TIFF shakes up its programming team <br />

Focus is toward homegrown Canadian filmmakers

TORONTO -- The Toronto International Film Festival has shaken up its Canadian programming team in a bid to shift the focus this September toward homegrown filmmakers and away from Hollywood celebrities.

Toronto CBC radio host Jesse Wente and Montreal film writer Matthew Hays have been replaced selecting Canadian features at TIFF with Martin Bilodeau, a Le Devoir film critic and columnist, and festival short film programmer Agata Smoluch del Sorbo moving up to features.

Steve Gravestock, associate director of Canadian programming, will continue programming Canadian features, along with films from Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

Also on Canadian film duty is Alex Rogalski and Quebec market specialist Magali Simard programming the Short Cuts Canada sidebar.

The Canadian features programmers have a challenge on their hands. English-language Canadian features account for barely 1% of screen time at local multiplexes, and Hollywood and other foreign actors and directors continue to rule the red carpet and film-going choices at TIFF.

Aside from the Canadian film assignments, Toronto's programming team this September remains intact. Piers Handling will program films from Britain, France, Italy and Poland, while Cameron Bailey will select indie films from the U.S., Europe, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Kate Lawrie Van de Ven is back for another tour of duty programming the City to City spotlight series with Bailey. Last year's inaugural program showcasing films from Tel Aviv blew up in the face of TIFF organizers when opposing Hollywood actors and directors dueled over whether the Canadian festival was helping polish Israel's international reputation.

And the international film programming team at TIFF this year will comprise Dimitri Eipides, Giovanna Fulvi, Colin Geddes, Michele Maheux, Diana Sanchez and Jane Schoettle.
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