Last week Cameron Bailey was in London. This week he is in Paris. Or maybe it is Brussels. Two months out from his September debut, the new co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff) is in screening mode.

'It's slightly more impossible than I expected,' he writes from wherever he is (after a mutually abandoned game of phone tag).

A long-time programmer with Tiff, Bailey has also enjoyed a long career as a film journalist, broadcaster and screenwriter.

He was appointed to the job in January following the lateral shift of predecessor Noah Cowan to artistic director of Tiff's new headquarters, the Bell Lightbox. Tiff Group CEO Piers Handling continues as festival co-director.

The difference between being a co-director and a programmer, says Bailey, is in the people with whom one has the most contact. For a programmer, that would be film-makers.

'Your main concern is understanding the films you select and communicating those films back and forth between film-makers and audiences.' As co-director, he says, the interaction is primarily with the sales and distribution companies; that, and navigating a sea of data.

His first order of business in the new position was to brief and debrief the other Toronto programmers.

'I'd been their colleague for years and I had to begin a new kind of relationship,' he says. Then came a couple of weeks of paying close attention to the stuff he once took for granted: the internal operations of an institution with more than 100 full-time employees.

Having completed the relay of 'debutant socials': Sundance, Berlin, studio meetings in Los Angeles and London, Hong Kong, Cannes, he has 'burned through a couple of boxes of business cards'. And, he adds, 'My teeth hurt.'

Another ball to juggle is managing the festival's move from the city's Yorkville district - its home since the festival's launch in 1976 - to the Theatre district where the Lightbox is under construction.

The newly-opened AMC Yonge & Dundas cinema complex will provide nearly a third of the 2008 festival's 34 screens. The transition is also temporal: when Lightbox opens (scheduled for the 2010 event) the festival will in some ways become permanent.

'Our next two years will be a kind of extended foreplay for the climax that comes when we finally move in. We want to warm the city up to the idea of a Toronto film festival that happens way downtown.'