Toronto film fest boss stays cool under pressure

Thu Sep 2, 2010 11:05pm EDT
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By Etan Vlessing

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - The famously unflappable Cameron Bailey is looking a touch puzzled, and has for weeks.

The Toronto International Film Festival co-director is standing in his Carlton Street office, studying a giant film schedule as if it were an abstract gallery painting.

Toronto might land the cream of the crop of studio awards players and indie acquisition titles, but Bailey and his team have wrestled for weeks with how to schedule 247 star-driven films -- 112 of them world premieres -- over an 11-day movie marathon beginning September 9.

Bailey tilts his head from side to side to make sure he sees each film's possible permutations: dates, running times, age ratings, Hollywood star power (and the circus that goes with it), house sizes.

It's a film festival chess board for one of the world's most well-attended events, and Bailey and his team are attempting to think five steps ahead.

His dedicated assistants scribble on pads in an effort to help him resolve an immediate challenge: Removing a third public screening for a U.S. indie drama, and adding one more for a star-driven Midnight Madness title.

"Can we do a clean switch?" he asks.

After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, an aide offers the unfortunate reality: Not at this hour.   Continued...