Montreal fest hasn’t ponied up prize dough

Winners to be paid before this year's event on Aug. 27

MONTREAL — Two helmers who each won cash prizes at August’s Montreal World Film Festival are still waiting for their money.

Chilean director Raoul Ruiz won the Glauber Rocha Prize for Latin American film for “Chilean Rhapsody,” and Tunisian helmer Raja Amari won the African feature award for her debut, “Red Satin.”

Fest organizers say the prize money, initiated for the first time last year, will be paid before the start of this year’s event on Aug. 27. “They had been warned that it could take a while,” said festival spokesman Henry Welsh, who could not shed any light on the reasons why.

The delay does not bode well for the eight new prize money awards the fest is due to add this year.

Welsh said the festival is looking for a sponsor for these awards and that, if one is not found, there may be no cash to go along with future awards.

The prize money brouhaha comes shortly after the Intl. Federation of Film Producers Assn. (FIAPF) withdrew Montreal’s accreditation as an A-list competitive festival because it changed its 2003 dates to overlap with Venice (Aug. 27-Sept. 6) and Toronto (Sept. 4-13).

But Montreal prexy Serge Losique said his festival withdrew from FIAPF because “it had become evident that this so-called ‘accreditation’ was of no use.”

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