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De Hadeln reveals line up of 170 for inaugural Montreal

170 productions from 40 countries at the Inaugural Edition of the New Montreal Filmfest including 60 Feature-Length Films in World, International or North-American première!

The New Montreal Filmfest has announced those films selected for the very first edition, set to take place from September 18th to 25th, 2005. And let the record show that Program Director Moritz de Hadeln and his team have managed to score a plethora of extraordinary productions to open Montreal’s newest world-class event in celebration of cinema.

14 films in official competition for the Gold and Silver “Iris Awards”

Fourteen films have been selected to compete for the Iris Awards Competition, all to be screened at the Théâtre St-Denis. These include 7 World Premieres, 6 International Premieres and 1 North-American Premiere. All in all, the Festival will also include 60 feature-film premieres from a total of 40 countries around the world.

· Polumgla (Russia) – Directed by Artem Antonov. The film takes place in winter during the Second World War in a village somewhere in northern Russia, where German POWs are building a tower. Their relationship with nearby villagers (mostly women and children, plus a single old man) are difficult, revealing the complexities of the encounter between the disparate groups, who must nonetheless somehow find a common language. In World Premiere.

· Hormigas en la boca (Spain, Cuba) – Directed by Mariano Barroso, winner of the Goya prize and Crystal Globe for Best Director in 1994 for Mi hermano del alma, his first feature film. Mariano was also nominated for a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for Extasis, in 1996. His latest film takes place in Franco’s Spain, when a former political activist from the 30s, Martin, is released from prison and attempts to locate his childhood friend, Julia, and uncle, Dalmau, in Cuba, where he believes they fled with their take from a bank hold-up. It’s the eve of the revolution in Havana, and the corruption of the Battista regime is at its peak. Martin quickly tracks down Dalmau, who’s been working as a tailor but makes ends meet through a variety of petty scams. Dalmau tells him of the death of Julia. Because Martin is short of cash, Dalmau suggests a way out involving the abduction of a local politician. In North-American Premiere.

· Der Fischer und seine Frau (The Fisherman and his Wife) (Germany) – This is the latest film from German director Doris Dorrie, who boasts some 15 fiction and non-fiction films to her catalogue, including Men, which was a huge international success on its release in 1985. A modern take on a Brothers Grimm classics, the story revolves around Ida and Otto who fall in love in rural Japan where Ida has gone in search of inspiration for her fabrics, and where Otto, a veterinarian, is buying koi for German collectors. They marry in a traditional Japanese ceremony, but the honeymoon ends when they return to Germany. Otto helps Ida in her career, to the detriment of his own, and when she gives birth to a child, he stays at home to take care of the baby. Ida wants it all: a family, a flourishing career and an ambitious husband, but the more Otto sacrifices, the more she asks of him, to a point where Otto feels sad and rejected. In World Premiere.

· Josh’s Trees (Switzerland) – This is the 11th work of New-York born filmmaker Peter Entell, who emigrated to Switzerland in 1975 and has worked throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, primarily on social, political and environmental issues. This feature-length documentary is about a director who’s lost a friend, but is addressed to a son who slowly discovers who his father really was. It’s a story about love and death, friendship and the sharing of memories. But it’s also a question: what is it, exactly, that we leave of ourselves upon death to those who have loved us in life and must carry on? What do they make of all the details and memories we share ? And what impact will they have on their own lives? In International Premiere.

· Little Brother (South Korea) – Directed by IM Tai-hyung. This drama is about the tribulations of a family, told through the eyes of a child, a nine-year-old brat named Hani. Hani has his way with everyone: his father and mother, but most especially his older brother, Han-byul, his favorite target. But when he learns that Han-byul has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, everything changes and the family must together confront the extremely delicate situation. Hani meets Wook, the new friend of his brother—who’s had leukemia for a long time—and slowly matures as he’s confronted with the grief of the adults surrounding him. Hani eventually undertakes to provide Han-byul and Wook the strength and hope they so desperately need. In International Premiere.

· Su-ki-da (Japan) – This is the second feature-length film by Hiroshi Ishikawa, a director formerly in advertising who also wrote the screenplay, shot the film and edited it. In Japanese, su-ki means both “to love” and “to love well.” But if you add the suffix da, the emotion expressed is even more intense, constituting a declaration to whomever it is spoken. But why is it so difficult to express such a thing? Yu and Yosuke are seventeen years old, and unable to speak the words su-ki-da. Yu sings the words while Yosuke plays the guitar, but nothing seems to lead anywhere, even though they are so close and irresistibly attracted to one another. But a tragic event tears them apart, until 17 years later—at age 34— when they meet up again in Tokyo. In World Premiere.

· L’Avion (France, Germany) – Directed by Cédric Kahn (who co-wrote the screenplay for Les gens normaux n’ont rien d’exceptionnel with Laurence Ferreira Barbosa) and to whom we owe films such as Bar des rails, selected for the Venice Film Festival in 1993. Cedric Kahn more recently directed Feux rouges, adapted from the George Simenon novel in 2004. This film, on the other hand, is a children’s tale. Young Charly has been very disappointed with his Christmas present: rather than the bicycle he’d been promised, his father has given him a huge mock-up of a plane, which he built himself. A few days later, he disappears tragically, without being able to fulfill a promise he had made to his son. But sadness gives way to enchantment when Charly discovers that the plane works as though it were the real thing, and an extraordinary bond develops with the toy. Charly leaves on an exciting adventure with the mysterious toy, seeking to find his father and thank him for the unexpected gift. In International Premiere.

· Ikaro's Dream (Greece) – A fifth film by Costa Natsis, who began his career as assistant to André Cayatte, Pier Paolo Pasolini and René Clément. Elias is a young man who lives in Epirus, a mountainous region of northern Greece, steeped in ancient history, breath-taking landscapes and a unique musical tradition. Elias wishes to become a musician, against the wishes of his mother. Somewhere between dream and reality, duty and insouciance, Elias’ secret passion provides a link to his mother and makes his childhood dream come true. In World Premiere.

· L'Audition (Canada) – A first film by Quebec actor Luc Picard, one of the best-loved of both the small and big screen and winner of a dozen prizes for his work, all within the last 10 years. Louis is “repo man” who employs strong-arm tactics in his work, but has dreamed from the earliest age of becoming an actor. A cousin helps him get an audition where he’ll be playing the role of a father leaving a final message to his son. With the help of a famous actor, he secretly rehearses his scenes, without even telling Suzie, the love of his life. But she also has a secret: she’s pregnant and doesn’t want her child to grow up in an atmosphere of violence. But with all their secrets, the desire to become parents and an uncertain future before them, how will Louis and Suzie find a future together? The film stars Alexis Martin, Suzanne Clément and Denis Bernard. Produced for Cité-Amérique by Lorraine Richard and Luc Martineau. In World Premiere.

· Tatuado (Tatooed) (Argentina) – A second feature by Eduardo Raspo, whose career has taken him from television to short films and advertising. Paco has a tattoo of a mongoose on his forearm, a last souvenir of his mother who died when he was a child. His father re-married and has had another child with Paco’s step-mother, which Paco resents for the attention it deprives him of. Accompanied by his father, he sets off on a trip to discover the significance of his tattoo and to learn about his mother, even though wary of the long-ago memories that threaten to re-surface. His young girlfriend Tero comes along, as well, bringing her own share of secrets and lies, but the trip takes an unexpected turn when the three face a series of tragic situations. Paco will be confronted with the truth he’s seeking, and finally discover the significance of his permamanent memento of his mother. In International Premiere.

· Mon petit doigt m’a dit (France) –Pascal Thomas, the director behind La Dilettante and Mercredi folle journée, among others, in his cinematic adaptation of the last exploit of the Beresfords (two protagonists created by Agatha Christie), starring Catherine Frot and André Dussollier. What is it, exactly, that compelled Madame Rose Evangelista to abruptly leave the senior’s residence where she’d been living? And why all her strange mumbling about long-ago tragedies? Bélisaire and Prudence Beresford are visiting their aunt just at the moment of Madame Evangelista’s disappearance, and Prudence cannot help but be suspicious. She sets off in search of Madame Rose, along the way encountering a number of equally extraordinary characters. But it will be a long journey indeed before Prudence and Bélisaire Beresford (respectively sharing the patience of Hercule Poirot and the humor of Agatha Christie) discover the astonishing secret behind the woman’s disappearance. Mon petit doigt m'a dit... is the last of four adventures featuring the Beresford characters. In International Premiere.

· Shisso (Dead Run) (Japan) – Directed by Sabu. This is the 8th film by writer/director Sabu, whose career began in theatre. Adapted from the novel by Kiyoshi Shigematsu, Dead Run tells the story of two brothers who live in a drought-stricken region. Over the years, the two grow up and take their separate paths. The oldest, Shuji, frequently attends a Christian church where he meets Eri, a young woman to whom he’s attracted, but who must leave for Tokyo. The youngest, Shuichi, becomes undisciplined, cheats in university and lives a criminal life before finally being arrested. Shuji isolates himself to read his Bible, but constant thoughts of Eri lead him to Tokyo to find her. There, he duncovers a secret that causes him enormous grief, and the two are forced to escape with their lives. In World Premiere.

· Quo Vadis, Baby ? (Italy) – Directed by Gabriele Salvatores, Oscar-winner for best foreign film, Mediterraneo. Giorgia—a restless private detective in her forties with an unkempt appearance and a lively spirit—works in her father’s agency in Bologna, spending most of her time spying on cheating husbands and wives. One day, a boxful of home-made videos arrives, representing the private journal of her younger sister, Ada, who was sixteen at the time of her suicide. The films show a happy and extroverted young woman who was hoping to embark on a career as an actress and who was hiding an affair from her husband-to-be—nothing to suggest someone on the verge of suicide. Georgia becomes suspicious and attempts to discover what’s behind the mysterious death, delving deeply into her family’s past along the way. In International premiere.

· We (Brother) (China) – Directed Zeng Nianping. In World Premiere.







A booklet of tickets to films in official competition will be on sale this Saturday


A number of special events to take place during the Festival
To kick off the new Festival, the New Montreal Filmfest will be hosting several special events for the transitional year before hitting full stride in 2006. Most notably will be the presentation of some major French productions, including a tip of the hat to French Cinema through the Panorama du jeune cinéma français and an homage to Michel Deville, both presented by Air France.

· A new film by Cédric Klapish, Les poupées russes, a has been selected to inaugurate this first edition of the New Montreal Filmfest on September 18th. This will be the International premiere of the film. Five years after the huge success of L’auberge espagnole, Xavier (Romain Duris) has become a writer and his friends Wendy (Kelly Reilly), Martine (Audrey Tautou), Isabelle (Cécile de France) and William (Kevin Bishop) will embark on the series of comic and romantic misadventures of a writer looking for work. (Opening Gala, at the Théâtre St-Denis, Sunday, September 18, presented by Toyota Canada and Astral Média.)



· It will be the first screening in Quebec of Saints-Martyrs-des-Damnés, by Robin Aubert, starring François Chénier and Patrice Robitaille as well as Isabelle Blais, Hubert Loiselle, Mathilde Lavigne, Monique Mercure and Monique Miller. Hurrying to the village of Saints-Martyrs-des-Damnés to investigate some mysterious disappearances, a journalist discovers a universe hovering between the dramatic and the fantastical. The disappearance of her photographer—as well as other strange characters, including a young woman who died on the day of her wedding—lead our journalist to ask some serious questions about identity, including his own. (Friday, September 23 at the Théâtre St-Denis).



· Comedian Xavier Beauvois—winner of the Prix de Rome for film and the Prix Jean Vigo and the Prix du Jury in Cannes for his film N’oublie pas que tu vas mourir in 1995, which he wrote, directed and starred in—will be presenting the North-American premiere of Le petit lieutenant. A young lieutenant, Antoine (Jalil Lespert) has been assigned to the Paris precinct where he works under Commander Vaudieu (Nathalie Baye), a seductive fifty-year-old, back at work after experiencing a family crisis. The two get to know one another during an investigation that takes place in southern France. Also starring Roschdy Zem, in the role of Solo.



· Another highlight of this first year promises to be the North-American premiere of Joyeux Noël by Christian Carion, much acclaimed last May at Cannes. The France/England/Germany/Belgium/Romanian co-production was inspired by a true story that took place during the Great War of 1914 on Christmas Eve, when brotherhood and humanity replaced hatred in the trenches of France, Scotland and Germany. Lead roles are played by Diane Krüger, Daniel Brühl and Guillaume Canet (Saturday, September 24, presented by Loto-Québec, in the Théâtre St-Denis).



· Not to be missed is Le courage d’aimer, an intimate collage full of energy, self-deprecating humor and joie de vivre by Claude Lelouch. The French press has been unanimous in its praise for the new work, describing it as among his best. Starring: Mathilde Seigner, Michel Leeb, Maïwenn, Massimo Ranieri and Arielle Dombasle (Wednesday, September 21st at the Théâtre St-Denis).

· Young director Bruno Podalydès (Le Mystère de la chambre jaune (2003), Liberté-Oléron (2001), Dieu seul me voit (1998) and the short film Versailles rive gauche (1991) has created a major stir in France with the release of Le Parfum de la dame en noir. Adapted from the celebrated novel by Gaston Leroux and following on the heels of Mystère de la chambre jaune (2003), Le Parfum de la dame en noir reprises the characters of Mathilde Stangerson and Robert Darzac. Newly married, the two arrive with their friends Édith and Arthur Rance at the exclusive Château d’Hercule. But the horrific Larsan re-enters their lives and once again terrorizes the beautiful Mathilde. Rouletabille, always with his faithful Sainclair at his side, must lead an investigation to discover how Larsan found his way into the stronghold. With Sabine Azema and Pierre Arditi. In North-America Premiere.



· Vidéotron and Quebecor Inc. will be hosting the closing gala on Sunday, September 25th at the Théâtre St‑Denis, with the presentation of the Iris Awards. The closing film will be announced shortly.



Individual tickets for special events will go on sale this Saturday


Artists deserving of our admiration and respect
Besides L’Audition and Saints-Martyrs-des-Damnés, the Festival will be presenting a variety of 20 or so Quebec and Canadian films, of which 6 will be world premieres. These include: Quand la vie est un rêve by Charles Gervais, Silent Messengers by William D. MacGillivray, Les moutons de Jacob by Jean‑François Pothier, The Hunt for Justice: The Louise Arbour Story by Charles Binamé, Escape to Canada by Albert Nerenberg and À part des autres by Marcel Simard. Other films by local filmmakers will also be presented, such as Niagara Motel, by Gary Yates, in North-American premiere, and A History of Violence by David Cronenberg. More films are constantly being added to our listings, which is to say that the New Montreal Filmfest is paying extra-special attention to Canadian- and Quebec-made films, celebrating a national cinema that was born of the documentary film and the National Film Board of Canada, who pioneered the form.

In fact, the NFB theatre will be host to retrospectives in honor of Michel Brault and the recently deceased Robin Spry, who both made an important contribution to Canadian documentaries of a political and social nature. An Iris Hommage will be awarded to Michel Brault , who is one of the greatest directors and directors of photography in Canadian cinema and whose name appears on the credits of nearly 200 productions, including ten of the all-time best ever made in this country. One of his most famous, Les ordres will be presented for the occasion in his honor. (Thursday, September 22 at the Théâtre St-Denis 2).

As was recently announced, an Iris Hommage will be awarded to the internationally renowned French filmmaker Michel Deville – writer and director of over 30 films and winner of dozens of prestigious awards from numerous festivals. Deville’s Iris will be awarded on Monday, September 19 at the Théâtre St-Denis 2, which will also provide the opportunity to screen the North-American premiere of his latest film, Un fil à la patte, starring Emmanuelle Béart and Charles Berling. The event will be presented by Air France in association with Unifrance Films and the French Consulate General.

An extraordinary panorama of quality films will also appear under the banners Latin Universe (presented by Videotron), Planet Earth (presented by Toyota Canada) and a number of other programs specializing in short films (presented by MILK). This first selection has been compiled by the programming committee under Program Director Moritz de Hadeln, who viewed over 700 films to make his own selection. The Festival Programming Committee includes: Jean Lefebvre, Danny Lennon, Robert Meunier, André Pâquet, Léa Pool and Éric Fourlanty, as well as international delegates Christel Buschmann, Michel Ciment, Silvio Danese, Oscar Iarussi, Al Newman, Hans‑Joachim Schlegel and Norman Wang.

Created last fall in response to a call for tenders resulting from the SECOR report, the New Montreal Filmfest was spearheaded by a broad group of specialists from the Quebec film milieu, under events-organizing specialists L’Équipe Spectra. Its mandate is to endow Montreal with a major international film competition that is both transparent and popular and that brings to the public at large both well-known names in mainstream cinema as well as first works by emerging artists. The Festival is designed as a meeting place for producers, independent distributors and major studios.
This first edition of the New Montreal Filmfest will take place right in the heart of Montreal’s Latin Quarter on lower Saint‑Denis Street from September 18th to 25th, 2005. Participating theatres are: Théâtre St-Denis, the Cinéma Quartier Latin, Office National du Film du Canada/National Film Board of Canada, the Cinémathèque québécoise and Ex-Centris.

Festival International de Films de Montréal
(514) 525-7732
www.montrealfilmfest.com










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