CEO of Toronto International Film Festival Talks Community, Film, Taylor Swift 

December 12, 2023

Cameron Bailey delivered two powerful lectures at Trent University as part of the Community Speaker Series

Image of Cameron Bailey Lecture

Cameron Bailey, CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), delivered a captivating lecture on 'Creating an Urban Cultural Hub' at both Trent University Durham GTA and Trent University Peterborough Campus on November 23, 2023, as part of the ongoing Community Speaker Series. Bailey headlined the Tapscott-Lopes Business and Society Lecture, generously supported by former Trent University chancellor Dr. Don Tapscott ‘66 and Trent governor emerita Dr. Ana Lopes ’18 (hon).  

TIFF, the world's largest public film festival, has provided diverse programming to an international audience for 48 years. Bailey, named one of the 50 Most Influential Torontonians by Toronto Life for 11 consecutive years (2012 – 2023), joined TIFF in 1990 as a seasonal programmer. He spent more than a decade as a festival programmer before being named artistic director and co-head. In 2021, Bailey assumed the role of CEO. 

During the lecture, Bailey focused on answering 20 questions, sharing insights into his experiences with TIFF and delving into the broader impact of film on society. The questions covered a spectrum, from light-hearted inquiries like “Why are old movies so slow?” and “What movie stars have you met?” to more profound discussions on leading TIFF as a Black man and the role of movies in understanding the world. Bailey’s answer to the final question “What’s Taylor Swift like?” – simply “She’s amazing.”  

The much-anticipated lecture drew students, staff, and members of the Peterborough arts community, including Trent University Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Su Ditta '73 (Peter Robinson College). A vanguard herself, Ditta has shaped Peterborough’s rich film festival history with events like Canadian Images and Reframe, and as executive director of the Electric City Culture Council (EC3).  

“Having someone as accomplished as Cameron Bailey speak in Peterborough presented a fantastic opportunity for our local arts community to unite and reflect on the value and importance of film as a social change agent,” commented Ditta. “Cameron’s lecture was totally engaging, and his distinguished role as a Canadian Black arts leader with a global vision, provided unique insights into the powerful communities that form when we work together towards creating dynamic cultural hubs for the arts.” 

Bailey’s lecture highlighted the transformative power of film, emphasizing that the best movies evoke emotion, surprise, intensity, and a unique point of view. At their core, films can forge a community, uniting strangers through shared experiences and emotions. 

View the full line up and register for upcoming Community Speaker Series lectures. Be sure to update your alumni contact information by emailing alumni@trentu.ca so you don’t miss out on future events.