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‘Sparta’ pulled from TIFF amid accusations of impropriety involving children on set

A photographer takes a photo at the Toronto International Film Festival's kick off event in Toronto on Thursday, September 8, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Lupul

A film involving child actors in Romania has been pulled from the Toronto International Film Festival amid accusations of impropriety on set.

A note on the TIFF website states Ulrich Seidl’s film “Sparta” has been withdrawn and that ticket holders will be contacted directly with more information.

The note offers no reason for pulling the film, which was to make its world premiere in Toronto on Friday afternoon.

German news outlet Der Spiegel published a story last week in which some young cast members, parents and crew allege local child non-actors were exposed to violence and nudity on set.

Read more: Death of Queen casts pall on opening day of TIFF

The allegations have not been independently verified by The Canadian Press. A request by The Canadian Press for comment from the film’s international sales agent was not immediately returned.

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The Der Spiegel article includes a statement from Seidl’s lawyer stating that no child was filmed naked or in a sexualized situation.

The film is an Austria, France and Germany co-production and is described as the story of a man in his 40s who seeks a fresh start in the hinterland of Romania but is confronted with “a truth he has long suppressed.”

The Toronto International Film Festival runs through Sept. 18.

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