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TIFF Announces Layoffs As Long Term Strategies Are Reviewed

15 employees have been laid off as film festival organization rethinks its ”Audience First“ plan

The Toronto International Film Festival has laid off 15 employees as the organization rethinks its long term plans, a spokesperson said Wednesday.

“In recent months, TIFF undertook a comprehensive review of its ‘Audience First’ strategic plan and operating model, to evaluate where we are as an organization relative to our stated goals,” the spokesperson said in a statement provided to TheWrap.

Announced in 2017 following the retirement of longtime CEO Piers Handling, the “Audience First” plan was designed to expand TIFF beyond its annual September film festival and create more “transformative experiences through film” year round. New Executive Director Joana Vicente is overseeing the project with TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey, and it’s designed to help the festival navigate the widespread transition of moviegoing from cinemas to streaming.

Among the events included in the plan was the Toronto Film Festival Tribute Gala, a fundraiser for TIFF that launched at this year’s festival and featured Meryl Streep, Joaquin Phoenix and Taika Waititi as its initial guests of honor.

“As a normal course of business, we recalibrated our strategic plan to achieve optimal impact and be more efficient,” TIFF said.  “The TIFF team is working over the next few months on the implementation of this refocused plan. We will have more details to share in the spring.”