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Festival Dailies

Montreal FF Competition Jury

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  Billie August  Norwegian director Billie August (the winner of two Cannes Palme d'or prizes for the PELLE THE CONQUEROR in 1987 and THE BEST INTENTIONS in 1992) is the President of the Jury at this year's Montreal World Film Festival (running from August 26 to September 6). The famed director and his jury colleagues will determine the Grand Prix des Ameriques, the  Festival's most prestigious award, as well as winners for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Be...

European Films Dominate Montreal Competition

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  The 34th edition of the Montreal World Film Festival kicked off its celebrations last evening with a world premiere screening of local director Louis Belanger's ROUTE 132. Films from across the European continent dominate the Festival's main competition section....all in contention for Grand Prix des Ameriques, the Festival's highest honor. France is the country with the most films in the section, not surprising considering the Festival's love of French cinema and cinema stars. Lea...

Louis Bélanger Returns To Montreal Spotlight

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  Celebrated Quebec writer/director Louis Bélanger makes a triumphant return to the Montreal World Film Festival, which opens this evening with the director's latest film ROUTE 132. The film is making its World Premiere in the Competition Section of the event. In this highly dramatic caper drama, two old friends and small-time crooks embark on a crime spree, but take an unexpected detour that could lead them down the road to redemption. The film, co-written by the director ...

THE NEIGHBOR To World Premiere In Montreal

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  Nothing ignites interest like a world premiere, and this year's Montreal World Film Festival is boasting several. Among its most highly anticipated red carpet events is the presentation of THE NEIGHBOR, a film written and directed by Naghmeh Shirkhan. The film will be screened in the First Films World Competition section. Starring Azita Sahebjam, Tara Nazemi, Parisa Wahedi, Kamyar Mahinsa, Matt Dean, Ramin Sanadizadeth and Parvin Sahebjam this Canadian/USA co-production set in ...

Montreal Kicks Off Busy Festival Season

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  The calendar may still say August, but the busy Fall film festival season kicks off in earnest in Montreal later this week as the Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF) will celebrate its 34th edition. The Festival, one of the only FIAPF A-Class film festivals in North America, is the first in a marathon that will take film buffs and professionals to film events in Toronto, Venice, San Sebastian, New York, Woodstock, Deauville and Chicago (just to name a prominent few). The MWFF,...

International Critics Jury At MWFF

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With the start of the season's first major film event, the Montreal World Film Festival on Thursday, September 26, an announcement comes from Quebec about the makeup of the 8 member delegation of the International Film Critics jury, members of the The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI). The critics organization continues to have an important presence in Montreal, with an impressive delegation of international journalists. FIPRESCI JURY MEMBERS FOR MONTREAL WORLD F...

One day to go Until Toronto Film Festival

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RABBIT HOLE (John Cameron Mitchell, USA) With just a month left until the Toronto International Film Festival, the largest film event in North America and one of the premiere film summits of the year, the shape of the event is coming into closer view. With independent and international cinema showing some pulse at the box office after a disasterous two years, all eyes will be turning to Canada in the coming weeks for a crystal ball peak at what should be some of the big end-of-y...

Gérard Depardieu To Give Master Class In Montreal

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  For devotees of French cinema, it doesn't get much better than this. Gérard Depardieu, the bad boy-turned-eminence grise of French cinema, will give a master class on the cinema at the Montreal World Film Festival on the Festival's final day of September 6. The celebrated French star will reflect on his craft, his experiences with the great film directors of his era and on his vision of the contemporary cinema. “It was in Montreal, in 1983, that Gérard Depardieu received h...

Nathalie Baye Feted At Montreal FF

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  The Montreal World Film Festival will pay tribute to the celebrated French actress Nathalie Baye, who will be in Montreal to present a selection of her films. One of the most well-respected and versatile French actresses of her generation, Nathalie Baye has enjoyed a lengthy career that has included multiple César awards and a wide variety of roles. She has been the muse of many of the great directors of the French screen, such as Alain Cavalier, Nicole Garcia, Jean-Luc Godard, Toni...

Toronto FF Opens With Hockey Musical

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   Olivia Newton-John in SCORE: A HOCKEY MUSICAL Toronto and hockey......a match made in maple leaf heaven. Add music and icon Olivia Newton-John to the mix and you've got the ingredients for a fun and campy film delight. Well, that delightful concoction, the first hockey musical that I've ever heard tell of, will be the Opening Night Gala for the Toronto International Film Festival in September. The Festival hosts the world premiere of SCORE: A HOCKEY MUSICAL by Canadian writ...

French Canadian Film To Open Montreal World Film Festival

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  ROUTE 132, directed by Montreal filmmaker Louis Bélanger, will open the 2010 Montreal World Film Festival, and will inaugurate its official competition. The film is making its world premiere at the Festival, one of North America's largest, which runs from August 26 to October 6, 2010. Written by Bélanger and Alexis Martin, ROUTE 132 was produced and by Fabienne Larouche and Michel Trudeau for Aetios Productions and by Denise Robert and Daniel Louis for Cinémaginaire. The film...

Do Documentaries Really Matter?

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After the intense (and enjoyable) experience of sitting through at least 15 documentary feature films over 4 days at the just concluded AFI-Discovery Channel Documentary Festival, the question organically arose: do documentaries really matter? As someone who trained in documentary filmmaking techniques (and who made a few, best to be forgotten non-fiction nothings) and an admirer of the stamina, grit and determination of the documentary filmmaker, my answer appeared more hopeful than det...

2010 Silverdocs Audience Awards

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  The AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival Audience Award Winners were announced on Sunday evening as the seven-day doc fest came to an end after screening more than 100 films from over 50 countries. More than 25,000 attendees and 1000 film and media professionals participated in the week-long doc love fest.  The Audience Award for a feature goes to MEN WHO SWIM directed by Dylan Williams.  The film follows a British man living in Sweden on the brink of turn...

2010 Silverdocs Award Winners

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The AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival announced its award winners at a typically low-key awards ceremony on Saturday afternoon, culminating the weeklong festival activities that included the screening of 102 films representing 54 countries, a free outdoor screening, live performances, and a five-day concurrent International Documentary Conference.  This year's Sterling Award for Best US Feature was won by WO AI NI MOMMY (I LOVE YOU, MOMMY) directed by Stephanie...

Strong Showing by European Documentaries

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  This year's AFI-Discovery Channel Documentary Festival boasted a strong showing of new European documentaries. The non-fiction tradition continues to expand with the arrival of new documentary voices from the "first world". The Sterling World Competition section boasted strong films from Europe. THE ARRIVALS by French co-directors Claudine Bories and Patrice Chagnard examined the tensions in French society as more and more immigrants arrive to realize the "French d...

Silverdocs Documentary Festival Awards

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The AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival announced its award winners at a typically low-key awards ceremony on Saturday afternoon, culminating the weeklong festival activities that included the screening of 102 films representing 54 countries, a free outdoor screening, live performances, and a five-day concurrent International Documentary Conference. This year's Sterling Award for Best US Feature was won by WO AI NI MOMMY (I LOVE YOU, MOMMY) directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal, wh...

Secrets And Lies: The Pat Tillman Story

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  It is one of the defining news stories of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars….when all-star football player Pat Tillman walked away from a multi-million dollar contact with the Arizona Cardinals in May 2002 to join the Army, he became an instant symbol of patriotic fervor following the events of 9-11. However, when his promising future ended in unexpected and unnecessary tragedy, the Tillman family refused to accept the “official” story being offered by the military and polit...

Nordic Angst On The Big Screen

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  STEAM OF LIFE (Finland)    I am not sure if it was completely intentional or just one of those alchemic side effects of working with what was available, but one of the unintentional strands of this year’s AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival can only be described as “Nordic angst”, a unique kind of melancholy only found in the sun-starved nations of Scandinavia and northern Europe. A group of films from the region, of diverse subjects and filmic s...

SILVERDOCS Film In Focus: MAKING THE BOYS

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  Sometimes, it takes time passing for true worth to be revealed. Such is clearly the case with the controversial 1960s play THE BOYS IN THE BAND, which was the first drama to feature openly gay men in their natural habitat of downtown Manhattan. The play, by fledgling writer Mart Crowley, was a cultural watershed in 1968 when it opened in a tiny theater in New York’s West Village. It became not only a hit (running five years) but the first openly gay theatrical show (with openly gay w...

Building A Bridge To Peace

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What one of the great benefits (and joys) of an event like the AFI-Discovery Channel Documentary Festival is the presentation of films that go behind the news headlines and offer a portrait of the complexity and urgency of political and social events. The simple idea behind many of the films here is that the more we know, the more we understand, the more we can do. In the case of finding solutions to some of the world's most complicated issues, none is more pressing than the need t...

Honoring A Documentary Master

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  At a film festival devoted to non-fiction works from around the world, the presence of a true documentary master is cause for celebration. Such was the atmosphere on Wednesday evening at the AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival, which honored documentary pioneer Frederick Wiseman with its annual Guggenheim Symposium (the Festival's equivalent of a career achievement award). Wiseman, who has been making controversial and thought-provoking films since the 1960s, is...

Silverdocs Conference Takes Off

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  While it is undeniably fun (and instructive) to view the completed films at this year's SILVERDOCS, much of the meat of the 7 day program is in its annual professional conference. Held parallel to the film screenings at the AFI Silver Theater and other venues, the concurrent International Documentary Conference is a must for professionals in the non-fiction field. The Conference brings together leading filmmakers, educators, broadcasters, business leaders, distributors, private a...

Silverdocs Film In Focus: WAITING FOR SUPERMAN

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  After you have produced one of the influential documentaries of your generation (and also won an Oscar for it), what do you do for an encore? Well, for Davis Guggenheim, the director of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, the rousing documentary that focused on the debate surrounding global warming and climate change (and that resurrected the moribund political career of former vice president Al Gore), the focus returns to a fundamental American challenge: the eroding educational system. Scr...

Pitching New Documentaries At SILVERDOCS

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  The AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland is now in full swing, with industry movers and shakers in town to exchange information and view the latest documentary offerings from around the world. While the completed films get the lion's share of attention from visiting distributors, programmers and an enthusiastic public, many producers are here to try and secure funding that has become increasingly difficult in a stunted indie film market...

FREAKONOMICS Opens AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival

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  The focus returns to documentaries from the US and around the world as the AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival kicked off on Monday evening, June 21. The Festival and International Documentary Conference are the largest events of their kind in the United States, bringing together non-fiction producers, distributors, television executives, film festival programmers and a bevvy of other industry professionals who are passionate about documentaries. Add to that the moti...

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