In an exciting development, Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio has joined forces with Jeremy Strong, Andy Samberg, and Fisher Stevens to call on the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to drop the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) as their sponsor. The move comes as a response to RBC’s track record with fossil fuel extraction and its enabling of projects on Indigenous lands without consent.
DiCaprio, known for his environmental activism, has been actively involved in the climate change movement for years. He has produced several documentaries about the environment and donated millions to various causes. In 1998, he established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting environmental awareness and supporting projects that ensure a sustainable future for the planet.
Mark Ruffalo, who was one of the first Hollywood actors to sign the open letter, posted an Instagram video urging TIFF to drop RBC as a sponsor. Ruffalo believes that organizations like TIFF should step up and support the fight against climate change instead of using their platform for financial gain. RBC is currently the fifth-largest funder of fossil fuels.
Shortly after the letter was made public, TIFF released a statement acknowledging the concerns raised by members of the filmmaking community. They expressed their commitment to environmental sustainability and the importance of addressing climate change. TIFF has begun discussions with RBC, and the bank has shown openness to engaging in dialogue.
The open letter, organized by filmmakers Elza Kephart and Jose Luis Guiterrez, highlights RBC’s role as a “world-leading enabler of fossil fuel extraction” and its disrespect for Indigenous rights. It calls on TIFF to end its relationship with the bank for the 2024 edition of the festival. The letter emphasizes the need for the film industry to take a stand against companies like RBC and find alternative sponsors that align with their values.
With over 100 corporate sponsors and $45 million in revenue, TIFF has the resources to replace RBC as a sponsor and seek out partners who are committed to environmental and social responsibility. The letter suggests that TIFF seize this opportunity to move beyond fossil fuel money and support filmmakers and projects that uphold Indigenous rights and contribute to climate action.
Overall, this collaboration between DiCaprio, Strong, Samberg, Stevens, and other industry professionals demonstrates a growing movement within the film industry to take a stand against companies that contribute to climate change and disregard Indigenous rights. Through their collective action, they hope to inspire change and create a more sustainable future for the film industry and the world.