• Thursday, Mar. 21, 2019
People on the Move
Sanchez named sr. director, Film at TIFF; Ryan, Frees promoted to VP roles
Diana Sanchez (George Pimentel WireImage Getty for TIFF)
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Diana Sanchez has been appointed to the newly created role of sr. director, Film, at TIFF effective April 15. Sanchez will oversee the programming strategy for the Toronto International Film Festival; TIFF Cinematheque; Film Circuit, the organization’s nationwide film network; and theatrical release programming at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Sanchez has a long-standing relationship with TIFF that began in the Festival’s guest office in 1998. A lover of Spanish-language cinema, she has been responsible for selecting the Festival’s films from Latin America, Spain, and Portugal since 2002. In that time, Sanchez has developed strong relationships with a wide range of filmmakers, including Pedro Almodóvar, Lucrecia Martel, Guillermo del Toro, and Sebastián Lelio. In addition to her work at TIFF, Sanchez has worked as the artistic director of the Panama Film Festival since its inception in 2011, and programmed for the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Miami Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Latino Film Festival, where she served as programming director. 

“The senior director of Film position was created to bring our curatorial strategies for the Festival and year-round film programming closer together,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF artistic director and co-head. “Diana and I will work with film programming teams to amplify the cumulative impact of TIFF’s singular resources: a prominent film festival, a globally respected cinematheque, one of the best art-house cinemas in the world, and a national network of Film Circuit groups that reaches film lovers and knowledge seekers across Canada.”

On the operational and revenue-generating side of TIFF, Laura Ryan, who has been with the organization for four years, takes on the role of VP, Visitor Experience. Ryan’s responsibility encompasses all teams that curate customer experience at every touchpoint at TIFF, which include the event, technical production, ticketing operations, retail, and customer service teams. Prior to TIFF, Ryan worked in Finance and IT, leading groups responsible for sales and customer service globally.

Jennifer Frees takes on the role of VP, Partnerships, which oversees over 100 partner accounts. Frees, who has been at TIFF for eight years, will continue to provide senior sales, negotiation, and property-development direction for the organization’s corporate, festival, event and hospitality partnerships. Under her direction, TIFF Partnerships has become one of the most successful partner programmes in the film festival world. 

Joana Vicente, TIFF executive director and co-head, said of Ryan and Frees, “Both of these individuals possess an incredible business acumen and overall leadership vision that will benefit the organization for years to come. Their hard work is a large part of the current day success of TIFF, and we are privileged to have their voices on the senior management team.”

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