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Noah Cowan to Leave Toronto International Film Festival for U.S. Gig

The Bell Lightbox artistic director is headed to a major U.S. film post yet unnamed due to "immigration reasons," according to TIFF CEO Piers Handling.

TORONTO – Noah Cowan, head of the Toronto International Film Festival's year-round home, is leaving to likely head up an unnamed U.S. film festival.

TIFF CEO Piers Handling announced the departure to festival staff on Wednesday as part of an internal email obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

"I wanted to share with all of you some exciting and sad news -- exciting for Noah but sad for TIFF,” Handling said.

"After more than 10 years in senior roles here at TIFF, Noah will be leaving us to accept an incredible new position in the United States," he added.

Handling added that "immigration reasons" bar TIFF from revealing where Cowan will land in the U.S.

"Off to Sundance to catch up on all the great films ... and off to a new life soon after ... it's been quite a week," a coy Cowan said on his Twitter account, where he refused to confirm or deny reports that he was bound for the U.S. for a more permanent posting.

Cowan returned to Toronto in 2004 to become co-director of TIFF after running a film distribution outfit in New York City.

He subsequently became artistic director of Bell Lightbox, where he led the film and event curation of TIFF's headquarters in downtown Toronto.

Handling indicated no immediate plans to replace Cowan at Bell Lightbox, indicating instead that he would take "this opportunity to pause and reflect on the broader goals and strategic priorities for the organization from a staffing standpoint."