Fest fracas in Montreal

MONTREAL — The Montreal World Film Festival has launched a C$5 million ($3.6 million) lawsuit against the Montreal Intl. Festival of Cinema and New Media, charging that the smaller fest is deliberately creating confusion in the film industry and trying to usurp the World Film Festival’s position as the city’s premier film festival.

The lawsuit, which was lodged in Quebec Superior Court in Montreal on Monday, states that the name of the more underground festival is too similar to the name of the festival run by Serge Losique and that the Festival of Cinema and New Media organizers have been deliberately trying to steal pics already signed up for the World Film Festival.

The Festival of Cinema and New Media just completed its first edition Sunday in Montreal, but it has existed for over 25 years under its previous incarnation as the Montreal Festival of New Cinema and Video.

Last year, Montreal-based software firm Softimage’s chief executive Daniel Langlois teamed up with New Cinema founder Claude Chamberlan and committed to investing millions of his own dollars to beef up the alternative event. Langlois became president of the newly renamed fest, with Chamberlan now holding the title of general manager.

In the lawsuit, it is argued that by choosing the name Festival of Cinema and New Media, the new event is “creating confusion in the cinema milieu and thus profiting from the prestigious reputation of the plaintiff’s festival.”Langlois told Daily Variety Wednesday that he was still not sure how his festival would respond to Losique’s attack, but said that his festival functions as a complementary event to the World Film Festival, providing innovative, experimental film fare and new media productions.

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