The 39th Festival des Films du Monde hosted 270 feature films and 199 shorts from around the world, confirming a multicultural interest it has been fostered since Serge Losique founded the festival in 1977 as an alternative to the Venice Film Festival. One of Canada's oldest international film festival, it is the only competitive festival in North America, accredited by the FIAPF (Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films). The festival offers a main World Competition (features and shorts), a First Films World Competition, a Focus on World Cinema, a selection of Documentaries of the World and a Student section.
This year, 80 countries were represented and the audience responded enthusiastically to the films, mostly of them world premieres. This strong interest for world cinema continues to be the big and distinctive mark of an event that has to deal with all the attention that Toronto gets every year. Although Montreal organizers do not consider themselves rivals of the famous Canadian event, it is undeniable fact that filmmakers, agents and media from all over the world have their eyes mostly on Toronto every year. Consequently, Montreal has been dealing with some financial problems that were covered by the local press this year.
On September 5th, directors and some members of the official jury signed an open letter, supporting the festival in these complicated times, reading:
"What other film event can rival this cultural diversity? Off the beaten track, far from "fashion" or familiar formulas, the MWFF is the ideal place for genuinely curious moviegoers. Add to this a friendly atmosphere and dedicated staff always happy to receive guests. In short, a dozen days of film-going happiness! There’s no doubt that the MWFF is unique. Its disappearance would be a disaster for Montreal's cultural life."
And this is true! The MWFF is not only a key event for the cultural life of the city, but is also the festival were you can chat about the state of the world, listen to foreign filmmakers talk about the conflicts in their countries, and get a cinematographic view of different cultures.
The member of this year's official jury were Canadian writer Dany Laferrière, Mexican filmmaker Luis Urquiza, Mexican festival programmer Gerardo Salcedo, American writer and film critic Peter Rainer, Spanish filmmaker Ventura Pons and the Italian actress Tea Falco. The Grand Prize of the Americas went to the French film Mad Love (Fou D'amour), directed by Philippe Ramos. The Special Grand Jury Award went to The Visitor (Misafir) by Mehmet Erylmaz.
The Fipresci jury was composed of Andrés Nazarala (Chile), Malwina Luiza Grochowska (Poland), Andrea Crozzoli (Italy), Oscar Peyrou (Spain), Dmytro Desiateryk (Ukraine) and Peter Rist (Canada). The International Critics' Prize in the World Competition went to The Visitor. In the First Films Competition, the price was given to Rosa Chumbe, by Peruvian director Jonatan Relayze Chiang. (Andrés Nazarala, edited by Christina Stojanova)
Montreal World Film Festival: www.ffm-montreal.org