You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Israeli showcase at center of fest dispute

Toronto's City to City controversy escalates

Controversy surrounding the Toronto Film Festival’s first City to City program, which spotlights Tel Aviv cinema, is escalating.

Last week veteran Toronto filmmaker John Greyson withdrew his short documentary “Covered” from the fest to protest the showcase of Israeli filmmaking.

On Thursday a letter of support was published online, endorsed by more than 50 prominent names in the international culture and media communities including Alice Walker, John Berger, Ken Loach, Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, David Byrne, Slavoj Zizek and several Israeli and Palestinian artists.

“We protest that Toronto, whether intentionally or not, has become complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine,” the letter states, referring to “Brand Israel,” a media and advertising campaign Israel’s Foreign Ministry is launching in Toronto this month.

This aims to focus attention away from Israel’s conflict with the Palestinian territories and toward the country’s achievements in science and culture.

In a letter, also posted online, Greyson states his protest isn’t against the program’s films or filmmakers but rather its “smug business-as-usual aura” in light of an international economic boycott campaign led by Palestinian NGOs.

Last week fest co-director Cameron Bailey responded to Greyson in an open letter on the fest’s website, stating City to City “was conceived and curated entirely independently. There was no pressure from any outside source.”

In July, Loach yanked his Cannes entry “Looking for Eric” from the Melbourne Film Festival after it refused to reject funding from Israel for a fest visit by Tatia Rosenthal, helmer of Oz-Israel co- production “$9.99.”

More Scene

  • The Crown Series 2 World Premiere

    Claire Foy, Matt Smith Walk Final Carpet as Royals at 'The Crown' Season 2 Premiere in London

    Controversy surrounding the Toronto Film Festival’s first City to City program, which spotlights Tel Aviv cinema, is escalating. Last week veteran Toronto filmmaker John Greyson withdrew his short documentary “Covered” from the fest to protest the showcase of Israeli filmmaking. On Thursday a letter of support was published online, endorsed by more than 50 prominent […]

  • Lupus Research Alliance 'Breaking Through Lupus

    Selena Gomez Chokes Up While Describing 'Life or Death Struggle' With Lupus

    Controversy surrounding the Toronto Film Festival’s first City to City program, which spotlights Tel Aviv cinema, is escalating. Last week veteran Toronto filmmaker John Greyson withdrew his short documentary “Covered” from the fest to protest the showcase of Israeli filmmaking. On Thursday a letter of support was published online, endorsed by more than 50 prominent […]

  • "Roman J. Israel, Esq."

    'Roman J. Israel, Esq.': How Jake Gyllenhaal Helped Prepare Denzel Washington for Title Role

    Controversy surrounding the Toronto Film Festival’s first City to City program, which spotlights Tel Aviv cinema, is escalating. Last week veteran Toronto filmmaker John Greyson withdrew his short documentary “Covered” from the fest to protest the showcase of Israeli filmmaking. On Thursday a letter of support was published online, endorsed by more than 50 prominent […]

  • AMAs Afterparty at Watt's with Niall

    Niall Horan, Chainsmokers, Rae Sremmurd Bring the AMAs After-Party to Beverly Hills

    Controversy surrounding the Toronto Film Festival’s first City to City program, which spotlights Tel Aviv cinema, is escalating. Last week veteran Toronto filmmaker John Greyson withdrew his short documentary “Covered” from the fest to protest the showcase of Israeli filmmaking. On Thursday a letter of support was published online, endorsed by more than 50 prominent […]

  • Tig Notaro Writers Room

    Tig Notaro on Louis C.K. Scandal: Only Positive Is 'Victims Were Not Told They're Lying Anymore'

    Controversy surrounding the Toronto Film Festival’s first City to City program, which spotlights Tel Aviv cinema, is escalating. Last week veteran Toronto filmmaker John Greyson withdrew his short documentary “Covered” from the fest to protest the showcase of Israeli filmmaking. On Thursday a letter of support was published online, endorsed by more than 50 prominent […]

  • HBO Presents-Night of Too Many Stars

    Jon Stewart, Other A-List Comics Skip Over Louis C.K. at 'Night of Too Many Stars'

    Controversy surrounding the Toronto Film Festival’s first City to City program, which spotlights Tel Aviv cinema, is escalating. Last week veteran Toronto filmmaker John Greyson withdrew his short documentary “Covered” from the fest to protest the showcase of Israeli filmmaking. On Thursday a letter of support was published online, endorsed by more than 50 prominent […]

  • Variety Hitmakers Brunch

    Kendrick Lamar, DJ Khaled, Hailee Steinfeld Honored at Inaugural Variety Hitmakers Event

    Controversy surrounding the Toronto Film Festival’s first City to City program, which spotlights Tel Aviv cinema, is escalating. Last week veteran Toronto filmmaker John Greyson withdrew his short documentary “Covered” from the fest to protest the showcase of Israeli filmmaking. On Thursday a letter of support was published online, endorsed by more than 50 prominent […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content