Magazine article Variety

Film Fest as Launch Pad

Magazine article Variety

Film Fest as Launch Pad

Article excerpt

Competing with larger fests, Montreal has carved out a niche for new talent

It's the festival that just keeps on going against all odds.

The Montreal World Film Festival has great trouble attracting the Hollywood stars and pics and, in recent years, it hasn't been much more successful snaring A-list auteur titles.

Wisely, fest prexy Serge Losique and his trusted veepee, Daniele Cauchard, have tried to turn that dilemma into a virtue by focusing on up-and-coming helmers and pics from off-the-beaten-track territories.

Chinese director Lin Lisheng's "Million Dollar Crocodile" will open the 36th edition on Aug. 23 and kick off the World Greats section.

The event closes Sept. 3 with the screening of a higher-profile pic, Gallic filmmaker James Huth's "Happiness Never Comes Alone," starring Sophie Marceau and Gad Elmaleh.

In between, there's a major focus on discoveries in the First Films World Competition, World Greats and Focus on World Cinema sidebars, which are light on marquee names.

Greta Scacchi will be on hand as president of the jury while Volker Schlondorff will drop in to give a master class, and China Film Business Week will focus on that country's booming movie scene.

In all, the fest will screen 432 films from 82 countries, including 212 features, of which 110 will have their world or international premieres at Montreal.

The Montreal fest doesn't draw the crowds it used to but it remains a popular event for cinéphiles, with longtime supporters remaining devoted to the event. .

But the local industry has gradually moved away from the fest and there has been a major decline in representation from the Quebec film milieu. …

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