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TIFF Promotes Artistic Director Cameron Bailey to Role as Festival Co-Head

Bailey will team with a second, yet-to-be-hired co-head to lead the festival after the planned departure of long-time director and CEO Piers Handling.

Courtesy of TIFF, Photo by Matt Barnes

The Board of Directors of TIFF has announced the promotion of its long-time artistic director Cameron Bailey​ to the newly created position of artistic director and co-head of TIFF​. The role will expand Bailey’s current position, which he has held since 2012. Prior to that, Bailey was festival co-director from 2008-2012. Bailey will be joined by a second, yet-to-be-hired co-head, who will serve as managing director and co-head of the annual festival. Together, the pair will lead TIFF and, per an official statement, “will work closely together to set the tone and lead the organization, bringing the new strategic plan to life.”

Last September, long-time festival director and CEO Piers Handling announced his intention to step down after the conclusion of the 2018 edition of the festival. IndieWire previously reported that Bailey was a candidate for Handling’s replacement. In the official release announcing Bailey’s promotion, TIFF shared that after Handling’s decision to leave, “the TIFF Board engaged in a process for CEO transition, including a review of the organization’s current structure. After their assessment, the Board decided on a two-headed structure for TIFF, with one position (Bailey’s) focused on the artistic direction of the organization, and the other, Managing Director & Co-Head, focused on the business and revenue optimization.”

The festival’s board chair Jennifer Tory noted that with a five-year strategic plan launched by Bailey this year, “we believe a two-headed structure is right for the future success of TIFF,” she said in the statement. “Cameron is a film industry veteran who has earned a reputation for discerning, expansive curation since joining TIFF as a programmer in 1990. Combined with his accomplishments as TIFF’s Artistic Director, we have full confidence in his vision for the direction of the organization.”

In a statement of his own, Handling added: “I have tremendous respect for Cameron and his longstanding contribution to TIFF’s success. His passion and vision for the future of the organization underlines his deep leadership skills. It gives me great comfort to know TIFF is in such good hands.”

Bailey tipped his hat to his predecessor. “I’ve been fortunate to work alongside Piers for so many years. We programmed Canadian films together, we made our first programming trip to Burkina Faso together and we’ve spent countless hours working out how best to engage audiences with the power of film,” said Bailey in a statement.

TIFF also said that a search committee of the TIFF board of directors has been working with Caldwell Partners to identify candidates for the managing director and co-head role. The search is “international in scope” and the board expects to announce its new hire before this year’s festival kicks off in September.

Bailey will report directly to the Board of Directors effective October 1, 2018.

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