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Toronto fest adds new faces

New progammers for Canadian Features. docs

TORONTO — With the pressure on the Toronto fest, co-directors Piers Handling and Cameron Bailey mixed in a few new faces among the vets on the 2010 programming team announced Tuesday.

Not only is the fest set to move operations to the downtown hub around the Bell Lightbox, its towering new headquarters, but with so many prime titles not quite ready for Cannes some pundits are predicting a banner year. (The Lightbox won’t be ready for red-carpet preems by September — last year’s venues are still in action — but expect exclusive parties and select cinematic events.)

Wading through the vast swath of international fare, fest topper Handling takes the U.K., France, Italy and Poland while globe-trotting Bailey hits the U.S., Europe, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The group is rounded out by vets Dimitri Eipides (Iran, Eastern and Central Europe), Giovanna Fulvi (East and Southwest Asia), Colin Geddes (Midnight Madness), Jane Schoettle (Australia, New Zealand, Israel, U.S. indies), Diana Sanchez (Spain, Portugal and Latin America) and festival chief operating officer Michèle Maheux.

Thom Powers programs international docus and the Mavericks discussion series program, while Kate Lawrie Van de Van steps in this year to work with Bailey on City to City (the inaugural edish last year was a hot potato with its spotlight on Tel Aviv).

Canadian features will be viewed by two new pairs of eyes — Montreal film critic Martin Bilodeau and former Short Cuts programmer Agata Smoluch del Sorbo — joining longtime fest staffer Steve Gravestock, who also programs Scandinavian and Dutch films. Short Cut Canada pics will be chosen by staffers Alex Rogalski and Magali Simard.

Wavelengths programmer Andréa Picard will also contribute to Visions this year, while the expanding Sprockets Family Zone is handled by the fest’s co-directors of learning Allen Braude and Elizabeth Muskala.

And former festival director Noah Cowan, now Lightbox artistic director, curates Future Projections, the ambitious visual arts-cinema mashup. Lightbox officially opens for biz later this fall with the fest’s expanded year-round programming.

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