Ravi Srinivasan, TIFF programmer, dies

Ravi Srinivasan, senior manager of festival programming for the Toronto International Film Festival, has died suddenly at age 37.

“We are saddened and shocked to learn of the sudden passing of our colleague and friend Ravi Srinivasan,” Cameron Bailey, chief executive of TIFF, said in a statement on Sunday.

“As a programmer, champion for filmmakers, and director of his own hometown film festival in Sarnia, Ravi was known to many for his passion, his generosity and the joy he brought to cinema.”

In his work, Srinivasan drew on his Filipino and Indian immigrant heritage, Bailey said. “It was built into how he viewed films, and how he invited all audiences to engage with the stories on screen that moved them.”

Srinivasan joined TIFF’s programming team in 2013. His most recent role focused on feature films from South Asia, the Philippines and Canada. Before TIFF, Srinivasan was an international programmer at Hot Docs, the founder and executive director of the South Western International Film Festival (SWIFF), and senior programmer of National Canadian Film Day.

He studied film and English literature at Wilfrid Laurier University along with film production at Sheridan College.

“When he’s not watching 300 films a year, Ravi spends his time rooting for the Toronto Raptors and Blue Jays, listening to Sharon Van Etten and Big Thief, and being a father to his Bernese Mountain dog, Joni,” his bio reads.

In a tribute to Srinivasan, SWIFF – the festival he “singlehandedly” founded in 2015 – commemorated his tireless work to bring films and music he loved to Sarnia.

“It was a dream of his to create a hometown film festival that would offer cultural exposure, experiences, and opportunities that he had wished he had when he was young,” the organization said in a statement.

“Ravi’s life was all about sharing his love and what he loved with everyone in his orbit. He brought people and communities together, elevated them with his spirit, and helped to make other’s dreams come true.”

To cover funeral costs, a GoFundMe has been created in Srinivasan’s honour. In just two days, more than $81,000 has been raised.

“Ravi was an amazing young man who lived his life to the fullest. His smile was infectious and his laugh could fill any room. Words can’t describe the pain his brother Hari and his family are feeling right now. Let’s stand behind him and help in any way possible,” GoFundMe organizer Dave Hunt wrote. 

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