Magazine article Screen International

Toronto 2015: Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director

Magazine article Screen International

Toronto 2015: Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director

Article excerpt

Jean-Marc Vallée and Toronto go way back, and their latest convergence, suggests artistic director Cameron Bailey, is so natural that military-style planning stretching back many years could not have come up with a better match.

"If we had to go out and make a film ourselves for opening night, I don't think we could have made a better prospect," Bailey says with a chuckle. "It's a Canadian film-maker whose work we have shown for many years. He's closed the festival with The Young Victoria [2009] and been here the last two years with really strong films [Wild in 2014 and Dallas Buyers Club in 2013] and so to have this was kind of perfect for us."

Demolition's star Jake Gyllenhaal is no stranger to the festival, either. Last year, Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler world-premiered in Toronto and Gyllenhaal has been on hand for the TIFF launches of, among others, David Ayer's End Of Watch and Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners. "For Prisoners, he took part in an on-stage conversation with Denis," says Bailey. "He feels very much at home here."

It is a little under one month to go before the 40th anniversary edition begins and if Bailey is feeling the heat readying the biggest film festival in North America, he does not let on during a stolen conversation with Screen. While he is widely admired as an urbane and good-humoured film scholar, that shouldn't overlook the keen intellect and pride in his team and film-maker guests that ensures Bailey keeps a watchful eye on Toronto's global standing.

A question of rivalry

He pauses when asked to consider the tumultuous autumn festival trifecta. Venice and Telluride can be noisy neighbours on the calendar. So too can Toronto. "There has been a lot more attention paid to a so-called rivalry among Venice, Telluride and Toronto; I think, in large part, it's a media story," Bailey insists.

"It's attractive as a story but that's not how it works. Alberto [Barbera, Venice festival director] is a long-time friend of Piers [Handling, TIFF director and CEO]. The two festivals sit down at Cannes and we meet in Berlin if we can. We talk about our festivals and films; it's always been a very collegial relationship.

"I agree that too much attention is paid to where and when and how films are premiering and maybe that's something we can all highlight less," Bailey adds, in response to comments Barbera made to Screen about Toronto's "aggressive" stance towards its autumn rivals. …

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