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Look back at Montpellier International Festival of Mediterranean Film

The 31st Montpellier International Festival of Mediterranean Film ended on Sunday 1 November.

The preliminary results are better than good in terms of the quality and number of guests and by the strong attendance for both films and round table discussions. With 239 films, the Festival displayed a wealth of choice. This diversity is seen in the prizes, with the Antigone d’or awarded to the Israeli film Ajami that is to be released in France on 24 March 2010.

A big thanks to our guests and to both faithful festival-goers and newcomers. The Festival succeeded in showing what we had imagined, in the company of illustrious creative people and a great number of emerging artistes. We shall remember for a long time the magnificent opening with Alejandro Amenábar and his Agora, the 'monumental' presence of Theo Angelopoulos, a fine group of Turkish filmmakers and the wonderful night that started with the fascinating Álex de la Iglesia. Paola Petri came to accompany works by Elio Petri, that many saw for the first time. And then there was Emmanuel Mouret and all his films, with Julie Gayet and Frédérique Bel giving the Festival an extra measure of charm this year.
French filmmakers were a little more present than usual among the guests. Jean-Paul Rappeneau made an elegant appearance for his Cyrano, François Dupeyron was here for Trésor by Claude Berri, Xavier Giannoli and Emmanuelle Devos for À l’origine, François Favrat and the actress Vimala Pons for La Sainte Victoire… This list of guests is not exhaustive, and we should like to head it by Ariane Ascaride, president of the jury, well-accompanied by Rachida Krim, Azize Tan, Sanâa Alaoui and Djamel Bensalah…

With 87 200 spectators (including slightly fewer than 8 000 schoolchildren welcomed within the framework of the young people's festival preceding the opening and 350 lycée pupils who came from all over France for the 'Classes L C.A.V.' courses), the Festival public resisted the temptation of the Indian summer! And to add a few figures, this year's Montpellier Festival welcomed 240 official guests, 181 professionals and 113 journalists. In addition to the 239 films already mentioned, the programme included 3 exhibitions, 1 cine-concert, 3 conferences and numerous round table discussions. Finally for all the competitions, 13 prizes were awarded with a total value of more than €100,000 in cash, grants and services. The Professional Meetings on 29 and 30 October attracted 16 film projects for a development aid grant and 5 grants and 1 writing residency were awarded.

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