Cameron Bailey and Piers Handling on their last TIFF together

It’s the end of an era for the Toronto International Film Festival — and also the beginning of one.

Piers Handling, left, is stepping down as CEO after next month’s Toronto International Film Festival, his 41st, while Cameron Bailey, who was hired by Handling in 1990, will become “co-head.” (RICHARD LAUTENS / TORONTO STAR)

It’s the end of an era for the Toronto International Film Festival — and also the beginning of one.

Outgoing TIFF boss Piers Handling and incoming boss Cameron Bailey sit together for an interview with the Star at TIFF Bell Lightbox, as they have many times before, to talk about the film offerings for their annual cinema celebration, which this year runs Sept. 6 to 16.

This time it’s different. This will be among the last occasions the two meet the press together.

Handling, 69, is stepping down as TIFF director and CEO after next month’s fest, which will be the 41st he’s attended — he’s missed just two of the 43 editions.

Bailey, 55, currently TIFF’s artistic director, will assume the new title of “co-head” come Oct. 1, splitting the top job with a person to be named shortly. Bailey will concentrate on programming, as he’s done for many years — he and Handling once shared the title of “co-director” of the fest. The other new co-head will deal more with the financial aspects of TIFF’s year-round operations, which each year attracts nearly 3 million attendees and $189 million in economic benefits for Toronto.

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