(Toronto) The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is about to lose Bell as its main sponsor.

Bell has been a festival partner since 1995 and its name appears on TIFF’s downtown headquarters, located in the heart of the King Street West entertainment district.

Bell spokeswoman Ellen Murphy said the company’s association with the festival will end when the sponsorship expires at the end of December. She claimed the communications giant chose not to renew the contract.

News of Bell’s departure comes as organizers and moviegoers brace for a reduced celebrity attendance at next month’s festival due to ongoing strikes in Hollywood.

Last year, sponsors contributed approximately $13.4 million to the festival, which represents 28% of the event’s total revenue. TIFF’s split with Bell was first reported by the Toronto Star.

The 11-day film marathon will kick off on September 7 with Hayao Miyazaki’s long-awaited animated feature, The Boy and the Heron.

TIFF said in a statement that this 28-year partnership has contributed greatly to its growth and success.

“Earlier this year, we mutually agreed that this partnership would end at the end of 2023,” TIFF Vice President of Communications Judy Lung said Friday via email. “We express 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 on Friday that it was grateful to have taken part in this annual festival which attracts the best films and talent from around the world.

“Earlier this year, we decided that the end of 2023 would be the right time to withdraw from our partnership with TIFF and chose not to renew our sponsorship in order to invest in other opportunities that are central to our mission,” Bell said. We are confident that TIFF will continue to grow and present world-leading content to inform, educate and entertain the best cinematic audiences. »