Friday, July 19, 2019
  • Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018
Joana Vicente Named Exec Director & Co-Head of Toronto International Film Festival
Joana Vicente (photo courtesy of TIFF)
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Joana Vicente has been named executive director and co-head of the Toronto International Film Festival, effective November 1, 2018. Vicente, perhaps best known for her tenure as executive director of the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), joins Cameron Bailey, who was previously announced as the artistic director and co-head, effective October 1, 2018. They will succeed Piers Handling who is stepping down as TIFF CEO and director after nearly 25 years at the helm. Back in July 2017, Handling announced that 2018 would be his final year leading the Toronto International Film Festival, which gets underway on Sept. 6 and runs through Sept. 16.

Vicente and Bailey will report directly to the TIFF board of directors. TIFF is a charitable cultural organization with projects that include the annual Toronto International Film Fest; TIFF Bell Lightbox which features five cinemas; major exhibitions; learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit.

Since December 2009, Vicente has served as the executive director of the not-for-profit IFP, the oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers in the U.S.  Vicente was instrumental in the exponential growth of the organization, which fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through such year-round programs as the Independent Film Week, Filmmaker Magazine, the IFP Gotham Awards, and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP. Vicente was the driving force behind the creation of the Made in NY Media Center, overseeing the development and construction of the facility in 11 months, from scouting out real estate, to raising an additional $2 million to supplement the City’s grant of $3 million, to attracting sponsors and donors. The state-of-the-art media center aims to bring together professionals from the film, television, advertising, new media, gaming, marketing, and branding industries for collaboration and new opportunities.

Vicente, who speaks five languages, is a prominent figure in the New York film industry, having produced over 40 films and founded three production companies, including the first US digital production company as well as the first HD production/international distribution studio in the U.S. Vicente is a recipient of the “Made in New York Award,” which recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the growth of NYC’s media and entertainment industries.

IFP and TIFF are working collaboratively to support a positive leadership transition for both organizations, including Vicente attending this year’s Festival in Toronto and continuing to oversee the production and execution of this year’s IFP Gotham Awards taking place November 26 in New York.

Jennifer Tory, chair of the TIFF board of directors, said, “The hiring committee was deeply impressed with Joana’s combined history as a producer, a champion of independent filmmakers, and with her success in fundraising and partnerships. Her extensive knowledge of the changing global film landscape solidified the decision. The board is confident that Joana and Cameron are the perfect duo to take TIFF into the future.”

Bailey related, “Joana thinks big and thinks globally, which makes her an ideal partner. She complements strategic thinking with strong relationships built over years in the not-for-profit sector, and as a film producer. Her combined expertise as a leader, a manager, and a creator will be an invaluable asset to TIFF. I’m looking forward to working together with Joana to keep TIFF at the forefront of our industry’s change.”

Vicente stated, “I’ve always looked to TIFF as a prominent international platform for world cinema, with an impact that is both local and global. Cameron’s artistic vision is inspiring and I look forward to working with him and with the passionate team at TIFF to expand the organization at an exciting moment in our ever-changing media landscape.”


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