The 31st annual World Film Festival in Montreal wrapped up this Monday and once again it was a flurry of films, press conferences, red carpets, and award ceremonies. Despite all the money worries at the beginning of festival they all cleared up quickly when government funding was granted. With money worries a distant memory, the festival went forward honoring special guests Sophie Marceau and Jon Voight and welcoming special guests such as Matthew Modine, Christopher Lambert and Paul Ahmarani.
Of the 230 feature films that were screened during the festival most happened at Quartier Latin Theatres, but Imperial Theatre and Theatre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts was also used. It seemed to me that the attendance at the festival was not as high as previous years. There certainly were a number of sell outs, such as Ben X, Un Secret, Vous Etes De La Police?, and Pusinsky, but several of the screenings I went to were only half full. Too bad maybe the good weather we've been having had something to do with it.
What was wonderful to see at the festival was the amount of Canadian films that were screened, how well they were received and what high quality they were. Films such as Bluff (Quebec), Surviving My Mother (Quebec), Toi (Quebec), and All The Days Before Tomorrow (Quebec) all had a good buzz around them. The Canadian Student Film Festival also was remarkable for its high quality rendering the judges decisions difficult, but in a festival that is a problem you want to have.
Grand Prix of the Americas: (tie) Ben X by Nic Balthazar (Netherland/Belgium) and Un Secret by Claude Miller (France)
Grand Prix of the Jury: Noodle by Ayelet Menahemi (Israel)
Best Director: Jacob Berger for 1 Journee (Switzerland)
Best Actress: Andrea Sawaktszki in The Other Boy (Germany)
Best Actor: (tie) Filipe Duarte and Tomas Almeida in The Other Side (Portugal/Brazil)
Best Screenplay: Latif Lahlou for Samira's Garden (Morocco)
Public Award for Most Popular Film: Ben X by Nic Balthazar (Netherland/Belgium)
Public Award for Most Popular Canadian Film: Surviving My Mother by Emile Gaudreault (Canada)
Best Documentary: A Father's Music by Igor Heitzmann (Germany)
Best Canadian Short Film: La Lili a Gilles by David Uloth
Ecumenical Prize: Ben X by Nick Balthazar (Netherland/Belgium)
Complete List of winners at www.wff-montreal.org
Photos by Sylvain Legare