Aug 31, 2009

A big week for the big screen: Montreal World Film Festival and M60 Film Festival

by Fiona O'Connor
Over the next week or so, cinephiles will have more than their fair share of flicks to choose from as film events from the international to the indie get underway at various locations across town.

With its internationally-recognized film schools, myriad festivals and production companies both large and small, the city suffers from no shortage of cinematic talent. Though the first week in September marks one particularly significant film event (see first item below), Quebec's ties to film appreciation and celluloid success run long and deep, making Montreal a perfect place to love, hate or make movies all year round.

For starters, here are 2 (considerably different) happenings to check out:

The World Film Festival/Festival des Films du Monde: Now in its 33rd year, the WFF is one of Canada's oldest international festivals and, according to its founder Serge Losique, the largest fully independent festival in the world. Having recovered from an uncertain fate after a major blow to its funding in 2004, the WFF stands once again as the city's premier film event. It's mandate is to "encourage cultural diversity and understanding among nations, to foster the cinema of all continents by stimulating the development of quality cinema, to promote filmmakers and innovative works, to discover and encourage new talents, and to promote meetings between cinema professionals from around the world." As such, its competitive categories include the World Competition, First Films World Competition, Documentaries of the World, and Canadian Student Film Festival. Screenings will take place at some of the city's most celebrated venues. The WFF runs from August 27th to September 7th.

M60, The Montreal 60 Second Film Festival: After the triumphant success of its inaugural year, the M60 Festival will return to La Sala Rossa (one of my favourite spots to eat, drink and catch a show) with its second edition taking place on September 9th, 10th and 11th. The "not-for-profit film festival that celebrates 60 second movies- and those who gather the gumption to make them" features a range of local talent, from first-time filmmakers to pros. The M60 Registration Party is held in July, and it's here that Montreal's cinematic visionaries sign up on a first-come, first-serve basis and the festival's secret theme announced (this year, it's "deception"). From there, the 120 participating M60ers have exactly one month to produce and submit their one minute masterpieces. Last year, organizers had to turn movie-goers away so be sure to buy your $7 tickets in advance!

By determination of biggest round of applause two nights in a row, Dane Lanken's "Usually we go to the beach" was the crowd favourite at last year's M60 screenings.

(For those who understand Portuguese or are just plain handy at deciphering Latin-based languages, I urge you to keep tabs on Montreal For Insider's sister-site, Montreal Para Insiders. Brazilian journalist Maria Ganem, who is currently pursuing a Masters in Film Studies, keeps you educated and abreast of Montreal cinema.)

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