Statement on Anti-Black Racism

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Images Matter

TIFF’s commitment to combatting anti-Black racism

Progress Update – May 18, 2021

TIFF continues to reflect on and implement our plans towards addressing the systemic racism that has long held sway in Canada’s institutions, including its arts institutions, including TIFF.

In announcing our commitment to this important work last year, we recognized that TIFF’s mission “to transform the way people see the world through film” includes a responsibility to help open eyes to the quiet injustices some might have accepted as peace.

We continue to present the best in Black cinema to audiences and engage Black youth through our learning programmes. We have supported Black filmmakers through our Industry Talent Development programmes. At the same time, TIFF’s staffing, programming, and audience engagement lags far behind our Toronto community, where more than half of the population are Black, Indigenous, or people of colour (BIPOC).

As an organization, we’ve identified four key pillars that shape our focus and that we will measure our objectives and progress against.

REPRESENTATION

Ensure representation is sought within the decision-making processes that impact our community internally and externally.

  • We have set a framework to review our processes in relation to staff hiring, retention, and promotion, and representation on our Board of Directors.

  • We have incorporated into our plans an annual review of representation on TIFF’s Board of Directors to ensure the number of seats available, along with the makeup of skills and representation of the members, reflect the community.

  • We have introduced a new job posting template to encourage racialized people to apply, and we are posting on diversity-focused job boards and distributing postings through BIPOC post-secondary student associations.

  • We are increasing our partnerships with key stakeholders, including government, corporate partners, Black creators, and Black community groups, to encourage more diverse audiences and programming.

CAREER ADVANCEMENT

Commit to diversifying representation on all operational levels at TIFF through developing a transparent compensation strategy with clear connections to a robust career advancement program.

  • We have formalized our recruitment process to better reach diverse talent, and we are collecting self-identification data during the application process.

  • We set diversity targets for 2021 and will establish development and mentorship plans for all staff who want to advance in the organization.

  • We introduced a new performance management process (quarterly objectives and key results) to ensure a clear avenue to incorporate professional development objectives.

DIVERSIFYING PROGRAMMING

Positively using our platform to showcase talent, and consciously dedicating our efforts to diversifying our programming through thoughtful outreach and by building strong partnerships with under-represented external creators and organizations.

  • We have begun working with studio partners to provide Industry programming for emerging Black creators and other marginalized artists.

  • We are amplifying our Media Inclusion Initiative by growing our mentorship programme, and connecting participants to talent and key stakeholders within the film industry. The Initiative provides a space for under-represented journalists, working towards breaking down the barriers they often face as part of the film criticism sector at large.

  • Our programming teams continue to engage in partnerships with Black-led organizations, including Black Women Film!, OYA Media Group, BIPOC Film & TV, POV 3rd Street, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Women of Color Unite, and Regent Park Film Festival.

  • We extended over 100 complementary Industry passes to Black-led organizations and groups through our community partnerships, in addition to extending access to 120 complimentary digital film rentals through TIFF and Sun Life’s Reel Magic partnership.

  • At Festival 2020, 46% of Festival programming was from self-identified Black, Asian, and Indigenous filmmakers and 21% of our New Releases year-round were films by Black directors.

COMMUNICATIONS TRANSPARENCY

Develop a continued communication plan to articulate TIFF’s position on anti-Black racism, how we are providing a platform for Black creators and their work, and our commitment to combatting and challenging systematic barriers.

  • We created an internal and external communication plan to articulate TIFF’s position on anti-Black racism, and to report — on an annual basis — on our actions taken and progress to date, as outlined above.

As we continue to move forward with our strategy, we stay open to suggestions and criticism. While this update is focused on the Black community, we continue to engage all racialized communities. We will listen and learn as we go, working with our staff, Board, partners, donors, members, volunteers, filmmakers, other film festivals, and the industry.

Jennifer Tory, Chair, Board of Directors
Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director & Co-Head
Joana Vicente, Executive Director & Co-Head

TIFF’s commitment to combatting anti-Black racism

June 9, 2020

TIFF is reflecting on how best to address the systemic racism that has long held sway in Canada’s institutions, including its arts institutions, including TIFF.

We recognize that TIFF’s mission “to transform the way people see the world through film” includes a responsibility to help open eyes to the quiet injustices some might have accepted as peace.

We commit to confronting the ways that Canada’s arts sector has reinforced systemic racism in programming, staffing, and audience engagement. We will connect our work against anti-Black racism with struggles for Indigenous sovereignty, including narrative sovereignty — the idea that stories are as central to Indigenous identity as land is, and control of those stories should be viewed in the same light.

For many years, TIFF has presented the best in Black cinema to audiences and engaged Black youth through learning programmes. More recently, we have supported Black filmmakers through our Industry Talent Development programmes. We have Black employees in senior leadership positions. At the same time, TIFF’s staffing, programming, and audience engagement lags far behind our Toronto community, where more than half of the population are Black, people of colour, or Indigenous. We are committed to change.

We commit to examining staff hiring, retention, and promotion, and representation on our Board of Directors. We will set diversity targets for 2021 and establish development and mentorship plans for all staff who want to advance in the organization. We will amplify our partnerships with key stakeholders, including government, corporate partners, Black creators, and Black community groups, to encourage more diverse audiences and programming.

We commit to working with studio partners to provide Industry programming for emerging Black creators and other marginalized artists. We will amplify our Media Inclusion Initiative by working to remove barriers Black journalists face, growing our mentorship programme, and connecting participants to talent and key stakeholders within the film industry.

As we move forward, we will stay open to suggestions and criticism. While our immediate focus is on the Black community, we will continue to engage all racialized communities. We will listen and learn as we go, working with our staff, Board, partners, donors, members, volunteers, filmmakers, other film festivals, and the industry. We will report on our progress in April 2021.

We consider ourselves fortunate to be working in film. Whether it’s a movie, a TV show, or a social media video, moving images are powerfully persuasive. We will ground our work in the belief that images matter.

Jennifer Tory, Chair, Board of Directors
Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director & Co-Head
Joana Vicente, Executive Director & Co-Head


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Related: TIFF’s response to anti-Asian violence

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