TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL GROUP LAYS OFF 31 FULL-TIME STAFFERS

'TIFF employees are respected team members and this is a heartbreaking decision,' say co-heads

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Organizers of the Toronto International Film Festival have announced they are laying off 31 employees, a 17 per cent cut of the organization’s full-time staff, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision is in response to the “devastating” impact COVID-19 has had on regular operations, co-heads Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“We wish there was another way,” they said. “All TIFF employees are respected team members and this is a heartbreaking decision.”

The company, which hosts a prestigious annual film festival every September and screens movies and offers other programming year-round, has forecasted its 2020 revenue will be 50 per cent less than 2019.

Tuesday’s announcement comes after TIFF cut 15 employees in November after what it called “a comprehensive review” of its five-year strategic plan.

To aid with its current financial difficulties, the company has enacted a host of measures, according to the statement. These include cutting salaries at the executive, senior management and management levels, cancelling discretionary projects, reducing expenses, launching a new fundraising campaign and tapping into the federal pandemic wage subsidy where applicable.

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