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Montreal World Film Festival: Around the World in 12 Days

Montreal World Film Festival: Around the World in 12 Days

Montreal World Film Festival, August 26 to September 6 is still under the reins of its founder Serge Losique along with his longtime colleague Daniele Cauchard as his invaluable second-in-command. Its huge lineup (430 films) come from 80 countries. There are 10 categories of screenings. It’s got to be the largest film festival in the world. Among the 430 films, 277 are feature-length works, 15 medium-length and 188 short films. 113 of the features will be world or international premieres. The others are mostly North American premieres. Gilles Berriaut continues to run its market alongside the festival.

Serge Losique has this to say about his festival:

Since the beginning 34 years ago, I have made it a point of honour with my colleagues never to depart from the Festival’s founding principles. The program that the MWFF is offering this year to the thousands of cinephiles who will soon flock to our venues is once again marked by cultural diversity, a cinéma d’auteur, an innovative cinema, and by talent. The success and renown of the World Film Festival is firmly based on these principles.

The MWFF is considered the largest fully independent film festival in the world. It is affiliated with no group, organization, company, association or brotherhood. This independence entails a freedom from interference by funding agencies or commercial sponsors. The MWFF is offering a broad series of activities and entertainment at its various venues. I invite you to consult our web site regularly for details.

The films submitted from Japan and Russia demonstrate that their cinemas are evolving. The big national cinemas, those of France, Germany, the United States, Italy and Spain,Japan and South Korea for example, are each represented by a selection of films very diverse in their subjects and styles. And there are novelties such as Emir, a musical from the Philippines; The Truth About Dracula, a documentary about you-know-who; The Beethoven Project by Christian Berger chronicling an orchestra attempting to play all 9 symphonies of Beethoven in 4 days; a new take on Manon Lescaut; François Rabelais revisted, and a “special event presentation”, Zingaro Revisited, a spectacular full-length feature honouring the 25th anniversary of the Zingaro equestrian theatre.

Below are some other highlights of the various sections including a Student Film Festival.

The 10 Sections of the Festival:
World Competition
First Films World Competition
World Greats
Focus on World Cinema
Documentaries of the World
Master Class
Student Film & Video Festival
Screenings Under the Stars
Our Cinema Under the Tent of the Complexe Desjardins

Of the 20 features and 16 shorts from 24 countries in World Competition, Japan is dominant among the Asia countries with three films in competition. Box – The Hakamada Case by Banmei Takahashi deals with a criminal case which was much discussed in Japan and appears to have been a judicial mistake. Hakamada is on death row since 1968. In the samurai film Sword of Desperation by Hideyuki Hirayama, the main character battles to rid his clan of political corruption all the while trying to fulfill his familial obligations. In Lee Sang-il’s Villain being sold by Toho, the murder of a young insurance clerk sets the press off on a false trail.

Our friend Jeff Lipsky’s Twelve Thirty is one of the two American films in the official comeptition. Aside from Twelve Thirty, about a young man entering the comfortable but dysfunctional family of his new girlfriend where he loses his moral and sexual bearings, Carl Colpaert’s The Land of the Astronauts, is showing and stars David Arquette as a once hotshot composer who is down on his financial luck and must take a temporary job as a limo driver as he struggles to put his life back together.

Advance buzz is in on In From Childhood by Carlos Carrera (Mexico) in which Niebla, a teen gang member, is killed in a shootout with the police, and his ghost returns to help ten-year-old Francisco, a victim of constant abuse and beatings by his father. Carrera’s (Padre Amaro) also has Backyard screening in the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival this month as well.

Documentaries of the World
34 features, 11 medium-length films and 16 shorts comprise the Documentaries of the World category. Every year more and more documentaries are submitted. dealing with all aspects of humanity.

Student Film Festival

The 41st Candian Student Film Festival will take place during the Montreal World Film Festival, from August 28 to September 1, and winners will be announced on September 2nd.

76 films were selected for this year’s festival including 2 feature-length film. Twenty-one schools, universities and training institutions from across Canada are represented. The films come from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (Burnaby, B.C.), College universitaire de Saint-Boniface (Winnipeg), Concordia University (Montreal), Dawson College (Montreal), École Polytechnique (Montreal), Emily Carr College of Art and Design (Vancouver), Etobicoke School of Arts (Toronto), Humber College (Toronto), INIS (Montreal), Niagara College (Ontario), Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (Halifax), Queen’s University (Kingston), Ryerson College (Toronto), Sheridan College (Oakville, Ontario), Simon Fraser University (Vancouver), University of British Columbia (Vancouver), Université de Montreal, UQAM (Montreal), University of Regina, Vancouver Film School, York University (Toronto).

The festival is competitive and various prizes will be awarded on September 2nd:
NORMAN McLAREN AWARD offered by the National Film Board of Canada — $2500 in technical services toward the production of the filmmaker’s next film.

KODAK IMAGING AWARD for the Best New Canadian Student Director, presented by Kodak Canada Film and Television Division. The winner will receive an $800 camera and $4200 worth of film stock.

The goal of the Student Film and Video is to discover and encourage new talents by presenting student works within the framework of an international event – the Montreal World Film Festival. Over the years many of Canada’s best-known filmmakers got their first exposure at the Festival.

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