Film Festival Round-Up

Andre and Mao to Present at SAGSA ConferenceIt’s been a summer of many film festival screenings and Concordian sightings both in Montréal and throughout the world. For a die-hard cinephile, these festivals are the highlight of the year while also suggesting a number of thrilling career paths.

The Festival de Cannes, held in the south of France every year in May, saw Melanie Lanza and PhD student Antoine Damiens active in very different aspects of the film industry. Melanie was hard at work at the SODEC-sponsored booth in the Film Market, attending to the needs of film professionals and representing the Québec film industry. Meanwhie, Antoine worked as an assistant to the head of the Queer Palm jury, Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, with their prize ultimately going to Pride (Matthew Warchus). Somehow both managed to fit in some film screenings around the long working hours, with their personal highlights including the upcoming films Tu dors Nicole (Stéphane Lafleur) and Party Girl (Marie Amachoukeli-Barsacq, Claire Burger & Samuel Theis), winner of the Prix Un certain régard. In my opinion, Jean-Luc Godard’s 3D (!) Adieu au language, Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas) and Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg) are all can’t-miss films this fall.

Following Cannes, Grad student and film festival organizer Giampaolo Marzi’s Festival MIX Milano was the place to be in Europe. The impeccably curated program and events complimented the academic inquiries of NECS held in Milan at the same time. Notable amongst the selection were works new to Milan by LaBruce and Montréal’s own Xavier Dolan.

It was, of course, tough to not see a familiar face at any of the 150-plus screenings of Montréal’s Fantasia Film Festival. Not only were many in our program trying to pack in as many of the sold-out screenings as they could, but a number were also dilligently at work behind the scenes. Shout-outs to Fantasia stalwarts André Dubois and Justin Langlois helping to bring us, if not Montréal’s best film festival, at the very least it’s rowdiest. Fan favorites included the first Canadian screenings of Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem, the world première of Cybernatural (Levan Gabriadze) and my personal choice amongst the film I took in, the playful, Louis Feuillade-inspired Open Windows (Nacho Vigalondo).

The summer isn’t over yet! We can look forward to Montréal’s competitive Festival des Films du Monde, for which Ellen Payne Smith and Grad/Aperture’s own Philippe Bédard will be working in a key roles, while Marina Ungureanu is active at the Festivalului Internaţional de Film Independent ANONIMUL in Bucharest.