Piers Handling on why four decades of TIFF - and the Festival Of Festivals - makes him ‘immensely proud’.

TIFF began celebrating its 40th milestone in July with free screenings around the city. “There’s been more of a public lead-up than usual,” says Piers Handling, festival director and TIFF CEO.

During the festival itself, Handling and his team have scheduled more free programming, including a screening of Vertigo on the final day with Bernard Herrmann’s score performed live by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Also planned: 10 one-minute films - Festival Moments - to be unveiled each day and built around actors and film-makers discussing themes such as sex, love and rebelliousness.

For Handling, celebrating 40 years of TIFF has huge personal as well as professional significance.

“I’ve only missed two festivals,” he says. “I came to the very first one as paying public and I’ve worked here for 33 years.

“It’s been my professional life - so much investment in terms of advocating a certain kind of cinema and trying to open people’s eyes to its diversity and differences. To have created an international event is truly satisfying.”