TORONTO — The Toronto International Film Festival is set to lose Bell as its leading sponsor.
Bell has been a festival partner since 1995 and has its name on TIFF's downtown headquarters, located in the heart of the entertainment district on King Street West.
Bell spokesperson Ellen Murphy says those naming rights end when the sponsorship expires at the end of December. Murphy says the communications giant opted not to renew the contract.
News of Bell's departure comes as organizers and film buffs brace for a reduced celebrity presence at next month's festival due to ongoing Hollywood strikes.
Last year, sponsors contributed about $13.4 million, which amounted to 28 per cent of its total revenues. TIFF's split with Bell was first reported by the Toronto Star.
The 11-day movie marathon kicks off Sept. 7 with Hayao Miyazaki's long-awaited animated feature film, "The Boy and the Heron."
TIFF said in a statement that the 28-year partnership has greatly contributed to its growth and success.
"Earlier this year, we mutually agreed that this partnership would come to a close at the end of 2023," TIFF communications VP Judy Lung said Friday by email.
"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."
In a statement, Bell said Friday it's grateful to have been a part of the annual festival that draws top films and talent from around the world.
"Earlier this year, we decided that the end of 2023 would be the right time to step back from our partnership with TIFF and opted not to renew our sponsorship in order to invest in other opportunities that are core to our business," Bell said.
"We are confident TIFF will continue to develop and showcase the world’s leading content to inform, educate and entertain the best audience in film."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2023.
The Canadian Press