This 43rd edition of TIFF marks the final year for festival director and CEO Piers Handling, as well as executive director Michèle Maheux. For over 20 years, the duo has guided TIFF towards its current status as one of the most prestigious film events in the world – certainly the largest in North America.
Handling and Maheux also led the campaign to create TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto's year-round center for film culture, with Handling co-curating a landmark exhibition on David Cronenberg and body horror in 2013. Handling will be succeeded by two co-heads: Cameron Bailey, TIFF’s artistic director since 2012, and Joana Vicente, an experienced film producer who is currently executive director of the Independent Filmmaker Project in New York.
Last year, TIFF streamlined its slate by retiring the Vanguard and City to City sections, and reducing the total number of films shown by around 20%. In downsizing, the festival now focuses on world premieres such as Steve McQueen's "Widows", Mia Hansen-Love's "Maya", Michael Winterbottom's "The Wedding Guest", Nicole Holofcener’s "The Land of Steady Habits", and "If Beale Street Could Talk", Barry Jenkins' adaptation of the James Baldwin novel. Included in the list of gala presentations were the English-language debuts of two renowned European auteurs, Claire Denis ("High Life") and Felix van Groeningen ("Beautiful Boy").
TIFF has also announced a popular new initiative: "Share Her Journey", a five-year campaign which provides professional support and funding for women in film, with the aim of creating parity in the industry and diversity in movies. (Lesley Chow)
Our jury presented two prizes: to a film in the "Discovery" section and to a film in the "Special Presentations" series – honoring both a new and a well-known filmmaker.