By Leila Monteiro Lins | Published 28/08/2020
The Toronto Film Festival has tapped Joana Vicente as its new executive director & co-head. She joins Cameron Bailey, who was previously announced as TIFF’s artistic director & co-head.
Born in the then Portuguese colony of Macao and raised in Mozambique, Vicente met her husband Kliot while studying in Lisbon, Portugal. Later the couple moved to New York and began working in film. Huge supporters of digital film, which they saw as driving down the cost of filmmaking, they launched an all-digital film production company, HDnet Films, with billionaires Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner. One of their first projects—Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room—received an Oscar nod.
Vicente, who previously served as Executive Director of the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), joins Cameron Bailey, who was previously announced as the Artistic Director & Co-Head. Both will report directly to the Board.
“After an extensive search for a Co-Head we are thrilled to welcome Joana to the new role and to the TIFF family,” said Jennifer Tory. “The hiring committee was deeply impressed with Joana’s combined history as a producer, a champion of independent filmmakers, and with her success in fundraising and partnerships. Her extensive knowledge of the changing global film landscape solidified the decision. The Board is confident that Joana and Cameron are the perfect duo to take TIFF into the future.
“Joana thinks big and thinks globally, which makes her an ideal partner,” said Cameron Bailey. “She complements strategic thinking with strong relationships built over years in the not-for-profit sector, and as a film producer. Her combined expertise as a leader, a manager, and a creator will be an invaluable asset to TIFF. I’m looking forward to working together with Joana to keep TIFF at the forefront of our industry’s change.”
Vicente, who was unavailable for an interview, said in a statement:“I’ve always looked to TIFF as a prominent international platform for world cinema, with an impact that is both local and global,” said Joana Vicente. “Cameron’s artistic vision is inspiring and I look forward to working with him and with the passionate team at TIFF to expand the organization at an exciting moment in our ever-changing media landscape.”
The new Executive Director, who speaks five languages, is a prominent figure in the New York film industry, having produced over 40 films and founded three production companies, including the first US digital production company as well as the first HD production/international distribution studio in the US. Vicente was named by Variety as one of the 60 Most Influential People in New York, and was named to Variety’s Women’s Impact List. She is a recipient of the “Made in New York Award,” which recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the growth of NYC’s media and entertainment industries. IFP and TIFF are working collaboratively to support a positive leadership transition for both organizations, including Vicente attending this year’s Festival in Toronto and continuing to oversee the production and execution of this year’s IFP Gotham Awards taking place November 26 in New York.