Montreal World Film Festival: lots of buzz.

Author:Fine, Janet

The "world" has come for the past 21 years to the Montreal World Film Festival, held in conjunction with the International Film, Television and Video Market (August 22-September 2). The Montreal audience makes it one of the best-attended film festivals in North America. It offers the chance to view 413 films from 50 countries.

"The World Film Festival has given itself the mission of supporting cinema of quality and new talent," said Serge Losique, founding president of the festival. "In the beginning of our third decade, we hope to continue our objective by being open and generous to all cinema."

Since Montreal attracts an international crowd, the International Film, TV and Video Market has always been an integral part of the event. The market has evolved in the past two years into a high-tech meeting place of buyers and sellers complete with a video screening room and a cybercafe.

"We were one of the first who saw the future of markets to use more technology rather than traditional stalls to sell," said Market Director Gilles Beriault. "There are more than 850 industry participants, and more than 30 were contacted in advance to make appointments on our popular Web site."

Business started on the first day of the market with the Toei Company's sale of their new film Lost Paradise (directed by Yoshimitsu Morita) to Alliance for an undisclosed "large amount of money." And so the market was off and running.

"A good cross-section of buyers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Latin America have helped the market come around, [what] with new channels and satellite relying on TV sales and films," said Beriault. "The new Canadian specialty channels are just starting new productions, so this has not yet made a big impact, but the regulation of keeping Canadian content for primetime TV has kept Canadian programming alive."

Montreal Film Festival and TV Commission representative Andre Lafond said that this crop of 54 feature films and made-for-TV movies shot in Montreal represented a 15 percent increase over 1995. Lafond said that a total of $293 million was spent last year to shoot films, TV shows and commercials. Lafond anticipates that more than $380 million will be spent on production in Montreal in 1997.

"I've been coming to Montreal for the past 15 years. It is my favorite festival to see films for HBO and Cinemax," said Jim Byerley, director of Film Evaluation at HBO."I resent a festival were you can't view films, but here you can really see...

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