Toronto International Film Festival Takes Center Stage in Midst of SAG-AFTRA Strike

By Theo A. Katz

From Sept. 7-17, the 48th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) brought a new era for filmmakers across the world. 

In the entertainment industry, film festivals are a great way for filmmakers, both independent and well-known, to showcase their work in front of a live audience. To have one’s project showcased at an event of this nature is a major first step for aspiring filmmakers. 

According to, “TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization with a mission to transform the way people see the world through film. They are dedicated to presenting the best of international and Canadian cinema and creating transformational experiences for film lovers and creators of all ages.”

Anyone can have an interest in film. While seeing movies in the theaters is a common way to support universal directors and actors, taking part in a festival audience can support up-and-coming filmmakers. 

From special presentations, and discovery exhibits to a variety of headliner films, the main event of the festival will be the announcement of the 48th People’s Choice Award. The winner of this award, usually chosen by the public, has gone on to increase their chances of Academy Award wins and nominations, according to Clayton Davis of

For example, notable films to have won the award include Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” (2018) and Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” (2020). This year, favorites for the award include Colman Domingo’s “Sing Sing” and Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers,” Davis further writes. 

While the TIFF is a notable milestone for actors and filmmakers alike, trouble in releasing and exposing their work to the public arises in the midst of a writers’ strike. 

Over the past few months, writers and actors have been striking for better pay, causing many delays in world-renowned projects. 

“Leadership at the Toronto International Film Festival sent an email to members of the industry, assuring them that they were moving full steam ahead,” said Eric Kohn of

For young filmmakers looking to get ahead, their projects are being delayed in release due to this ongoing standoff. Eventually, these directors will get a chance to shine on the big screen, but it’s a matter of how. 

“I believe that due to the SAG-AFTRA strike going on, independent filmmakers will get a chance to shine on the big screen. While the strike is not beneficial to bigger productions, it can have its benefits to smaller and independent filmmakers,” said Falyn Housenbold, The University of Tampa Film and Media Arts major. “For example, this allows them to be in the spotlight rather than being overshadowed by bigger projects.” 

No blockbuster movie or major international film festival is possible without the actors. These actors are finding it difficult to promote their work due to certain legal restrictions being placed on them. 

Nowadays, promoting a TIFF film is difficult as a SAG Member. 

“There’s a lot of gray areas around what conversations you can and can’t have,” said Kohn. 

As a gateway to the big screen, TIFF will present viewers with many opportunities to hear from international superstars in the film industry. 

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