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Caroline Wozniacki's rollercoaster year of highs and lows

Having been so close to clinching her maiden grand slam title for so many years, but ultimately always falling short, many thought the increasing pressure of Caroline Wozniacki's near misses would see her never win a major.

19th, April 2018, 11:24pm

Cameron Bailey to become ‘co-head’ of TIFF

Cameron Bailey is to become the new “co-head” of the Toronto International Film Festival, which is sort of the job he had at the organization from 2008-12. Bailey will keep his current job of TIFF’s artistic director, but assume an expanded leadership role under the title of artistic director and co-head, effective Oct. 1.Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Not exactly, because nothing is ever simple at TIFF.If you buy the line coming out of festival headquarters at King and Johns Sts., the new/old role for the indispensable Bailey is part of a fresh approach by an organization challenged by the changing habits of moviegoers.The most recent available figures, for 2016, show a 27 per cent decline in yearly attendance for TIFF Bell Lightbox attractions and a drop of 3,000 attendees for the September festival, a reversal of fortune that has prompted a corporate rethink.Bailey won’t be sharing the top job with current TIFF director/CEO Piers Handling, as the two did from 2008-12 when they reigned as festival co-directors. Handling is retiring from TIFF at the end of this year, 36 years after he arrived, in a change announced last September just before the star of the fest’s 42nd edition.Instead, Bailey will share the leadership with a new managing director and co-head who has yet to be named. An international search is underway to find a qualified person, whose mandate will be to keep the lights on at TIFF, so to speak, leaving the artistic brainstorming to Bailey.The change will mean a lot more work for longtime TIFF stalwart Bailey, whose primary concern during his co-directing years with Handling was the 11-day September festival.As TIFF co-head, he’ll be running a multi-faceted concern, officially registered as a charity, that now employs 200 full-time staffers and has annual budget of $49 million.The unflappable Bailey is taking it all in stride, as usual, joking about all the extra work he’s taking on.“As they say in the Spider-Man comic book, ‘With great power comes great responsibility!’ ” he said in an interview Thursday.“I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been doing a lot of this work already. Now I think that the major change is to make sure that all of our programming — the festival, our learning programs, our theatrical releases, our Cinematheque, everything that we do — is all working in the same direction to serve this incredible audience that we have and to use all of the tools of TIFF to do that. We want to keep our audience really engaged and excited.”He’s not planning any wholesale changes from the vision of TIFF developed over recent decades by the outgoing Handling.Instead he’ll “build on the legacy that Piers has built. Piers established Toronto as a film city, in everything that he and his colleagues were doing at TIFF years ago, when it was just a festival. Then there was taking on the Cinematheque and moving into (TIFF Bell Lightbox) and having a permanent location to open our doors to audiences every day. That’s something that I really want to make sure that we protect and we help to grow. It’s a big responsibility and I take it really seriously.”There are already plans to revitalize TIFF Bell Lightbox, which still looks more like an office building than a temple of movie worship, nearly eight years after it opened.“We’re in the really early stages, so I can’t give you specifics, but what I can say is that I want to see a place that when you walk in, you immediately know what’s on offer there. You feel like it’s a place where you want to stay, regardless of what is happening on that particular day. It’s just a great space to spend time and it’s a place you want to come back to regularly … that’s something I don’t think we’re fully at yet, but that’s where we’re going to get.”Bailey isn’t daunted by the rise of Netflix and other online streaming services, which many people in the movie industry — including Steven Spielberg and the Cannes Film Festival — see as a threat to the future of big-screen theatrical entertainment.Netflix films have and will continue to screen at TIFF. Bailey feels the two can peacefully coexist.“I’m looking for great movies by great filmmakers and a lot of them are being made through streaming services these days ... It’s not necessarily a threat to the theatrical experience; both things can happen.”The phenomenal success of films like Black Panther, Get Out and A Quiet Place demonstrate there’s still a huge demand for the big-screen experience, Bailey said, and that includes such arthouse offerings such as Call Me by Your Name and Moonlight, which did very well at TIFF Bell Lightbox.“I think people are always going to want to share experiences with other people. They’re always going to want to share that discovery of a new movie.”Bailey will soon have a chance to put his vision fully into effect.Peter Howell is the Star’s movie critic. His column usually runs Fridays.

19th, April 2018, 11:14pm

Ford’s corporate tax cut pledge is about helping wealthy people, Wynne charges

Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne is charging that Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford only wants to cut corporate taxes because it would benefit wealthy people like himself.One day after playing the Trump card against Ford, Wynne upped the ante by claiming the Tories’ plan to cut corporate income taxes from 11.5 per cent to 10.5 per cent is to help the rich.“Doug Ford is a wealthy man. He has always been a wealthy man so he thinks like a wealthy man,” she told reporters Thursday at Kensington Gardens, a long-term care facility in the Annex.“He ... says he’s for the little guy. The reality is that lowering that corporate tax rate will help the big guy.”Against the backdrop of a June 7 election that polls suggest Ford could win, Wynne noted a Tory government would “claw back that $15-an-hour minimum wage that we have already committed to” as of next Jan. 1.“That means that people who earn minimum wage will be worse off by about $1,100 under the scheme that he’s put forward,” she said, referring to Ford’s promise to freeze the hourly minimum wage at $14 but eliminate provincial income taxes for the lowest earners.“So there’s a real contradiction there. He’s actually for the big guy.”Ford is a multi-millionaire who inherited his family’s successful label business from his late father, Doug Ford, Sr., a former Tory MPP. Under his tenure, Deco Labels and Tags expanded its operations into the United States.NDP Leader Andrea Horwarth has promised to increase the corporate tax rate to 13 per cent if elected.But Wynne said it should remain at 11.5 per cent.“We are already competitive. We have among the lowest corporate taxes in the country. That’s why we’re keeping it where it is.”Her comments came the day after she compared Ford to U.S. President Donald Trump, calling the Tory leader a “bully” who “lies” on the campaign trail.The rookie PC chief dismissed her strategy as “desperate.”Ford said Thursday in Etobicoke that businesses need the tax cut in order to create more jobs.At an airport hotel, he acknowledged his family company would benefit from his promised corporate tax cut but estimated the benefit will be “very little.”“If anything, I’m losing money by doing this job,” said Ford, adding he would put the business in a blind trust if elected premier. “I'll sacrifice my time, I’ll sacrifice my company.”

19th, April 2018, 10:55pm
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