Photo of Steve: Where frostbite meets sunburn

Steve Gravestock
Q&A  Bio 

Canada, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Nordic region

Born in Hamilton, grew up in Burlington and Mississauga.

Programming for the Festival since:
1997… I think.

Desert-island films:
High Tide
The Passion of Joan of Arc

Your favourite Festival programmer who is not you:
Well, all of my colleagues at TIFF. Being in a room with them is like four years of film school in 90 minutes. But if I had to highlight any for particular reasons, I would say: Piers Handling, for those amazing directors’ spotlights in the late 1980s and early 1990s, especially the Kaurismäki and Almodovar; James Quandt, for being a programmers’ programmer (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t envy him for the rigorous way he does his work—plus, he introduced me to contemporary Nordic cinema); Kay Armatage (for the way she used to calm audiences); Michèle Maheux, for reminding me this was supposed to be fun; David Overbey, who introduced me to Asian cinema, and somehow made the job of programmer seem like the coolest thing you could ever do (Noah Cowan did that too, especially when he was doing Midnight Madness in the 1990s—one of my greatest film-going experiences ever was watching Frank Henelotter’s Brain Damage while totally baked).

The strangest place you’ve ever watched a film:
In India, I went to the opening of the Kerala Film Festival. It was an open-air event, on top of a mountain that we were bussed to. I turned to the person next to me and said this was pretty cool and they said, “I’d feel a lot more comfortable if they weren’t all those vultures circling above.” I looked across to another mountain and saw hundreds of them circling what I guessed was a funeral pyre.