Toronto artist sues Ivan Reitman's condo developer

Files $950,000 suit over unpaid commissioned artwork

TORONTO -- Hollywood producer Ivan Reitman's condo development adjoining the Toronto International Film Festival's new headquarters faces a lawsuit from a local artist whose work is to adorn the entrance way.

The Toronto Star newspaper reported Toronto experimental artist and filmmaker Michael Snow seeks $950,000 in damages from Reitman, property developer Daniels Corp. and its joint venture, King John Festival Corp.

The breach of contract suit alleges Festival Tower, the condo development next to Bell Lightbox, TIFF's year-round headquarters to open September 12, commissioned Snow to complete a floor-to-ceiling piece of art, Tower of Film, for which he had not been fully paid.

Snow's films have screened at the Toronto festival, which will unspool a new print of his 1967 film "Wavelength" during its upcoming September 9-19 edition, followed by an onstage discussion with the Toronto artist.

"I am angry and very disappointed at how what was a very positive project has turned out to this point," Snow said in a statement in the Toronto Star.

Neall Haggart, executive vp of Daniels Corp., told the newspaper that the development has not signed a contract with Snow, and that the dispute will need to be settled in the courts.

Seven years in the making, Bell Lightbox is a partnership between Ivan Reitman and his family, TIFF and the Daniels Group.

After Toronto sought local developer interest for a new headquarters, Reitman and his two sisters first proposed building a condominium tower and year-round home for the festival on family-owned land in 2002.

Originally purchased by their parents, the downtown plot of land served as a commercial parking lot for decades.