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Front Page, Industry News

Montreal World Film Festival: A chance to discover new talent

There is a commonly held perception that the Montreal World Film Festival (WFF) is exhausted and under-attended, and of interest mainly to old people.

That would be wrong.

According to data gathered in 2009 by Leger Marketing and relayed this week by festival director of communications Henry Welsh, more than 428,000 souls attended the event last year. Of those backsides in seats, the largest single demographic -38 per cent -belonged to those between the ages of 35 and 45. Not spring-chicken material, but hardly ready for assisted living, either.

One further stat of some interest: A full 42 per cent of those in attendance possessed some kind of university degree, or at least said they did, the better to understand and appreciate films from nearly everywhere on Earth that will never see the inside of a local suburban multiplex.

The numbers suggest the WFF is relevant to at least a viable segment of the population -a segment large enough to sustain the festival’s position as the most popular annual dedicated event

for film in the city.

There is no reason to think the 34th edition will be any different, when 430 films from a record 80 countries screen in four downtown venues between Thursday and Sept. 6. The ranks will be further swelled by the popular free nightly films under the stars, featuring classics like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, recent Quebec hit Dede a travers les brumes, and Euro staples like 1990’s Cyrano de Bergerac, starring Gerard Depardieu. (Speaking of the famed French actor, the 2010 model Depardieu is coming to the festival for a master class Sept. 6.)

These films, we know. We can also navigate our way around films in the World Greats section, including the closing film, Bertrand Tavernier’s Princess of Montpensier, and Zhang Yimou’s A Woman, A Gun and Noodle Shop. But the vast majority of new product screening in nine categories are complete unknown quantities. As the festival increasingly becomes a vehicle for first films from young directors in emerging markets, so the public takes a leap of faith when buying the ticket.

What, for instance, can I tell you about Manila Skies (Himpapawid), from the Philippines? I can tell you this, from a printout of the schedule that will be invaluable when it hits the streets sometime next week:

“Young Raul comes from the province to Manila to fulfil his father’s hopes, but jobs are hard to find and even those don’t last long.” So maybe it’s not a comedy. Beyond that, nothing. It, like so much else, is a crap shoot. But this much is certain: Local expat natives of that country will fill the room, eager for a taste of home.

Films from places like Poland, Uruguay, Georgia, Norway and Australia help drive this festival as surely as the 100-odd expected from the Francophonie. For every recognizable name -like venerable Spanish master Carlos Saura, back with his flamenco sequel, aptly titled Flamenco, Flamenco; or Le Mariage a trois, by France’s steady Jacques Doillon -there are 30 that come completely unannounced, hoping to find an audience.

This is how the festival wishes it, now it has emerged from the financial dark ages of the mid-decade, and again takes its place as one of three major Canadian film fests, as recognized by the federal cultural funding agency Telefilm Canada. (The others are in Vancouver and Toronto).

“We had nearly 3,000 submissions this year,” says Welsh, who is on the programming team, and speaks for founder Serge Losique and VP Daniele Cauchard. “And that’s not counting the films we saw in other festivals. There are a total of 53 world premieres. I think viewers will find a lot of happy surprises.

“Like wine vintages there are good years and bad years for film production. This has been a very good one for us. There are more short films than usual, perhaps as a result of the new technologies making it more affordable to get started. And the documentary section is vibrant, a reflection of the state of the world and access to the Internet.”

Welsh mentions the opening-night film, Route 132, by Louis Belanger, local director of Gaz Bar Blues. With some prodding, he’s drawn into the ongoing local media bitchfest about the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) skedding a press conference announcing its Canadian lineup on the same day (Aug. 10) WFF unveiled its program.

“I don’t believe it was deliberate, but we traditionally hold our press conference on the second Tuesday in August, every year, so someone must have been aware. This kind of thing is always bad, especially when some local newspapers play Quebec films at Toronto larger than our own here, but what can you do?”

What Welsh won’t say is that the festival is less than pleased Belanger’s distributor Alliance is refusing all interviews with the director here until the film’s commercial release in October. If they agreed to have it open the festival, why not surround it with a little razzle-dazzle?

No doubt Belanger will be talking to the English media when he takes the film to Toronto, which will be like shouting into the void. In the same way that English-Canadian features die a horrible death in Quebec, exposure at prestigious TIFF is good for a Quebec film’s CV, but little else.

The time when comparisons can be made between the film festivals in these two towns has long since past. They are what they are.

“Toronto is huge from a Hollywood point of view,” Welsh says. “But we present film from all over the world. We have a strong presence from South America and Japan. The festival was the first to champion film from China, years ago. There are terrific films from Italy this year. Serge is on record as saying Bartabas’s Zingaro Revisited, about the 25th anniversary of the equine troupe, is a masterpiece.

“We don’t dwell upon the past. In the same way we support young filmmakers and their first films, it’s all about the future.”

The Montreal World Film Festival begins Thursday and continues until Sept. 6. Advance tickets go on sale today from noon until 7 p.m. at the Imperial Theatre, 1430 Bleury St.; Place des Arts; and the Quartier Latin cinema, 350 Emery St. For more information, visit ffm-montreal. org.

Source: The Montreal Gazette

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Montreal World Film Festival: A chance to discover new talent

There is a commonly held perception that the Montreal World Film Festival (WFF) is exhausted and under-attended, and of interest mainly to old people.

That would be wrong.

According to data gathered in 2009 by Leger Marketing and relayed this week by festival director of communications Henry Welsh, more than 428,000 souls attended the event last year. Of those backsides in seats, the largest single demographic -38 per cent -belonged to those between the ages of 35 and 45. Not spring-chicken material, but hardly ready for assisted living, either.

One further stat of some interest: A full 42 per cent of those in attendance possessed some kind of university degree, or at least said they did, the better to understand and appreciate films from nearly everywhere on Earth that will never see the inside of a local suburban multiplex.

The numbers suggest the WFF is relevant to at least a viable segment of the population -a segment large enough to sustain the festival’s position as the most popular annual dedicated event

for film in the city.

There is no reason to think the 34th edition will be any different, when 430 films from a record 80 countries screen in four downtown venues between Thursday and Sept. 6. The ranks will be further swelled by the popular free nightly films under the stars, featuring classics like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, recent Quebec hit Dede a travers les brumes, and Euro staples like 1990’s Cyrano de Bergerac, starring Gerard Depardieu. (Speaking of the famed French actor, the 2010 model Depardieu is coming to the festival for a master class Sept. 6.)

These films, we know. We can also navigate our way around films in the World Greats section, including the closing film, Bertrand Tavernier’s Princess of Montpensier, and Zhang Yimou’s A Woman, A Gun and Noodle Shop. But the vast majority of new product screening in nine categories are complete unknown quantities. As the festival increasingly becomes a vehicle for first films from young directors in emerging markets, so the public takes a leap of faith when buying the ticket.

What, for instance, can I tell you about Manila Skies (Himpapawid), from the Philippines? I can tell you this, from a printout of the schedule that will be invaluable when it hits the streets sometime next week:

“Young Raul comes from the province to Manila to fulfil his father’s hopes, but jobs are hard to find and even those don’t last long.” So maybe it’s not a comedy. Beyond that, nothing. It, like so much else, is a crap shoot. But this much is certain: Local expat natives of that country will fill the room, eager for a taste of home.

Films from places like Poland, Uruguay, Georgia, Norway and Australia help drive this festival as surely as the 100-odd expected from the Francophonie. For every recognizable name -like venerable Spanish master Carlos Saura, back with his flamenco sequel, aptly titled Flamenco, Flamenco; or Le Mariage a trois, by France’s steady Jacques Doillon -there are 30 that come completely unannounced, hoping to find an audience.

This is how the festival wishes it, now it has emerged from the financial dark ages of the mid-decade, and again takes its place as one of three major Canadian film fests, as recognized by the federal cultural funding agency Telefilm Canada. (The others are in Vancouver and Toronto).

“We had nearly 3,000 submissions this year,” says Welsh, who is on the programming team, and speaks for founder Serge Losique and VP Daniele Cauchard. “And that’s not counting the films we saw in other festivals. There are a total of 53 world premieres. I think viewers will find a lot of happy surprises.

“Like wine vintages there are good years and bad years for film production. This has been a very good one for us. There are more short films than usual, perhaps as a result of the new technologies making it more affordable to get started. And the documentary section is vibrant, a reflection of the state of the world and access to the Internet.”

Welsh mentions the opening-night film, Route 132, by Louis Belanger, local director of Gaz Bar Blues. With some prodding, he’s drawn into the ongoing local media bitchfest about the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) skedding a press conference announcing its Canadian lineup on the same day (Aug. 10) WFF unveiled its program.

“I don’t believe it was deliberate, but we traditionally hold our press conference on the second Tuesday in August, every year, so someone must have been aware. This kind of thing is always bad, especially when some local newspapers play Quebec films at Toronto larger than our own here, but what can you do?”

What Welsh won’t say is that the festival is less than pleased Belanger’s distributor Alliance is refusing all interviews with the director here until the film’s commercial release in October. If they agreed to have it open the festival, why not surround it with a little razzle-dazzle?

No doubt Belanger will be talking to the English media when he takes the film to Toronto, which will be like shouting into the void. In the same way that English-Canadian features die a horrible death in Quebec, exposure at prestigious TIFF is good for a Quebec film’s CV, but little else.

The time when comparisons can be made between the film festivals in these two towns has long since past. They are what they are.

“Toronto is huge from a Hollywood point of view,” Welsh says. “But we present film from all over the world. We have a strong presence from South America and Japan. The festival was the first to champion film from China, years ago. There are terrific films from Italy this year. Serge is on record as saying Bartabas’s Zingaro Revisited, about the 25th anniversary of the equine troupe, is a masterpiece.

“We don’t dwell upon the past. In the same way we support young filmmakers and their first films, it’s all about the future.”

The Montreal World Film Festival begins Thursday and continues until Sept. 6. Advance tickets go on sale today from noon until 7 p.m. at the Imperial Theatre, 1430 Bleury St.; Place des Arts; and the Quartier Latin cinema, 350 Emery St. For more information, visit ffm-montreal. org.

Source: The Montreal Gazette

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Montreal World Film Festival: A chance to discover new talent

There is a commonly held perception that the Montreal World Film Festival (WFF) is exhausted and under-attended, and of interest mainly to old people.

That would be wrong.

According to data gathered in 2009 by Leger Marketing and relayed this week by festival director of communications Henry Welsh, more than 428,000 souls attended the event last year. Of those backsides in seats, the largest single demographic -38 per cent -belonged to those between the ages of 35 and 45. Not spring-chicken material, but hardly ready for assisted living, either.

One further stat of some interest: A full 42 per cent of those in attendance possessed some kind of university degree, or at least said they did, the better to understand and appreciate films from nearly everywhere on Earth that will never see the inside of a local suburban multiplex.

The numbers suggest the WFF is relevant to at least a viable segment of the population -a segment large enough to sustain the festival’s position as the most popular annual dedicated event

for film in the city.

There is no reason to think the 34th edition will be any different, when 430 films from a record 80 countries screen in four downtown venues between Thursday and Sept. 6. The ranks will be further swelled by the popular free nightly films under the stars, featuring classics like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, recent Quebec hit Dede a travers les brumes, and Euro staples like 1990’s Cyrano de Bergerac, starring Gerard Depardieu. (Speaking of the famed French actor, the 2010 model Depardieu is coming to the festival for a master class Sept. 6.)

These films, we know. We can also navigate our way around films in the World Greats section, including the closing film, Bertrand Tavernier’s Princess of Montpensier, and Zhang Yimou’s A Woman, A Gun and Noodle Shop. But the vast majority of new product screening in nine categories are complete unknown quantities. As the festival increasingly becomes a vehicle for first films from young directors in emerging markets, so the public takes a leap of faith when buying the ticket.

What, for instance, can I tell you about Manila Skies (Himpapawid), from the Philippines? I can tell you this, from a printout of the schedule that will be invaluable when it hits the streets sometime next week:

“Young Raul comes from the province to Manila to fulfil his father’s hopes, but jobs are hard to find and even those don’t last long.” So maybe it’s not a comedy. Beyond that, nothing. It, like so much else, is a crap shoot. But this much is certain: Local expat natives of that country will fill the room, eager for a taste of home.

Films from places like Poland, Uruguay, Georgia, Norway and Australia help drive this festival as surely as the 100-odd expected from the Francophonie. For every recognizable name -like venerable Spanish master Carlos Saura, back with his flamenco sequel, aptly titled Flamenco, Flamenco; or Le Mariage a trois, by France’s steady Jacques Doillon -there are 30 that come completely unannounced, hoping to find an audience.

This is how the festival wishes it, now it has emerged from the financial dark ages of the mid-decade, and again takes its place as one of three major Canadian film fests, as recognized by the federal cultural funding agency Telefilm Canada. (The others are in Vancouver and Toronto).

“We had nearly 3,000 submissions this year,” says Welsh, who is on the programming team, and speaks for founder Serge Losique and VP Daniele Cauchard. “And that’s not counting the films we saw in other festivals. There are a total of 53 world premieres. I think viewers will find a lot of happy surprises.

“Like wine vintages there are good years and bad years for film production. This has been a very good one for us. There are more short films than usual, perhaps as a result of the new technologies making it more affordable to get started. And the documentary section is vibrant, a reflection of the state of the world and access to the Internet.”

Welsh mentions the opening-night film, Route 132, by Louis Belanger, local director of Gaz Bar Blues. With some prodding, he’s drawn into the ongoing local media bitchfest about the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) skedding a press conference announcing its Canadian lineup on the same day (Aug. 10) WFF unveiled its program.

“I don’t believe it was deliberate, but we traditionally hold our press conference on the second Tuesday in August, every year, so someone must have been aware. This kind of thing is always bad, especially when some local newspapers play Quebec films at Toronto larger than our own here, but what can you do?”

What Welsh won’t say is that the festival is less than pleased Belanger’s distributor Alliance is refusing all interviews with the director here until the film’s commercial release in October. If they agreed to have it open the festival, why not surround it with a little razzle-dazzle?

No doubt Belanger will be talking to the English media when he takes the film to Toronto, which will be like shouting into the void. In the same way that English-Canadian features die a horrible death in Quebec, exposure at prestigious TIFF is good for a Quebec film’s CV, but little else.

The time when comparisons can be made between the film festivals in these two towns has long since past. They are what they are.

“Toronto is huge from a Hollywood point of view,” Welsh says. “But we present film from all over the world. We have a strong presence from South America and Japan. The festival was the first to champion film from China, years ago. There are terrific films from Italy this year. Serge is on record as saying Bartabas’s Zingaro Revisited, about the 25th anniversary of the equine troupe, is a masterpiece.

“We don’t dwell upon the past. In the same way we support young filmmakers and their first films, it’s all about the future.”

The Montreal World Film Festival begins Thursday and continues until Sept. 6. Advance tickets go on sale today from noon until 7 p.m. at the Imperial Theatre, 1430 Bleury St.; Place des Arts; and the Quartier Latin cinema, 350 Emery St. For more information, visit ffm-montreal. org.

Source: The Montreal Gazette

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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