TIFF Generates Strong International and US Film Sales

TIFF is more than the glitz, glam, parties and red carpets that have become synonymous with the brand. That’s why we have been going behind the scenes to provide a little inside scoop in the business of TIFF, from an organizational perspective, a public relations standpoint and even a look at behind the social scene. The festival is very much a business like no other, generating an $170 million to Toronto’s economy annually. It marks an opportunity for filmmakers to showcase their work to a global audience, with the ultimate goal to sell their film to distributors. This year, some fortunate filmmakers were able to sell their films to distributors around the world, three of whom are Canadian.

To date, close to 40 films have been sold to territories in North America, Europe, The Middle East, Asia, South America, and Australia, with more expected to be announced in the next few days. This figure includes 29 major sales to U.S. distributors. Key acquisitions include: The Place Beyond the Pines, What Maisie Knew, Still, Thanks for Sharing, Much Ado About Nothing, Dangerous Liaisons, Stories We Tell, The End of Time, Spring Breakers, Byzantium, Something in the Air, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Writers, Imogene, The Brass Teapot, Emperor, John Dies at the End, Thérèse Desqueyroux and Love, Marilyn.

Three Canadian films so far have been sold. These include Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, a documentary that exposes her complex family history through a series of interviews, narrative and real and recreated home video, which was picked up by Roadside Attraction, a US distribution company. Another documentary picked up was The End of Time, a clever film by Swiss-Canadian filmmaker Peter Mettler that explores the human perception of time. First Run Features picked up the film for U.S. distribution, with deals also in the works with distributors in Poland and Australia. Still, Michael McGowan’s romantic drama about an aging New Brunswick couple (starring James Cromwell and Genevieve Bujold), was acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films, who has U.S. rights to the film.

Marking a nine per cent growth from 2011, TIFF’s Sales and Industry Office accredited 4,280 industry delegates this year. It is the role of the office to work closely with delegates to facilitate information sharing and foster relationships between accredited buyers, sales agents, producers and filmmakers. Industry delegates represented 2,563 companies and came to Toronto from 81 countries, an increase from 77 in 2011. Notably, attendance from Asia increased by 40 per cent across Japan, China, India and South Korea. 

The growing festival continues to offer a global platform that facilitates film sales, and the robust year for sales is a true testament of a strong, quality festival. Until next year…

Photo courtesy TIFF