Montreal's JFL plans Toronto version


TORONTO -- Montreal's Just for Laughs comedy festival on Wednesday will unveil plans for a summer comedy festival in Toronto to launch in July.

Executives at Just For Laughs were tight-lipped Monday about their plans for Toronto, but a press conference that includes Toronto mayor David Miller, JFL president and founder Gilbert Rozon and JFL chief operating officer Bruce Hills has been called for Wednesday afternoon.

The Montreal comedy festival, which annually helps Los Angeles talent scouts find talent for Hollywood movies and U.S. network shows, has long staged touring shows in Toronto.

But Toronto city councillors in late January approved a CAN$500,000 ($427,000) loan to launch the Toronto Just for Laughs comedy festival, in partnership with Just For Laughs.

As part of the deal, the Just For Laughs group will run the inaugural Toronto festival, to run July 19-July 22, just ahead of the English-language section of the Montreal-based festival.

The city of Toronto in turn will help bankroll the comedy festival, which anticipates an annual budget of about CAN$3 million ($2.56 million).

"While the Toronto Just for Laughs Comedy Festival is forecast to incur a deficit in the first years of operation, the parent organization (Juste Pour Rire Inc.) is committed to establishing a market presence in Toronto and in prepared to cover all shortfalls," the budget committee at city hall in Toronto said in a Jan. 29 report.