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TIFF's Artistic Director Shares His Favorite Places

Cameron Bailey, the artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, discusses his top spots around the world to host a premiere party, to entertain sponsors, to get inspired, and more.

Emirates Palace

Photo: Courtesy of Emirates Palace

Cameron Bailey is the artistic ­director of the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from September 4 to 14. While the festival itself is headquartered at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, after-­parties, sponsor activations, and other industry events are spread across the entire city. Bailey, who has programmed the festival since 1990, travels the globe to assemble the slate of films that make the festival a blockbuster event. Here are his favorite places.

To Entertain Sponsors
Ghostbusters director and former Torontonian Ivan Reitman opened a new restaurant steps from the TIFF Bell Lightbox. It's called Montecito after his California home. Reitman and chef Jonathan Waxman have turned it into something special.

To Get Inspired
Barbados. Almost anywhere in Barbados. I draw the most strength from Rock Dundo, the village where I lived as a child, and also from the roaring waves and wind along the east coast.

For My Favorite Meal
This has to be local, humble, and perfect. Pai is a new favorite. It has terrific, inventive food from Southeast Asia. Pat's Homestyle Jamaican is my go-to for Caribbean heat.

For Outdoor Entertaining
Any roof bar of any Soho House works for me: Toronto, Los Angeles, or especially the original in London.

For an Intimate Meeting
The Deq bar at Toronto's Ritz-Carlton remains one of my favorite places, especially close to the fireplace. Cozy, Canadian warmth.

For a Premiere Party
It's hard to top the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi for spectacular film festival parties. I'd hate to see anyone try.

To See a Film Festival Outside of Toronto
I've had memorable visits to the film festivals in Zanzibar, [Tanzania]; Reykjavik, [Iceland]; and Beijing, but I've been attending the Berlin International Film Festival for two decades and still love to return to those streets.

For Watching Old Movies
The cinemas at our own TIFF Bell Lightbox are some of the best screening environments in the world. We spent a lot of time getting the sound, the projection, and the seats just right.

For a Small Screening
I'm loving the British Film Institute's renovation of its Stephen Street space. A very good screening room downstairs and a cool resto-bar upstairs. This year we saw some great U.K. films there that we ended up selecting for the festival.

To Unplug
Any place I can have a serene view of water works for me. I love the views on Georgian Bay, and I've spent very happy days on Manitoulin Island, [both in Ontario].

To Relax After TIFF
A morning spent at the Shangri-La Hotel fitness center followed by breakfast in the lobby lounge gives me the most beautiful feeling of peace.


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