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2019 TIFF Industry conference lineup Brain Grazer and Ron Howard, Barbara Kopple, Lulu Wang, Edward Burns, Robert Fisk, Anna Serner, Fernando Meirelles, and more to Speak

Press Release

TORONTO​— The Toronto International Film Festival​®​today announced the lineup for the 2019 TIFF Industry Conference, offering five days of business, creative development, and networking opportunities to the 5,500-plus international professionals expected in Toronto this September. Taking place September 6–10, this year’s programme will explore the impact of global events and socio-political trends at the forefront of the media industry.

“Our carefully curated Industry Conference provides local and international professionals a forum where they can learn, be inspired, and engage with true advocates of responsible change,” said Geoff Macnaughton, TIFF Director of Industry. “As the film and television landscapes shift due to political, cultural, and technological developments, the Conference reminds professionals that with change comes the opportunity for new stories and voices to be heard.”

“Our expansive programming encourages dialogue across borders and addresses how to forge a sustainable and equitable path to the future, while also celebrating trailblazers that have led the way,” said Karina Rotenstein, TIFF Industry Conference Producer. “From ideas around climate change, culture funding, and data protection to immigration, truth in journalism, and decolonizing the screen, the TIFF Industry Conference brings together the international filmmaking community to address what is top of mind for many industry practitioners.”

The Conference will open on September 6 with an inspiring ​Moguls​conversation with the Academy Award–winning duo of producer and author ​Brian Grazer ​and director​Ron Howard​(​A Beautiful Mind​,​Apollo 13​,​Frost/Nixon​,and TIFF Opening Night Film​Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band​). The entertainment veterans will share what inspires them as creators, the evolution of the industry during their decades-long business partnership as founders of Imagine Entertainment, and their dedication to championing stories that matter in film and television.

On September 10, the Conference will conclude with a ​Master Class​with Academy Award–nominated Brazilian director ​Fernando Meirelles​(​City of God​,​The Two Popes​). ​Diana Sanchez​,Senior Director, Film at TIFF, leads a gripping conversation revealing the realities of filmmaking in politically volatile times.

Attendees will learn from and be inspired by the collective wisdom of more than 150 notable guest speakers, including: Claire​ Aguilar​,Alan​ Berliner​,Russell​ Boast​,Edward​ Burns​,Yung​ Chang​,Valerie​ Creighton​,Claire​

Diao​,​Jason Fitzroy Jeffers​,Robert​ Fisk​,Azita​ Ghanizada​,Kate Hagen​,Zena​ Harris​,​Makhosazana​ Khanyile​, Barbara Kopple​,​Franklin Leonard​,​Kathleen Lingo​,​Vinnie Malhotra​,​Paolo Moretti​,​Mayank Patel​,​Aron

Phillips​,Mariette​ Rissenbeek​,Liz​ Rodrigues​,Deborah​ Sathe​,​PM​ Satheesh​,​Anna Serner​,​Alex Schmider, Lulu Wang​,​Theodore Ushev​,​​Charlotte Uzu​,​​Jesse Wente​,​Kim Yutani​,and ​Phil Yu​.

So far, Conference highlights include:

  • Film Festivals: New Leadership, New Horizons​— Major international film festivals have made significant shifts in 2019 with new directors and CEOs. Marking the first time they’ve converged onstage since taking on new roles, IndieWire Editor-at-Large Anne​ Thompson​hosts a conversation with Cameron​ Bailey​(TIFF), Paolo​ Moretti​(Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes), Mariette​ Rissenbeek​(Berlin), and Kim​ Yutani​(Sundance) to discuss how festivals are impacting the evolving business of film and media while maintaining curatorial and artistic excellence and elevating filmmakers.
  • An intimate Master​ Class​with Lulu​ Wang​,​fresh​ off the success of​her​ sophomore feature The​ Farewell​,which won the Sundance​ Institute Vanguard Award. ​Born in Beijing and raised in Miami, the writer-director has emerged as one of the eminent new voices in cinema.
  • Redefining Quality for Gender Equality​— Anna​ Serner​,a leading advocate for the 50/50 by 2020 gender-parity movement and CEO of the Swedish Film Institute, hosts a provocative conversation to examine the ways in which unconscious bias around “quality” has been used as a tool for discrimination against women, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQIA and other minority communities. Featured speakers include Alex​ Schmider​,Associate Director of Transgender

Representation at GLAAD, and producer Cassian​ Elwes​,who is also returning as a Governor for the TIFF Filmmaker Lab​.

  • Story Incubator: How to Maximize Your IP —​ There’s always a great story to tell, but how it’s delivered to audiences is equally important. Join​ Aron​ Phillips​,Director of Development at​Uninterrupted​,and speakers from other leading companies as they discuss working with storytellers to create ambitious strategies to help develop and diversify an idea’s potential.
  • Going Green: Sustainable Practices in Film & TV —​​Zena Harris​,President of the Green Spark Group, leads a Foundations​​keynote address and subsequent panel discussion with industry leaders to identify what steps can be taken to develop and integrate green initiatives and sustainable practices into film, TV, and online media production.
  • Diaspora: Untold Stories, Hidden Cities​— The next wave of cinema is championing authentic storytelling that spotlights the experiences of diaspora communities and the larger societal burdens they face, particularly within global metropolises. In this no-holds-barred conversation, international directors illustrate their journeys in bringing their stories to light, and how issues of race, inequality, and indiscriminate use of institutional power can be confronted and dismantled through cinema.

TIFF Doc Conference​will present a dynamic selection of talks and intimate conversations with some of the biggest names and most creative leaders working in non-fiction storytelling. Guests will include acclaimed directors from the TIFF 2019 selection, such as ​Barbara Kopple​,​Alan Berliner​,and ​Yung Chang​,as well as journalist and film subject Robert​ Fisk​.The programme will also highlight innovations and areas for growth in the industry: Kickstarter’s Elise​ McCave​will reveal what’s new in crowdfunding; the New​ York Times​’first Editorial Director of Film and Television, ​Kathleen Lingo​,will provide a rundown on the company’s foray into features and television; SHOWTIME’s EVP of Non-fiction Original Programming, Vinnie​ Malhotra​,will discuss the network’s documentary content strategy; ​Heidi Tao Yang​of Hot Docs, ​Claire Aguilar​of the International

Documentary Association, and Jesse​ Wente of​ the Indigenous Screen Office will share their insights on the funding landscape for under-represented doc-makers; and Abby​ Sun​of the Hot​ Springs Documentary Film Festival​and ​Ashley Clark​of the Brooklyn Academy of Music will discuss the exciting new guard of contemporary documentary curators making their mark on the industry. The Doc Conference is curated by Thom Powers​and​Denae Peters​,the TIFF Docs programming team.

Returning for a second year, TIFF​ Tech​will present discussions at the intersection of tech and media, giving a platform to innovators on both sides. The 2019 iteration will address the industry’s concerns with data and privacy, video tampering, and their impacts on intellectual property. Also at the TIFF Industry Conference, Connections​will offer roundtables in the areas of co-production, documentary, shorts, technology, and television. Space at these sessions is limited.

Throughout the Conference, TIFF will present curated networking events via the Breakfast​ at TIFF series,​ with events hosted by international agencies and organizations representing over 40 countries. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the unique benefits hosts have to offer and connect with decision-makers,

producers, and potential business partners. Telefilm​ Canada​will return to present the RDV​ Canada Panel Series​at the Conference. Delegates can also look forward to ​Microsessions​,sponsored by leading companies to showcase their newest media tools, products, and programs.

In addition to the Conference, registered delegates will have access to the TIFF Industry Centre, p​resented by Shutterstock and located at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Over the 10-day Festival, the Centre will become home to over ​40 national agencies representing films and filmmakers from their regions.

The full Conference schedule and list of international speakers will be available at tiff​.net/industry​as of August 20.

TIFF has also introduced child-care for professionals at TIFF. This new initiative provides expanded resources and ​services for industry, press, and guests attending the Festival with children. For more information, visit​​As part of TIFF’s Share Her Journey campaign, we will continue to provide over 120 female creators free access to our Conference and year-round programming. We will also ensure that our overall number of speakers represents a 50/50 gender split.

Online industry registration for the Toronto International Film Festival will close August 23. Onsite​ registration for industry passes will begin September 3​at the TIFF Industry Centre. There are six pass types, offering varying levels of access to the Conference, Press & Industry screenings, public screenings, and the TIFF Industry Centre presented by Shutterstock. For the first time this year, newcomers looking to explore one day only of the Conference will be able to purchase a Day Pass starting August 16. See below for a daily breakdown to help attendees plan their Festival experience. To purchase passes and learn more, visit

About TIFF

TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more information, visit

TIFF is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, L’Oréal Paris, and Visa, and Major Supporters the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto.

Toronto International Film Festival Industry programming is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, L’Oréal Paris and Visa, and Major Supporters Ontario Creates and Telefilm Canada.

The TIFF Doc Conference programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of SHOWTIME​® Documentary Films.

The TIFF Industry Centre is presented by Shutterstock.

The daily Industry Happy Hours are supported by Shutterstock, Cultural Industries Ontario North, Telefilm Canada, and SHOWTIME​®​Documentary Films.



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