure and more ways for people to meet,” he said Festival boss. “We plan to grow from around 5,000 industry delegates to over 12,000 over the next few years.”

The extensive government investments, which were announced in April as part of the federal budget, will be spread over three years. Bailey and Anita Lee, TIFF’s chief programming officer, are here in Cannes to talk to the industry about the plans.

“There is an unofficial market at TIFF, and has been for years, and companies that have been involved in TIFF for a very long time, and it’s working very well for them,” Lee said. “But we also see that there are a lot of new companies and new markets that are very interested in TIFF as a gateway to North America. An official market and actually visible infrastructure will really make it possible [attendees from] new markets and new companies to participate more fully.”

As the indie film business has faced challenges, there have been changes in the landscape – AFM’s move from LA to Vegas is a notable shift.

T&E spending is under scrutiny like never before, but Lee said there is room for a new market in Toronto: “Packaging and financing projects is really becoming as important as selling on the back end, and TIFF is really well positioned. ” in Toronto and in the calendar year. There is a real gap and opportunity for this official market. All of these companies come through every year and we really understand that it is a real opportunity for them to not only get their films into the official selection but also do 360-degree deals.”

The TIFF team is looking for a venue close to current events, with Lee keen for TIFF to remain a traveling festival. Toronto’s industrial program and talent labs will be brought together under the new market’s umbrella. The organizers are also interested in creating an IP market and a presentation of the work in progress.

Bailey said he was impressed with the way the Cannes market in France has worked with Cinando’s online network and his goal is to use the resources available to build a market at TIFF that has integrated technology .

“We are now looking at the next step forward that can build on what Cinando has been able to achieve. It’s not just about physically stopping by different stalls at a time of year, but also about staying connected, socializing and communicating with each other. Maybe there’s an ecosystem where the whole process of pitching, negotiating and all those things can be done collaboratively and interact with what’s going on physically.”

The fluctuations in the organization of the festival mean that TIFF has received a large share of funding from the government, but also has to contend with Bell ending a decade-long contract as the festival’s main sponsor.

“It’s a complex reality,” Bailey said. “This federal funding is intended to specifically support the expansion of market activities. At the same time, we still face the ongoing challenges that I think many festivals face in terms of stable funding. We are in discussions with various corporate partners who will take on some of the roles that other partners such as Bell have held. These conversations are going very well. I am very optimistic about our future.”

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