“I am witnessing the still birth of a film festival,” a leading film festival insider told a friend via SMS message last year during the first edition of the New Montreal FilmFest. Intended to usurp attention from two other established Montreal fests, sponsors and government groups had backed the launch of a new event in the city, but after only one edition the festival is being shut down. The festival saw small crowds and had trouble attracting top films and talent; it overlapped with the Toronto and Atlantic film festival, long-running Canadian events. Remaining in the city are the Montreal World Film Festival run by Serge Losique in August and the Festival du Nouveau Cinema run by Claude Chamberlan.
In a statment at the end of the first fest, organizers faulted the short timeframe available to produce a quality event, adding, “We understand the great anticipation of filmgoers and the press, and we share their impatience. Like them, we are disappointed that this edition did not measure up to expectations.” [Eugene Hernandez]