The Toronto International Film Festival selects culture critic to head scheduling at its new headquaters.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has appointed Jesse Wente as the head of film programmes at TIFF’s Bell Lightbox, its long-awaited headquarters.

Wente, a culture critic on CBC Radio, will be responsible for overall film scheduling and limited runs, in addition to overseeing  series and TIFF Cinematheque programming. He is already a member of the TIFF Canadain feature film selection committee.

TIFF also recently hired Shane Smith, former CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival Director, to handle public programming. Long-time Cinematheque senior programmer James Quandt will continue in his role, reporting to TIFF artistic director Noah Cowan.

“As someone who has spent his life devoted to movies, as a fan, a student and professionally, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help make TIFF Bell Lightbox the definitive destination for great films,” said Wente. “I look forward to embracing the opportunity to ensure that the best movies from Canada and the world will be shown on TIFF Bell Lightbox’s screens.” The first major Lightbox presentation will be a Tim Burton retrospective scheduled to begin November 27.

In making the announcement, Cowan said, “Jesse is among the most trusted voices in cinema for the people of Toronto and brings to TIFF a powerful, future-looking vision for the overall programming slate.”

The TIFF Bell Lightbox is still under construction and a TIFF spokesperson declined to predict the extent of the facilities available for this year’s festival. She said TIFF co-director Cameron Bailey is confident that at least one of the five cinemas will be operational in time for September 9, the first day of TIFF 2010.