Toronto Film Festival Promotes Cameron Bailey to Executive Director – The Hollywood Reporter

Cameron Bailey credits the pandemic for his promotion to the position of Executive Director of the Toronto International Film Festival.

“When the pandemic hit, suddenly you had to really dig into the whole business in greater detail than ever before, and going through that experience has gotten me to this point where I think, yeah, I can continue this,” Bailey said The Hollywood Reporter.

As art director, Bailey has programed the festival and oversaw its year-round art direction. But the title of CEO removed the 25-year veteran of the TIFF when Piers Handles stepped down from that role following the 2018 edition and the festival’s board of directors appointed him and the newly appointed chief executive officer. appointed Joana Vicente as co-leader.

TIFF had to hold mixed streaming and limited live events in the two-year run that convinced Bailey he could lead the prestigious festival solo after Vicente stepped down from the 2021 edition to make a comeback. United States and replaced Keri Putnam as CEO of the Sundance Institute, the arts and media nonprofit organization of the Sundance Film Festival.

“I now feel I am ready to take on this position as we have gone through a process with the board, we have talked it all over and here are the results,” he added of the recent CEO succession talk at the organization. Bailey’s new position follows Jeffrey Remedios, president and chief executive officer of Universal Music Canada, being named the new chairman of TIFF’s board of directors.

Bailey started out at TIFF as a programmer for Perspective Canada and launched the Planet Africa section. He became artistic director in 2012, and before that co-directed the festival with Handle from 2008 to 2012.

Bailey will now be crowned TIFF as it continues to redefine its 45-year-old event model amid a new pandemic wave and the rapidly changing streaming space. He added that major film festivals are facing an “existential crisis” caused by the pandemic – with theater closures and a rapid shift to streaming – that has forced TIFF to Face the challenge with an overhaul of the organization’s roots and branches.

“We had to question every single thing we did. In some cases, we have to come up with completely new solutions that we haven’t done before. To do that, Joana and I had to roll up our sleeves and get to work at TIFF and work with our teams to figure out how to do the job the first time around,” explains Bailey.

The Toronto Festival aims to return to growth as Americans and other international filmmakers, the media and other industry attendees return in person in September 2022, even as Hollywood and the Festivals everywhere tune in to virtual movie audiences. “Being aware of how audience behavior is changing will affect how big the festival is, but it could certainly be bigger than this year,” Bailey said.

Bell Lightbox, the year-round home of the Toronto film festival, only recently reopened after being closed during the pandemic, and the organization has already begun planning for the 2022 edition of the annual festival. Since the first pandemic shutdown in 2020, international travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus crisis have hampered TIFF’s efforts to program international performing artists. , while serving Hollywood studios and broadcasters with critically acclaimed premiere locations, red carpet hype, and flashy parties.

Bailey thinks the return of moviegoers, directors and stars to Toronto’s red carpets and cinemas in 2022 will restore TIFF’s shine as a collective movie experience and a platform. launcher for awards season. “Toronto as a festival begins when people get together in a movie theater and react to a movie they see for the first time, and that creates what the media and industry react to. response. And that excitement can really only happen in person,” he said.

Aside from the increasingly tough indie film business, TIFF in recent years has seen potential Oscar winners make their first appearances in Venice and Telluride, where groundbreaking films are talked about. quickly on social networks. Despite film festivals working together during the pandemic to survive movie theater closures, Bailey expects competition for the right to brag about world premieres and Hollywood stars as well. will return in 2022, albeit with more camaraderie.

“That competitive edge will always be there, but now that we’ve looked directly at the scenario that doesn’t even work out, we see our colleagues in a different light,” Bailey said.

“Even if we are competitive, we will hug our colleagues more closely,” he added.

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