January 29, 2023

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Ravi Srinivasan dies: Toronto Film Festival programmer was 37

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Ravi Srinivasan, senior manager of festival programming at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), died over the weekend. He was 37 years old.

Born and raised in Sarnia, Ontario, with Indian and Filipino cultural roots, Srinivasan studied film and English literature at Wilfrid Laurier University and filmmaking at Sheridan College. He was an international programmer for Hot Docs, founder and executive director of the Southwestern International Film Festival, and senior programmer for National Canadian Film Day.

Since 2013, Srinivasan has contributed to the TIFF programming team and at the time of his death was senior manager of festival programming with a focus on programming feature films from South Asia, the Philippines and Canada. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Regent’s Park Film Festival and the Future of Film Showcase.

The news of Srinivasan’s death has cast a pall over the entire industry. TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey paid tribute to Srinivasan in a series of tweets.

“We are saddened and shocked by the sudden demise of our colleague and friend Ravi Srinivasan. As a programmer, champion for filmmakers and director of his hometown film festival in Sarnia, Ontario, Ravi was known to many for his passion, his generosity and the joy he brought to cinema,” Bailey tweeted.

“Robbie’s deep knowledge of cinema and his passion for film as an inclusive art form helped transform film culture in Canada. For Robbie, who draws on both his Filipino and his Indian immigrant heritage in his work, representation has always been important. It was built into how he viewed films and how he invited all viewers to engage with the stories on screen that moved them.”

“I had the privilege of working with Ravi for almost a decade. I always admired his sharp approach to films, but what I loved the most was his sense of humor and his kindness to everyone. Ravi Srinivasan embraced life, films and people, in all their complexity. We will miss him dearly,” Bailey added.

Nisha Pahuja, director of Hot Dox and Tribeca-winning “The World Before Her,” tweeted: “Totally disappointed… RIP Ravi. You will be missed.”

A GoFundMe page to raise Srinivasan’s funeral and memorial costs has already raised more than CAD61,000 ($45,500) of its CAD75,000 ($56,000) goal.

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