Canadian TV and film veteran is new director of programming

The Whistler Film Festival has appointed Toronto film and TV industry veteran Paul Gratton as its new director of programming.

Gratton will direct the fest’s film and industry programming and year-round initiatives, working between Toronto and British Columbia.

He replaces Stacey Donen, who will continue as programming director at Toronto’s indie film venue the Royal and pursue new endeavors.

“Paul is truly passionate about film, highly experienced and has built a solid reputation during his prolific career with filmmakers, industry and audiences alike,” said fest executive director Shauna Hardy Mishaw. “Paul will be our ambassador both in Canada and abroad, leading us towards our vision of being one of the world’s top festivals.”Gratton is former VP of Chum’s entertainment specialty channels, overseeing the development of Bravo and Space (now owned by Bell Media), and served as VP of Super Channel and First Choice during the first decade of pay TV in Canada. He was CEO of the Ontario Film Development Corp. from 1990-93 and has chaired and served on the boards of numerous Canadian industry organizations.

Since leaving Chum in 2007, Gratton — a film buff who has kept detailed notes on over 19,000 features — has worked as a film and TV industry consultant for government agencies and private companies.

Calling Whistler a “film and filmmaker-friendly festival” that offers accessibility to talent akin to Sundance in its early days, Gratton said, “Whistler has carefully built a hip reputation in its first dozen years, and it is on the cusp of becoming a major fall festival event for both the industry and public.”

Based in the mountain resort two hours north of Vancouver, Whistler screens 80-plus films, including world preems, to an aud of 8,200 including 500-plus industryites.

The 12th Whistler Film Festival and Summit runs Nov. 28-Dec. 2.

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