Ravi Srinivasan, Toronto Film Festival Programmer, Dies at 37

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

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

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

The news of Srinivasan’s death has sent shockwaves across the industry. TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey paid homage to Srinivasan in a series of tweets.

“We are saddened and shocked to learn of the sudden passing of our colleague and friend Ravi Srinivasan. As a programmer, champion for filmmakers, and director of his own 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.

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

“I was fortunate enough to work with Ravi for nearly a decade. I always appreciated his sharp perspectives on films, but what I loved most was his sense of humor and his generosity to all. Ravi Srinivasan embraced life, movies and people, in all their complexity. We will miss him dearly,” Bailey added.

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

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

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