Kay Armatage,the veteran Toronto International Film Festival programmer, is leaving theorganization after 24 years. "This is my last year," Armatage told ScreenInternational. Of her departure, she said, "This wasn't my choice." She saidshe learned at the beginning of this summer that her seasonal contract wouldnot be renewed. "At the time, it was a surprise. Now I feel fine about it."
Armatage, afull-time professor of Cinema Studies and Women's Studies at the University ofToronto, said she had been thinking of leaving the festival for some time."When you've been doing anything for more than 20 years you start wondering howlong you're going to keep doing it." She said the change will allow her toaccept curatorial projects and international festival jury invitations that shetypically had to decline. But, she added, "I'm not interested in anotherfestival position."
Asked if herdeparture and the appointment of Noah Cowan to the new position of TIFFco-director were coincidental, she replied, "It's not a coincidence. Noah willmake changes, and everybody hopes it will be good for the festival. I thinkNoah's terrific. I think he'll do a good job. Piers [Handling, executivedirector of TIFFG] has every confidence in him."
During her years at TIFF,Armatage has been credited with introducing Toronto audiences to filmmakerssuch as Hal Hartley, Margarethe von Trotta, Peter Greenaway, Monika Treut, ToddSolondz, Sally Potter, Todd Haynes, Chantal Akerman, and Michael Moore, whopremiered his first documentary, Roger & Me, atthe 1989 festival.