Manon Briand - News Poster


Guadalajara Ff FICG29: Special Guest Quebec

The Guadalajara International Film Festival (also known as FICG29 or Festival International of Cine in Guadalajara) is on my regular beat, but this year my work with the Talents will include an introduction to the book I am writing on Iberoamerican Film Financing.

The festival's inception occurred in 1986 during Mexican cinema's worst crisis in terms of production (only 12 features were made that year), and it was held with the help of the University of Guadalajara. This small showcase was curated by filmmaker Jaime Humberto Hermosillo and researcher/professor Emilio García Riera. It consisted of 5 features, 7 shorts, 2 documentaries, and a selection of Jaime Humberto Hermosillo's work. During this edition a young Guillermo del Toro stood out as one of the most outstanding volunteers.

A few years after in 1992, the festival premiered Alfonso Cuaron's Love in the Time of Hysteria (Solo con tu pareja), the film that launched his Hollywood career, this year he won the Academy Award as Best Director for his film Gravity. The next year, Guillermo del Toro presented his feature debut Cronos, which would go on to be selected for the Critic's Week at the Cannes Film Festival. From the beginning this film showcase became a required stop for Mexican filmmakers and programmers from various international film festivals.

In 1999 a selection of Iberoamerican films was added to the program and a section highlighting Canadian cinema was included, from the 7-selection 3 were from Quebec (Streetheart by Charles Binamé; The Red Violin by François Girard and 2 Seconds by Manon Briand). During the 23rd edition of the festival a selection of 7 features and 7 shorts was presented. Added to this Patrick Bouchard held a workshop on animation at the University of Guadalajara. This year the festival will have the pleasure to present the latest works from Léa Pool, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, and of course, Patrick Bouchard.The results of the 2008 workshop are visible in the constant production of animation in Guadalajara.

Starting in its 15th edition, in 2000,  the showcase became a competitive contest for Mexican films. Two years after all iberoamerican films began taking part in the competition. From that year on, the impact of the Guadalajara program reached the entire iberoamerican region and became the premier meeting point for the region's cinema. In 2003 the initiative know as Iberoamerican Market (Mercano Iberoamericano) was launched bringing together over 170 industry professionals dedicated to selling, buying, and distributing films internationally.

In 2005 the showcase became the Guadalajara International Film Festival (Ficg) with the clear goal of having a space for Mexican and Latin American films, as well as a to expose the public and the industry professionals to international works. In 2013 the festival screened 254 films, 102 of which were in competition. The festival received over 800 journalist, and 817 companies in the industry section. Throughout the years the festival has honored artists such as Pedro Almodóvar, the Taviani brothers, Patricio Guzmán, Theo Angelopoulos, Álex de la Iglesia, Agnès Varda, and more recently Werner Herzog and Mike Leigh, among many other great filmmakers. In terms of actors John Malkovich, Marisa Paredes, Andy Garcia and Ángela Molina have also been recognized at the Ficg.

The festival is divided in 3 competitive sections: Iberoamerican Dramatic Features, Iberoamerican Documentaries, and Iberoamerican Shorts. In total Ficg hands out 16 Official Awards and 5 parallel others though different sections.

Among the array of awards the one dedicated to the Best Mexican Film stands out -The Mezcal Award (Premio Mezcal)

This year the third edition of the Maguey Award (Read more Here) will take place. It brings together, promotes, and recognizes cinema focused on sexual diversity around the world

In total there are more than 200 works programmed and there will be over 500 screenings in Guadalajara and the surroundings areas. Throughout the last 29 years Mexican cinema has changed deeply. From the crisis it suffered in 1986 to its current state there is a notable contrast. From 12 films a year, the average number of films produced currently a year is 120. During the 20 years the Mexican Cinema Showcase and the Ficg have been protagonists in the promotion of Mexican cinema, specially in the last decade.

It is also revelatory to see how influential has Mexican cinema been in the emergence of other film industries in the region such as in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Paraguay, as well as the great period that the cinema of of Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay are experiencing.

Withing the Ficg there are also other sections dedicated to international cinema, which are not competitive, but allow for the festival to be a meeting point for many cinematic voices.

Industry and Market

In order to encourage a productive agenda for filmmakers, producers, distributors, and sales agents during the festival, the Market oriented department will hold the following events:

IX  Iberoamerican Conference of Iberoamerican Co-productions

the 7ª edition of the "Guadalajara Builds" program

Bilateral Conference: Quebec-Mexico

Over 800 film-related companies will be in attendance


During the last edition of the Ficg, the different events taking place at the festival were the product of strenuous labors by the organizers. They included the 5th edition of Talents Guadalajara, an experience in which 70 filmmakers from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean participated, as well as the the 5th edition of the Doculab where several Iberoamerican documentaries in post-production were evaluated. Aiming to take advantage of the important figures present, the festival also hosted the 9th Creators Conference on Writing with Light.

Relationships with International Festivals

Throughout its development the Ficg has formed working relationships of support with many of the most important festival in the world. With the Marché du Film at Cannes the two festivals have developed the Guadalajara Film Market Producers Network, which is a window for the exchange of knowledge and ideas among professionals interested in the Iberoamerican cinematic spectrum. Talents Guadalajara is organized with the collaboration of the Berlinale Talents from the Berlin Film Festival, which supports filmmakers from the region. In addition with the help of the San Sebastian Film Festival, Ficg presents the program known as New European Trends : San Sebastian-Guadalajara, allowing for the discovery of new European directors. It is important to mention that Ficg has a close relationship with the Montreal World Film Festival, which allows for films of the region to screen at the Canadian event.

Special Guest

Since 2001 the festival hascdesignated a country or region to be the guest of honor

Germany, 16, 2001

Switzerland, 17, 2002

Chile, 18, 2003

Italy, 19, 2004

Greece, 20, 2005

Spain, 21, 2006

Brazil, 22, 2007

Argentina, 23, 2008

Colombia, 24, 2009

France, 25, 2010

Israel, 26, 2011

U.K., 27, 2012

Scandinavia : Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, 28. 2013

Besides screening a selection of films from the selected nation, the Ficg always tries to have some of their most notable filmmakers present at the festival. After a decade of its inception the Special Guest section has become one of the most anticipated ones. It allows attendees the opportunity to see the most recent works from that national cinema as well as to have a direct conversation with the filmmakers, actors, and other representatives of that country's film industry.

Quebec 2014

The selection of films was made possible thanks to the support of the Quebecois Delegation in Mexico, the Sodec, the International Documentary Conference in Montreal, the Onf, among other institutions, companies, and filmmakers. This offers the possibility to be confronted with visions that explore the world and its conflicts, it's cinema without borders.On the other hand this can also be a very intimate cinema that captures the multicultural richness of contemporary Quebec with its diverse contradictions. This selection also represents the audiovisual expression of several generations, there are films from filmmakers with a careers that expand over 4 decades who interact with directors who have just finished their debut features.

The selection of films is divided into 4 sections

Narrative Features

Conformed of 16 features completed between 2012 and 2013. Each one of these films has had acclaimed international exposure and have played at festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice, San Sebastian, among others. Together these films have received more than 23 international awards and 30 awards in Canada.

Ridm - Documentaries

Counting with 15 years of experience the Montreal International Documentary Festival (Ridm) is one of the most important events for documentary filmmaking. The rigorous selection process of this festival gives validation to the 5 films that will be shown at the Ficg, which will definitely be a center piece within the Quebecois program in Guadalajara. The Ficg will also have a special screening of a very important work in the history of film, For Those Who Will Follow (Pour la suite du monde) by Michel Brault, who past away last year.

Denis Côté

Denis Côté's career as a filmmaker began in 2005. Since then, he has created a short film, 3 documentaries, and 5 narrative features. Via his intense working rhythm this artist has demonstrated his abilities, rigor, and creativity. A look  into his work will easily confirm that he has a profoundly original vision that takes storytelling to its radical limits.

The Short Films

Quebecois short films show an incredible imaginative freedom. Given the fact that in recent years several shorts, including animation, have been produced in Guadalajara, this will be an enriching exchange of perspectives.

Women in Film and TV Quebec-Mexico

Finally, aiming to strengthen the friendship that exists between the associations for Women in Film and TV both in Quebec and Mexico, the Ficg will host a second panel, which will be paired with a selection of documentaries that deal with the contemporary female experience.

David K. Ross

David K. Ross (1966, Canada) works in various mediums including film, video, photography, and art installations. Ross' formal training in architecture and great experience in photography of large scale and film have resulted in a great variety of projects in which he investigates the history of optical technology and geodesic practices, as well as many urban structures. His work has been exhibited in the most important institutions in the Americas and Europe, they also form part of many public and private collections, including the  National Gallery of Canada, the Contemporary Art Museum of Montreal and the Canadian Center for Architecture. The artist will be present at the Ficg screening his work to expose the audience to his particular style.

Quebecois Presence in the Different Juries 

Prominent members of the Quebecois film industry will be part of the diverse juries which will evaluate the films in competition. 

Narrative Feature: Denise Robert's experience as a producer expands over 51 projects including narrative features, documentaries, shorts, and television.

Documentary: Roxanne Sayegh, who has worked with Ambulante, the most ambitious project to promote documentary distribution in Mexico. She is currently the Executive Director of the Ridm.

Short Films: Danièle Cauchard, Executive Director of the Montreal World Film Festival.

Maguey Award to Support Sexual Diversity in Film: Katharine Setzer, in charge of programming at the Image+Nation festival, which is in its 26th edition.

Fipresci: Montreal based critic Jorge Gutman

Mezcal Award for Best Mexican Film: Alisi Telengut, a student from Concordia University, whose film Tears of Inge was honored at the World Film Festival.

For more information on Ficg 29 and its different sections visit Here
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Toronto International Film Festival: The Female Factor

This year’s Toronto was competing in my psyche with the recent loss of my mother. My focus was less on finding the greatest of films this year. I hear from others that the festival offered a good mix, if not the most outstanding, selection of films. Personally, I am discovering that a new community has opened its arms to me and the films that are standing out most for me are by women and about women. My community, those women who have lost their mothers, is sharing a unique and profound rite of passage whose meaning continuously unfolds.

In Toronto I was hyper aware of the women and their position in this corner of the world I inhabit. Canadian women, Helga Stephenson, Director Emerita of the Toronto Film Festival, predecessor to Piers Handling; Michele Maheux, Executive Director and COO of Tiff ever since I've known her which has been a long time; Linda Beath who headed United Artists when I was beginning my career and who has since moved to Europe where she teaches at Eave (European Audio Visual Entrepreneurs), Kay Armitrage, programmer of the festival for 24 years and professor at University of Toronto, are all women to helped me envisage myself as a professional in the film business, and they are still as vibrant and active as when we met more than 25 years ago. Carolle Brabant, Telefilm Canada’s Executive Director continues Canada’s female lineage as does Karen Thorne-Stone, the President and CEO of Ontario Media Development Corporation.

18 films currently are in a large part attributable to Omdc; they include Nisha Pahuja’s doc The World Before Her (contact Cinetic) (Best Doc Feature of 2012 Tribeca Ff), Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz (Isa: TF1), Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children (Isa: FilmNation), Anita Doron’s The Lesser Blessed, (Isa: EOne) Ruba Nadda’s Inescapable (Isa: Myriad), Alison Rose’s doc, Following the Wise Men.

Tiff’s new program for year-round support of mid-level Canadian filmmakers, Studio, under the directorship of Hayet Benkara is bringing industry mentorship to 16 filmmakers with experience, shorts in the festival circuit, features in development. Exactly half of these filmmakers are women. This was a conscious move on Hayet’s part. She said there is always such a predominance of males without thinking about it that she decided to bring balance.

Then a look at some more of the Canadian talent here brings me to the Birks Diamonds celebration of seven Canadian women: Anais Barbeau-Lavalette, Manon Briand, Anita Doron, Deepa Mehta (Midnight’s Children), Kate Melville, and Ruba Nadda which honored each with a Birks diamond pendant in a reception hosted by Shangri-La Hotel and Telefilm Canada where 300 guests mingled and caught up with each other. The pre-eminence of women was again made so apparent to me.

Talking to publicist Jim Dobson at Indie PR at the reception of Jordanian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir whose film When I Saw You was so evocative of the 60s, a time of worldwide freedom and even optimism among the fedayeem in Jordan looking to resist the Expulsion of the Palestinians from Palestine; he said that all five of his clients here are women directors, “I had When I Saw You, (Isa: The Match Factory), Satellite Boy (Isa: Celluloid Dreams/ Nightmare), Hannah Arendt (The Match Factory), Inch'allah (Isa: eOne), English Vinglish (Isa: Eros Int')."

Of the 289 features here at Tiff, Melissa Silverstein at Women and Hollywood is trying to zero in on the women directors, so watch her blogs More Women-Directed Films Nab Deals out of Tiff, Tiff Preview: Women Directors to Watch and Tiff Preview: The Female Directing Masters Playing at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival.

Add to this the upcoming Sundance initiative on women directors that Keri Putnam is heading up (more on that later!) and I am feeling heartened by the consciousness of women, directors and otherwise, out there. That is saying a lot since last season in Cannes with the pathetic number of women directors showing up in the festival and sidebars this past spring.

Here is the Female Factor for Tiff 12 which scores an A in my book:

Gala Presentations - 6 out of 20 = c. 30% which is way above the usual 13% which has been the average up until Cannes upended that with its paltry 2%..2 of these were opening night films.

Mira Nair The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Also showed in Venice. Isa: K5. Picked up for U.S. and Canada by IFC. Shola Lynch Free Angela & All Political Prisoners. Isa: Elle Driver Deepa Mehta Midnight’s Children. Isa: FilmNation already sold to Roadshow for Australia/ N.Z., Unikorea for So. Korea, DeaPlaneta for Spain. Ruba Nadda Inescapable. Isa: Myriad. Canada: Alliance. Liz Garbus Love, Marilyn. Isa: StudioCanal. HBO picked up No. American TV rights. Madman has Australia. Gauri Shinde English Vinglish. Isa: Eros International.

Masters – 0 – Could we say that women directors have not been around that long or shown such longevity as the men? Lina Wertmiller was a long time ago. I don’t even know if she is still alive. Ida Lupino was an anomaly. Who else was there in those early days? Alice Guy-Blaché ?

Special Presentations - 13 out of 70 = 19%

Everybody Has A Plan - Argentina/ Germany/ Spain - Ana Piterbarg - Isa: Twentieth Century Fox International - U.S.: Ld Entertainment, U.K.: Metrodome Lines Of Wellington - Also in Venice, San Sebastian Ff - Portugal - Valeria Sarmiento - Isa: Alfama Films. Germany: Ksm Cloud Atlas--Germany - Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski - Isa: Focus Int'l. - U.S. and Canada: Warner Bros. , Brazil - Imagem, Finland - Future Film, Eastern Europe - Eeap, Germany X Verleih, Greece - Odeon, Iceland - Sensa, India - PVR, So. Korea - Bloomage, Benelux - Benelux Film Distributors, Inspire, Slovenia - Cenemania, Sweden - Noble, Switzerland - Ascot Elite, Taiwan - Long Shong, Turkey - Chantier Inch'allah – Canada - Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette - Isa and Canada: Entertainment One Films Hannah Arendt – Germany – Margarethe von Trotta – Isa: The Match Factory Imogine – U.S. – Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini - Isa: Voltage. U.S.: Lionsgate/ Roadside Attractions acquired from UTA, Netherlands: Independent Ginger and Rosa – U.K. – Sally Potter – Isa: The Match Factory. U.S. contact Cinetic Love is All You Need – Also played in Venice) Denmark – Susanne Bier – Isa: TrustNordisk - U.S. : Sony Pictures Classics, Canada: Mongrel, Australia - Madman, Brazil - Art Films, Bulgaria - Pro Films, Colombia - Babilla Cine, Czech Republic - Aerofilms, Finland - Matila Rohr Nordisk, Germany - Prokino, Hungary - Cirko, Italy - Teodora, Japan - Longride, Poland - Gutek, Portugal - Pepperview Lore – Australia/ Germany/ U.K. – Cate Shortland – Isa: Memento. U.S.: Music Box, France: Memento, Germany - Piffl, Hong Hong - Encore Inlight, So. Korea - Line Tree, Benelux - ABC/ Cinemien, U.K., Artificial Eye Dreams for Sale – Japan – Miwa Nishkawa – Isa: Asmik Ace Stories We Tell – Canada – Sarah Polley - Isa: Nfb. U.K.: Artificial Eye Liverpool – Canada – Marion Briand - Isa: Max Films. Canada: Remstar Venus and Serena – U.S./ U.K. – Michelle Major, Maikin Baird. Producer's Rep: Cinetic

Mavericks - 3 out of 7 “Conversations With” were with women (43%)

Discovery 11 out of 27 = 40% which includes The-Hottest-Public Ticket for the Israeli Film directly below (a Major Buzz Film Among its Public)

Fill the Void by Rama Burshtein, a first-time-ever Hasidic woman director Kate Melville’s Picture Day Alice Winocour Augustine - Isa: Kinology 7 Cajas by Tana Schembori from Paraguay - Isa: Shoreline Gabriela Pichler’s Eat Sleep Die from Sweden, Serbia and Croatia - Isa: Yellow Affair Oy Rola Nashef’s Detroit Unleaded France’s Sylive Michel’s Our Little Differences Contact producer Pallas Film Russian censored film Clip from Serbia by Maja Milos - Isa: Wide sold to Kmbo for France, Maywin for Sweden, Artspoitation for U.S. Satellite Boy by Australian Catriona McKenzie - Isa: Celluloid Dreams/ Nightmares Ramaa Mosley’s The Brass Teapot - Isa: TF1 sold to Magnolia for U.S., Intercontinental for Hong Kong, Cien for Mexico, Vendetta for New Zealand Veteran Korean-American Grace Lee’s Janeane from Des Moines.

Tiff Docs 7 out of 29 = 24% - Women traditionally have directed a greater portion of docs

Christine Cynn (codirector ) The Act of Killing - Isa: Cinephil Janet Tobias No Place on Earth - Isa: Global Screen Sarah Burns (codirector) The Central Park Five Isa: PBS sold to Sundance Select for U.S. Treva Wurmfeld Shepard & Dark - Contact Tangerine Entertainment Nina Davenport First Comes Love - Contact producer Marina Zenovich Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out - Isa: Films Distribution Halla Alabdalla As If We Were Catching a Cobra (Comme si nous attraptions un cobra) about the art of caricature in Egypt and Syria! Halla is Syrian herself, studied science and sociology in Syria and Paris - Isa: Wide

Contemporary World Cinema 11 out of 61 = 18%

Children of Sarajevo by Aida Begic, Sarajevo - Isa: Pyramide Baby Blues by Katarzyna Rostaniec, Poland. Contact producer The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky by Yuki Tanada, Japan - Isa: Toei Comrade Kim Goes Flying by Anja Daelemans (co-director), Belgium/ No. Korea. The first western financed film out of No. Korea Three Worlds by Catherine Corsini, France - Isa: Pyramide sold to Lumiere for Benelux, Pathe for Switzerland Middle of Nowhere by Ava DuVernay, U.S. - Contact Paradigm Talent Agency The Lesser Blessed by Anita Doron, Canada - Isa: eOne Watchtower by Pelin Esmer, Turkey/ France/ Germany- Isa: Visit Films Jackie by Antoinette Beumer, Netherlands - Isa: Media Luna When I Saw You by Annemarie Jacir, Palestine,/ Jordan/ Greece All that Matters is Past by Sara Johnsen, Norway- Isa: TrustNordisk

Tiff Kids 0 out of 5. Any meaning to this???

City To City – Mumbai 0 Out Of 10 Any meaning to this???

Vanguard 2 out of 15 = 13% (the average for most festivals)

90 Minutes– Norway – Eva Sorhaug - Isa: Level K Peaches Does Herself – Germany - Peaches. Contact producer. See Indiewire review.

Midnight Madness 0 out of 9 which is fine with me, thank you. This is a boy's genre or a date-night genre for girls and boys with a plan for the night.
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Toronto International Film Festival 2012 Lineup

  • MUBI
Above: Ernie Gehr's Auto-Collider Xv.

The vast bulk of Tiff's 2012 has been announced and listed here, below. We'll be updating the lineup with the previous films announced, as well as updating links to specific films for more information on them in the coming days. Of particular note is that the Wavelengths and Visions programs have been combined to create what is undoubtedly the most interesting section of the festival. Stay tuned, too, for our own on the ground coverage of Tiff.


A Royal Affair (Nikolai Arcel, Demark/Sweden/Czech Republic/Germany)

Argo (Ben Affleck, USA)

The Company You Keep (Robert Redford, USA)

Dangerous Liaisons (Hur Jin-ho, China)

Emperor (Peter Webber, Japan/USA)

English Vinglish (Gauri Shinde, India)

Free Angela & All Political Prisoners (Shola Lynch)

Great Expectations (Mike Newell, UK)

Hyde Park on Hudson (Roger Michell, UK)

Inescapable (Ruba Nadda, Canada)

Jayne Mansfield's Car (Billy Bob Thorton, USA/Russia)

Looper (Rian Johnson,
See full article at MUBI »

Toronto International Film Festival Announces International Guest List Of Filmmakers And Actors To Walk Red Carpet

The 37th Toronto International Film Festival® will roll out the red carpet for hundreds of guests from the four corners of the globe in September. Filmmakers expected to present their world premieres in Toronto include: Rian Johnson, Noah Baumbach, Deepa Mehta, Derek Cianfrance, Sion Sono, Joss Whedon, Neil Jordan, Lu Chuan, Shola Lynch, Barry Levinson, Yvan Attal, Ben Affleck, Marina Zenovich, Costa-Gavras, Laurent Cantet, Sally Potter, Dustin Hoffman, Francois Ozon, David O. Russell, David Ayer, Pelin Esmer, Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Andrew Adamson, Michael McGowan, Bahman Ghobadi, Ziad Doueiri, Alex Gibney, Stephen Chbosky, Eran Riklis, Edward Burns, Bernard Émond, Zhang Yuan, Michael Winterbottom, Mike Newell, Miwa Nishikawa, Margarethe Von Trotta, David Siegel, Scott McGehee, Gauri Shinde, Goran Paskaljevic, Baltasar Kormákur, J.A. Bayona, Rob Zombie, Peaches and Paul Andrew Williams.

Actors expected to attend include: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jackie Chan, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Bill Murray, Robert Redford,
See full article at »

Tiff 2012 News: More Canadian Content Announced

Toronto – On August 8th, in the Imperial Room of The Fairmont Royal York Hotel, the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival held its Canadian Press Conference. Inside, guests were treated to an assortment of trademark Canadiana, including free beer, cakes, polite conversations and poutine.

Just as you thought the conference couldn’t get more Canadian, Tiff 2012 announced the next wave of hometown content to appear at this year’s festival.

“Through comedy, thrills, drama and suspense, films in the lineup present stories of youth and violence, coming of age, the environment, dysfunctional families, sex and celebrity,” said Steve Gravestock, Senior Programmer of the festival.

“From intimate, affecting stories with big impact to films with global scope, the Canadian films in this year’s Festival will move audiences”.

Screenings include:

Antiviral (North American Premiere)

Brandon Cronenberg, USA/Canada

Starring Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Gadon, Douglas Smith, Malcolm McDowell

An employee at a clinic,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Tiff 2012 Announces Canadian Features Including New Films From Sarah Polley, Xavier Dolan and Brandon Cronenberg

  • The Film Stage
In the last major update for the Toronto International Film Festival 2012 slate, they’ve announced their Canadian features. The line-up includes Sarah Polley’s upcoming documentary Stories We Tell, coming off her Take This Waltz this summer (which also premiered at Tiff). The other major films include two we’ve seen at Cannes,one being Brandon Cronenberg‘s Antiviral, which premiered alongside his father’s Cosmopolis. We disliked it (full review), saying it came off as an “an amateurish, high-budget student film.” The other major title is Xavier Dolan‘s Laurence Anyways, which we loved (full review), calling it a major step forward for the filmmaker. Check out the rest of the titles below, which I’m sure will include many discoveries.

Antiviral Brandon Cronenberg, Canada/USA North American Premiere

Syd March is an employee at a clinic that sells injections of live viruses harvested from sick celebrities to obsessed fans.
See full article at The Film Stage »

Turbulence des fluides

Turbulence des fluides
MONTREAL -- A winning follow-up to her first feature "2 Seconds", which won two awards at the 1998 Montreal World Film Festival, writer-director Manon Briand's "La Turbulence des fluides" (Chaos and Desire) is the moody, beautifully executed story of an independent-minded seismologist who returns to her hometown in eastern Quebec to investigate a disturbing tidal phenomenon. Outside Canada, its commercial prospects are probably modest, but, with more festival playdates, Briand's reputation will benefit, and hopefully she'll keep turning out such high-quality work.

In addition to opening the 26th MWFF and setting a high standard for the other 25 features in the offical competition, the French-language "Turbulence" was generally embraced by festivalgoers and critics -- and managed to make one almost forget Olivier Ayache-Vidal's wild, six-minute short preceding it, which features a gun-waving member of the audience interrupting what looks like a trailer for a brainless Hollywood thriller and interacting with a scared couple onscreen.

In "Turbulence", Alice (Pascale Bussieres) was born in the small town of Baie-Comeau but has not been there in a long time. When the film opens, she's gently ending a one-night stand in Tokyo, where she works as a seismologist with a team looking for "precursor" events. At work, a report comes in that the ocean tides have stopped in the vicinity of Alice's hometown and she -- convinced that the "big one" is about to strike in Japan -- reluctantly goes to investigate.

Once in Quebec, it's impossible for her to ignore the many signs that nature and the locals are not right. It's unbearably warm for a place that has never relied on air conditioning, the tides have halted, a small child wanders the town at night in a trance, and everyone is haunted by the death of the wife of a strapping firefighting pilot, Marc (Jean-Nicolas Verreault), a year earlier.

But the unexpected reunion with old college friend Catherine (Julie Gayet), a journalist who makes no secret of her love for Alice, and late-night chats in a coffee shop run by an ex-nun (Genevieve Bujold), who remembers the lead's troublesome birth, start to chip away at Alice's professional detachment. Initially attracted to Marc, she waits a bit and then tries to have an affair, but the page of the phone book with his number is ripped out all across town.

While flirting with magic realism and loosely tying events of a personal or inconsequential nature with environmental phenomenon, "Turbulence" only stretches things a bit too far with the unexpected retrieval of a body from the ocean that should have long ago been consumed by denizens of the deep. Still, the way this is handled, as well as the climactic temblor that almost kills Alice, shows that Briand's skills as a cinematic storyteller are highly evolved.

In the lead role, Bussieres has the squinty look of a worldly woman who knows no master. The miracle of finding real love in the least expected time and place becomes the actress' task to convey, and it's a marvelous performance. French thespian Gayet is likewise delightful as the peppy girlfriend who helps Alice investigate the tides, while Bujold is perfectly cast. Also a presence that elevates the film, Verreault plays a sensitive Big Man with understated charisma. David Franco's cinematography is excellent and Richard Comeau's editing shines.


Studio Max Films, Europa Corp

Credits: Screenwriter-director: Manon Briand; Producers: Roger Frappier, Luc Vandal, Luc Besson, Pierre-Ange Le Pogam; Director of photography: David Franco; Production designer: Mario Hervieux; Editor: Richard Comeau; Music: Simon Clouquet, Valmont; Costume designers: Louise Gagne, Liz Vandal; Casting: Lucie Robitaille. Cast: Alice: Pascale Bussieres; Marc: Jean-Nicolas Verreault; Catherine: Julie Gayet; Colette: Genevieve Bujold.

No MPAA rating, running time 113 minutes.

Montreal thanking Besson

Montreal thanking Besson
MONTREAL -- If you're a French-language filmmaker, it helps to have local Quebec producer Rogers Frappier and French filmmaker-turned producer and distributor Luc Besson in your corner.Besson, attending the Montreal World Film Festival this weekend to receive a special Grand Prix of the Americas, co-produced Manon Briand's "La Turbulence des fluides" (Chaos and Desire), the opening-night film in Montreal, which so far has garnered the bulk of media attention.The Quebec-France co-venture between Besson's Europa Corp. and Max Films of Montreal sets an important precedent for the Quebec film industry, said Ariel Veneziano, director of international sales at Alliance Atlantis Pictures International, which retains Canadian and international rights to Briand's second film.Besson's participation should open Gallic doors, Veneziano said. "It's important for us (to have) someone of the stature and profile of Besson as a producer and distributor in France," he said.Quebec producers have had a long association with France as a source of film and TV co-production financing. The challenge has been securing marketing funds and punch in the French market for Quebec films.Besson's Europa Corp. will distribute "Turbulence" in France, Switzerland and Belgium, beginning in November. Veneziano added that he anticipates a Japanese sale for Briand's film on the strength of Besson's reputation.On this side of the Atlantic, Veneziano said the Quebec release of "Turbulence" on Sept. 6 should be boosted by the local profile of Max Films' Frappier, the dean of Quebec art house film producers.Frappier and Max Films partner Luc Vandal have a track record at the Montreal World Film Festival and the Quebec boxoffice. The pair collaborated on Denis Chouinard's "Ange de goudron" (Tar Angel), which opened the 2001 Montreal World Film Festival and earned last year's FedEx Award for best Canadian film.

Film review: 'Cosmos'

Film review: 'Cosmos'
An intriguing but failed attempt at episodic filmmaking, "Cosmos" takes six separate stories from six different directors and attempts to interweave them, the only common thread being the character of Cosmos, a Greek taxi driver who appears throughout.

Unfortunately, most of the episodes fail to resonate, and the most striking thing about this Canadian effort, showcased at the New Directors/New Films festival, is the gorgeous black-and-white cinematography by Andre Turpin, who also directed the best episode.

Shot in and around Montreal, the film's stories have a fragmented, wispy quality that makes them almost instantly forgettable. The most entertaining episode, Turpin's "Jules and Fanny", concerns the reunion of two former lovers after many years. Fanny (Marie-France Lambert) is now a successful lawyer, and Jules (Alexis Martin) is the translator for a deaf woman who figures prominently in one of her cases. But the amusing story line mainly revolves around whether Jules will get to take a peek at Fanny's new, surgically augmented breasts.

That gives you an idea of the film's weightiness. Denis Villenueve's "The Technetium" concerns a filmmaker's freak-out during a television talk show appearance. Jennifer Alleyn's "Aurore and Crepuscule" depicts the platonic romantic encounter between an older man and a beautiful young woman. Manon Briand's "Boost" presents Cosmos' efforts to help a young girl who experiences car trouble while trying to reach a friend who may be HIV-positive. And Marie-Julie Dallaire's "The Individual" is a would-be suspenser about a seemingly innocuous young man who spreads terror.

Cosmos (Igor Ovadis), the engaging Greek taxi driver, shows up to little effect in each of these vignettes and even gets one of his own, in which his taxicab is stolen and a slapstick chase ensues.

Although it contains some effective performances and certainly looks good, "Cosmos" comes across as both underwhelming and pretentious, a fairly deadly combination. Considering that it enlists the talents of six different filmmakers, the end result demonstrates a surprisingly low ratio of quality.


Max Films

Director-screenwriters: Denis Villenueve,

Jennifer Alleyn, Arto Paragamian, Manon Briand, Andre Turpin, Marie-Julie Dallaire

Screenwriter: Sebastien Joannette

Producer: Roger Frappier

Director of photography: Andre Turpin

Editor: Richard Comeau

Music: Michel A. Smith



Cosmos: Igor Ovadis

Morille: David La Haye

Nadja: Audrey Benoit

Aurore: Sarah-Jeanne Salvy

Crepuscule: Gabriel Gascon

Janvier: Marc Jeanty

Yannie: Marie-Helene Montpetit

Fanny: Marie-France Lambert

Jules: Alexis Martin

Stranger: Sebastien Joannette

Running time -- 100 minutes

No MPAA rating

See also

Credited With | External Sites