Reitmans donate $20 mil to Toronto fest


TORONTO -- Producer Ivan Reitman and his two sisters on Thursday gave the Toronto International Film Festival a CAN$22 million ($20.75 million) noncash gift to help build a new year-round home.

Reitman, a Toronto native, and his sisters, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels, donated downtown land valued at CAN$17 million ($16 million), on which the Bell Lightbox festival headquarters is being built.

The Reitman family also waived CAN$5 million ($4.7 million) in management fees stemming from their participation in the consortium developing the new headquarters.

The Reitman children first proposed building a condominium tower and year-round home for the festival on the land in 2002. Originally purchased by their parents, it has served as a commercial parking lot for decades.

"Our father had a vision for this piece of land many years ago. My sisters and I are honoring our parents Leslie and Clara Reitman with our association with the Toronto International Film Festival Group," Reitman said in a statement.

The gift comes as Reitman's son, Jason, saw his latest movie, "Juno," bow this week in Toronto to critical acclaim.

It's also timely. Toronto is looking to close the gap between the CAN$137 million ($130 million) it has raised to date and the CAN$196 million ($185 million) in capital required to complete the project by September 2009 as planned.