Bailey’s charge: Engage a wider and more frequent audience while building TIFFs for the future.
Things are changing at the Toronto International Film Festival, but a very familiar face remains at the helm. Cameron Bailey, who for the past three decades has been a major force in the organization, is stepping up to lead TIFF as CEO with responsibility for preparing the festival for the future and focusing on strategies to attract wider and more frequent audiences. Bailey, who started out as a programmer before becoming a creative director, most recently shared co-leadership duties with Joana Vicente for more than three years. Vicente leaves TIFF in December for Top post at Sundance Institute.
News of Bailey’s appointment by the TIFF board comes after the board announced Monday that Jeffrey Remedios, president and chief executive officer of Universal Music Canada, has replaced Jennifer Tory as president of the association. TIFF coin. TIFF leaders recommend Remedios, who has served on the board for 5 years, as a business leader skilled in navigating digital transformations while motivating thinkers think independently. Bailey leads the way with a passion for cinema and a deep knowledge of the institution, but he told IndieWire’s Anne Thompson he plans to steer the organization into its fifth decade with an open mind to new challenges. capabilities offered by a rapidly changing industry.
“It’s a big job, I’m definitely taking it seriously. I’ll be overseeing the entire organization, I’ll be getting closer to things that I’ve never come close to, where Joana has to be primarily responsible for those things,” Bailey said. “I spent 25 years as a programmer, co-director and art director and am now a co-director and have had the opportunity to learn a lot about the organization and the people who help run it. I have a unique understanding of the timing of dealing with Piers, when I first joined TIFF and Helga Stephenson was in charge. I want to be able to draw from that history without being bound by it.”
Bailey, who grew up in England and Barbados before moving to Canada, began her career as a film critic before joining TIFF as a seasonal programmer in 1990. For 20 years, he worked as both a critic and a programmer. He heads the festival’s Perspective Canada program and in 1995 founded the popular Planet Africa column, which ran for 10 years, focusing on films from Africa and the African diaspora.
He was appointed festival co-director in 2008 and artistic director in 2012. He continues in that role and in 2018 led by the organization as co-leader, along with Vicente, following the departure of Handling, who served as CEO for more than two decades.
Vicente previously served as executive director of the Independent Filmmaker Project (now the Gotham Film & Media Institute). She brings her experience generating revenue, running a nonprofit, and handling staffing issues, skills she helped build at Bailey during their time together. Bailey chatted with Remedios and Tory and they all agreed that Bailey has the skills and background knowledge to top a solo TIFF, he said.
“I could not have been more reassured about my first time serving as president of the TIFF board when I appointed Cameron Bailey as CEO,” said Remedios. “Cameron is a well-known figure in the global film industry and his dedicated leadership, strategic vision, and unparalleled passion have built an essential foundation for this organization. There is no one better suited to push TIFF forward. His extensive knowledge of cinema, his keen understanding of this ever-changing industry, and the evolving technologies impacting the way we share stories through film will shape future of TIFF and I look forward to supporting his vision for many years to come. ”
Looking ahead, TIFF – like every other film organization – is grappling with charting the way forward amid a pandemic that has impacted the theatrical experience and enhanced industry acceptance. streaming industry. Shorter theater windows and an unpredictable sales landscape are two factors that Bailey will face during his leadership.
The 2020 TIFF sequel is largely a virtual affair, but the festival maintains its status as a launchpad to award players with titles like “Nomadland” and “One Night in Miami.” This year’s festival has seen a stronger return of live programming with presentations by “Belfast”, “Dune” and “Spencer”, although most industry players have tuned in. from home in an untapped experience that TIFF is famous for.
“In terms of challenges in the shadow of the pandemic, we all understand what happens when we can’t bring together large numbers of people the same way in 2020,” Bailey said. there are still many challenges in the past year. We’ve learned to respond to that and I’m excited and hope to bring more people together while still reaching people outside of Toronto with our digital platform. We will continue with that even if we do different things. A lot of movies break out because of the audience’s reaction in the room, we want to protect that, we want everyone there to see it. As people watch more things at home, that has changed too. Digital is part of our world, we have to take that into account. It’s the human element when people come together to share that experience, setting the stage for that in the best way possible. ”
Bailey is optimistic that festivals will remain an important part of introducing films to the world. “In terms of direction, I want to make sure the festival is set for the future, relevance is important in maintaining something special at a festival based on audience response,” he said.
He also said that the TIFF under his leadership will continue to build local programming year-round at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and online. Next, it hosts the world premiere of Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” on December 1, which is held in conjunction with the red carpet premiere in New York and a simultaneous screening in Los Angeles – Bailey said to expect more than that. And Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza” will have an exclusive 70mm showcase at Lightbox for two weeks before its release in Canada on December 24. “70mm, you can’t stay home on your couch. Some things you only get in the cinema,” Bailey said.
In addition to Tory’s departure, the TIFF board announced other changes on Monday. Departing are Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob, Bell Canada executive Wade Oosterman, art leader Shabin Mohamed, venture capitalist Francis Shen, L’Oréal chief executive Frank Kollmar and chief executive Geoff Beattie.
Newcomers to the board include Royal Bank of Canada Chief Marketing Officer Mary DePaoli, filmmaker Danis Goulet, Wattpad co-founder Allen Lau, Bell Brand Director Devorah Lithwick and Elevation Pictures co-chairman , Laurie May.
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