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Lelouch goes to Montreal to head the Jury

Claude Lelouch heads jury of the New Montreal FilmFest

Celebrated French filmmaker Claude Lelouch will head the international jury of the inaugural edition of the New Montreal FilmFest, September 18-25. The renowned director of A Man and a Woman and other hits will preside over a jury including Italian screen star Anna Galiena, Mexican director Felipe Cazals, Chinese film star Chang Chen, Quebec cineaste and animation expert Marcel Jean, German producer Eberhard Junkersdorf, and Eva Zaoralová, head of the Karlovy Vary Festival in the Czech Republic.

One of the most prolific artists of the French cinema, with some three dozen features to his credit, works ranging from big-budget epics to intimate essays on love and destiny, Claude Lelouch began making short films while serving in the military. After his discharge he established his own production company, Les Films 13, for which he made his first feature Le Propre de l'homme (1960). It was a disastrous debut and he spent the next two years making backdrop short films for juke boxes in order to pay off his debts. By 1963, Lelouch was back making films, and in 1966, he won international acclaim with A Man and a Woman starring Anouk Aimée and Jean‑Paul Belmondo. Lelouch won the Palme d’or at Cannes and an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for his work – almost unheard of for a foreign-language film. His international reputation was established. Although his subsequent work has never matched that level of acclaim, he has regularly been applauded for the spontaneity of his work and the freedom of movement of his style (he has often operated the camera himself and pioneered the use of compact, light equipment).

Born in Rome, Anna Galiena studied under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York, where she made her stage debut in a 1978 production of Romeo and Juliet and later played Nina in Chekhov’s The Seagull and in Elia Kazan’s 1983 production of The Chain. Galiena continued to work in a variety of American theatrical productions until 1984 when she returned to her native country to play on stage and television. In the1980s she began her screen career with a series of Italian and French films culminating in her breakthrough role in Patrice Leconte’s Le Mari de la coiffeuse (The Hairdresser’s Husband, 1990). Her performance as the eponymous beautician who marries an older man won critical acclaim and international attention, a feat she quickly repeated in such films as Bigas Luna’s Jamón, jamón (1992), Alessandro d’Alatri’s Senza pelle (Without Skin, 1994) and John Duigan’s The Leading Man (1996). Fluent in four languages, Galiena has continued to divide her time between stage, screen and television on both sides of the Atlantic. She was a member of the jury of the Berlin Film Festival in 2003.

A pioneer of the New Wave of Mexican cinema that evolved in the bitterness and angst of the late 1960s, Felipe Cazals was born in Mexico City in 1937. He studied at IDHEC, the Paris film school during the 1960s, then returned home to begin making his first short films for the La Hora de Bellas Artes program on Mexican television. Together with Arturo Ripstein, Rafael Castanedo and Pedro F. Miret, he founded the Cine Independente de Mexico association, which, among others, produced Ripstein’s La hora de los niños and Cazals’ own Familiaridades (1969). The following year he demonstrated his directing range in the commercial epic Emiliano Zapata and quickly established himself as one of Mexico’s leading film artists. He has since directed several key films of modern Mexican cinema, including Canoa (1976), Bajo la metralla (1983, Beneath the Shrapnel), El Tres de Copas (1986), Las inocentes (1986), Su Alteza Serenísima (2000, His Most Serene Highness) and Digna: Hasta el último aliento (2004).

Chang Chen made one of the most incandescent screen debuts ever at the age of 14 in Edward Yang's A Bright Summer Day and has since gone on to become one of the brightest stars of the international Chinese cinema. Born in Taipei, China in 1976, Chang is the son of actor Guozhu Zhang and is perhaps best known for his role as Lo, the desert bandit, in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He previously teamed up with Wong Kar Wai in Happy Together and in a video Wong directed for DJ Shadow called Six Days. Chang also stars in Wong’s 2046 opposite Maggie Cheung and opposite Gong Li in Wong Kar Wai's segment of the portmanteau film Eros. Among his most recent roles are those in Tian Zhuang Zhuang’s The Go Master and Hou Hsiao Hsien’s lastest film The Best of Our Times. Chang has been nominated twice for Hong Kong Film Awards, for Happy Together and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Also a musician, Chang has released two albums.

Producer, director, critic and teacher, Marcel Jean wrote about film for Le Devoir newspaper in the 1980s and 1990s, before becoming curator of animation film at the Cinémathèque québécoise in 1996. In 1999 he became head of the French-language animation studio at the National Film Board of Canada, and supervised the production of such noted works as Black Soul (Martine Chartrand, 2001), Aria (Pjotr Sapegin, 2001), Pirouette (Tali, 2002), Angeli (Lejf Marcussen, 2002), The Brainwashers (Patrick Bouchard, 2002) and Stormy Night (Michèle Lemieux, 2003). Jean has directed two shorts (Le Rendez-vous perpétuel, 1989; Vacheries, 1990) and three documentaries (État critique, 1992; Écrire pour penser, 1998; Luce Guilbeault, explorActrice, 2000), and is the author of Le Langage des lignes and Pierre Hébert, l'homme animé, published by Les 400 coups.

Eberhard Junkersdorf is chairman of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Neuer Deutscher Spielfilmproduzenten and the president of the Federal German Film Fund. In 1973 he founded Bioskop-Film GmbH together with directors Volker Schlöndorff and Reinhard Hauff. One of Germany’s leading producers of serious cinema. Bioskop has since produced over 50 features, including works by Hauff, Schlöndorff, Louis Malle, Margarethe von Trotta, Carlo Rola and Oskar Roehler. In 1995, Eberhard Junkersdorf founded the Munich Animation Studio, and he made his directorial debut in 1995 with The Fearless Four, a feature-length animation. He has also directed Jester Till, which was nominated for an Oscar in 2003. He is currently president of the German Federal Film Board (FFA).

Czech film critic and journalist Eva Zaoralová has been artistic director of the Karlovy Vary Festival since 1995 and oversaw the festival’s focus on Canadian cinema at this year’s event. After studying French and Czech literature at Charles University in Prague, she began working for Kino and Film a doba magazines, and has remained an editor of the latter since 1968. Her translations from French and Italian have been published in book form, and she continues to review for the Czech daily MF DNES. She taught at FAMU, the Prague film school, and is currently a member of its arts council. She has been contributing to the Variety International Film Guide since the early 1990s, and in 1996 she was appointed curator of an extensive retrospective of Czech and Slovak film by the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. She has been a member of juries at several international festivals and is a member of the European Film Academy.

The NMFF jury will screen 14 features and 7 short films in competition for the Golden Iris award. The New Montreal FilmFest will be held in Montreal’s Latin Quarter September 18-25, 2005.

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