This article was updated at 6:30 p.m. PT on July 31, 2003.
MONTREAL — Montreal World Film Festival prexy Serge Losique on Thursday provided a taste of the films skedded for the event, including a number of U.S. indie pics, notably helmer Gus Van Sant’s provocative Palme d’Or winner “Elephant.”
He also spoke for the first time about a controversy over the fest’s date changes, which he said has been blown out of proportion by the media.
Montreal, which usually wraps on Labor Day, will run Aug. 27-Sept. 7, overlapping with Venice and with the first weekend of Canuck archrival Toronto.
“A lot of people tell us it doesn’t matter,” said fest VP Daniele Cauchard. “Most people from abroad don’t stay for the whole festival anyway. So it’s not such a big deal.”
However, the industry has been very negative about the change, announced in the fall.
“Not only is it bad for Canadian filmmakers but it’s also unfortunate for international buyers because people can’t be at two places at the same time,” said “Maelstrom” producer Roger Frappier. “For a lot of the buyers Toronto comes first, so if the dates overlap they won’t come to Montreal. It just shows that Montreal is losing more ground on the international level.”
Losique will be hoping that the 34 titles announced Thursday will whet the industry’s appetite — a full lineup will be unveiled Aug. 12.
Apart from “Elephant,” inspired by the 1999 Columbine High School slayings, lineup includes “Manhood,” produced by Jung N Restless Prods., about a man trying to give up his womanizing ways, and “Die Mommie Die,” with legit veteran Charles Busch and Jason Priestley.
The U.S. competitor for the Grand Prix of the Americas is “The Gun (From 6 to 7:30 p.m.),” a film from L.A.-based Russian helmer Vladimir Alenikov (“The Red One: Triumph”) and produced by Front Line Films. Filmed in real time and shot in only 15 scenes with no cuts, pic follows the movements of a gun.
The competition also includes “French Men,” from Algerian-born Gallic writer-director Marc Esposito, and “Gaz Bar Blues,” the much anticipated second feature from Montreal helmer Louis Belanger (“Post Mortem”).
Italian filmmaker Gabriele Salvatores’ “I’m Not Scared,” which Miramax is distributing, will screen out of competition. Pic tells the story of a 10-year-old boy who stumbles across a kidnapped boy.
Montreal also will screen Iranian helmer Samira Makhmalbaf’s “Panj-E Asr,” about post-Taliban Afghanistan; German director Helma Sanders-Brahms’ “The Color of Soul”; “The House by the Canal,” from Alain Berliner (“La Vie en rose”); and Rolf de Heer’s Australian pic “Alexandra’s Project.”
The fest has skedded a tribute to Montreal producer Denise Robert, who has two hits this year, “The Barbarian Invasions” and “Mambo Italiano.” The tribute will include a screening of Denys Arcand’s “Barbarian Invasions,” the opening-night pic at the Toronto fest.
Losique and Cauchard said that new awards, originally meant to be accompanied by prize money, will not have cash attached this year.
Le Coeur des Hommes (French Men)
Marc Esposito; France
Gaz Bar Blues
Louis Bélanger; Canada
The Gun (From 6 to 7:30 p.m.)
Vladimir Alenikov; U.S.
Io Non Ho Paura (I’m Not Scared)
Gabriele Salvatores; Italy, Spain, U.K.
Le Miracle de Berne (The Miracle of Bern)
Sonke Wortmann; Germany
Samira Makhmalbaf; Iran, France
Les Triplettes de Belleville (Belleville Rendez-vous)
Sylvain Chomet; Canada, France, Belgium
Fairytales & Pornography
Chris Philpott; Canada
Little Brother of War
Damon Vignale; Canada
See Grace Fly
Pete McCormack; Canada
Die Mommie Die
Mark Rucker; U.S
Gus Van Sant; U.S.
Bobby Roth; U.S.
Die Farbe der Seele (The Color of Soul)
Helma Sanders-Brahms; Germany
La Maison du Canal (The House by the Canal)
Alain Berliner; France
S Liuboviu, Lilia (With Love, lilly)
Larisa Sadilova; Russia
Les Enfants Uniques à l’Entrainement Militaire
Huang Wenhai; China
Sexe du Rue (Street Sex)
Richard Boutet; Canada
Anat Zuria; Israel
Los Debutantes (The Debutants)
Andrés Waissbluth; Chili de l’aîné
Mario Sábato; Argentina
Marcela Arteaga; Mexico
Chito S. Rono; Philippines
Joy of Madness
Hana Makhmalbaf; Iran
Amir Karakulov; Kazakhstan
Nawfel Saheb-Ettaba; Tunisia, France, Moroccco
The Legend of the Sky Kingdom
Roger Hawkins; Zimbabwe
Mille Mois (A Thousand Months)
Fouazi Bensaidi; Moroccco, France, Belgium
Falling in Love Again
Munro Ferguson; Canada
Legend of the Forest — Special Edition
Tezuka Osamu; Japan
Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey
Luke Cresswell, Steve McNicholas; U.S.
Rolf de Heer; Australia
Stuart McKenzie; New Zealand
Martha’s New Coat
Rachel Ward; Australia