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Piers Handling Announces 2018 Will Be His Final Year at TIFF

Handling leaves behind unparalleled legacy of accomplishments and innovation


Piers Handling, Director and CEO of TIFF, announced today 2018 will be his final year leading the Toronto International Film Festival®. After almost 25 years at the helm of one of Canada’s most important cultural organizations Piers will leave behind an unparalleled legacy of accomplishments and innovation.

“Because of Piers’ leadership, TIFF is the leading cultural organization it is today, with a global reach and impact,” said Jennifer Tory, Chair of the Board of Directors of TIFF. “We are all indebted to him for his years of vision, innovation and dedication to the art of film.”

Handling’s tenure at TIFF has been both ground-breaking and prolific, with career highlights including:

  • Growing TIFF from a 10-day event into a thriving year-round arts organization with global impact;
  • Leading the Festival into the top tier of internationally recognized film events;
  • Leading and mentoring a strong and seasoned team of executives and management and a passionate and dedicated staff;
  • Supporting the careers of many Canadian and international filmmakers, including David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, Deepa Mehta, Guy Maddin, Denys Arcand, Denis Villeneuve, Jean-Marc Vallee, François Girard, Xavier Dolan, Michael Haneke, Danny Boyle, Kathryn Bigelow, Nanni Moretti, Agnieszka Holland, Abbas Kiarostami, Alfonso Cuarón, Jonathan Glazer, Antoine Fuqua, Pedro Almodóvar, Aki Kaurismäki, Patricia Rozema, Jennifer Baichwal, Guillermo Del Toro, Steven Soderbergh; and many others.
  • Leading the campaign to design, fund and build TIFF Bell Lightbox, a permanent home for TIFF and film, now a cornerstone of engaging and innovative programming for audiences and professionals, here and around the world.

“I joined the festival in 1982 and have been CEO for the past 23 years. I am incredibly proud of the legacy we have achieved during that time. I am completely confident in the future of TIFF. It is now one of the most important film organizations in the world,” said Handling. “We have an exciting and bold new strategic plan — Audience First. While I am excited about what the future holds in store for me, my immediate focus remains leading this wonderful organization through to the end of 2018, and ensuring that TIFF continues to inspire audiences and celebrate the riches of cinema from all over the globe.”

In recognition of his many contributions, Handling has achieved some of the highest honours afforded to cultural leaders, including Officer of the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, France’s highest cultural insignia “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres”, CEO of the Year by the Canadian Public Relations Society, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award, the Human Rights Watch Award, and in November he will be recognized by Business for the Arts with the Peter Herrndorf Arts Leadership Award. He also holds five Honorary Doctorates from the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, Ryerson University, York University and OCAD University.

Over the coming months, TIFF’s Board of Directors will begin the process of identifying and selecting a new Chief Executive Officer. More information about this transition process will be shared as we move into 2018.

About TIFF

TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world, through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more information, visit

The Toronto International Film Festival is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, L’Oréal Paris and Visa, and Major Supporters the Government of Ontario, Telefilm Canada and the City of Toronto.

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