Toronto Film Festival's Piers Handling to Step Down

Piers Handling TIFF40 - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of TIFF

After 36 years with the organization, its long-running director and CEO will give up the reins after the 2018 edition of the festival.

Piers Handling, who in his 36 years with the Toronto International Film Festival has transformed it from a regional event into one of the largest and most influential annual film gatherings in the world, will be stepping down from his posts as director and CEO after the 2018 edition of the festival.

Handling made the announcement Saturday, just a few days before this year's event kicks off on Thursday.

Having joined the organization in 1982 and served as CEO for the past 23 years, Handling led the initiative to expand TIFF from an annual 10-day event into year-round programming, made the event into one of the most important stops on the international festival circuit on a level with Cannes, Venice and Berlin and led the campaign to create the festival's permanent home, the TIFF Bell Lightbox. In recent times, TIFF has also become one of the key springboards for new Hollywood and international films during the awards season.

"Because of Piers' leadership, TIFF is the leading cultural organization it is today, with a global reach and imprint. We are all indebted to him for his years of vision, innovation and dedication to the art of film," Jennifer Tory, chair of the board of directors of TIFF, said in a statement.