Cameron Bailey aims for more walkable TIFF in 2017

TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey discusses plans to make September’s annual Toronto International Film Festival a leaner but not meaner event.

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If there’s a new spring in the step of Cameron Bailey, TIFF’s artistic director, there are two good reasons for it.

The first is the happy surprise of the Best Picture win for Moonlight at last Sunday’s Academy Awards. Bailey selected Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age phenomenon to make its international premiere in the Platform section of the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, brilliantly fulfilling the new program’s mandate to seek out and showcase fresh talent.

Moonlight is screening at TIFF Bell Lightbox, the festival’s HQ at King and John Sts., marking the first time since the facility opened in 2010 that a film’s Lightbox run coincided with its Best Picture crowning.

“It’s still playing!” a delighted Bailey says in an interview in a TIFF meeting room.

“We’ve never had a Best Picture Oscar winner on a run in the building, so that’s amazing.”

The second reason for Bailey’s joyful motion is he’s eager to get TIFF goers back on the good foot. The festival announced major changes last week, among them a 20 per cent reduction in films shown — more on that in a second — and a farewell to Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema and the Isabel Bader Theatre as fest screening venues.

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