Report finds event offers few opportunities, is poorly attended

MONTREAL — Canuck film-funding agency Telefilm Canada slammed the Montreal World Film Festival Tuesday for its strained relations with the film industry, arrogant management style and lack of collaboration with public sector partners.

The criticisms came in a report on the country’s main fests by Montreal consulting firm Secor. It was commissioned by Telefilm and Quebec provincial funding agency Sodec.

The Toronto, Vancouver and Atlantic events were given top marks but Montreal, whose prexy Serge Losique refused to co-operate with the study, didn’t fare well.

“With respect to deal-making, the verdict is unanimous: Montreal offers few opportunities since the film market is not normally on the agenda of major international buyers and sellers,” per the report. “The market is poorly attended and the majority of people consulted question its usefulness.”

The report goes on to note that local industry players are dissatisfied with Montreal’s style of management. “This may be a turning point for the festival’s future, as some industry members admit that dialogue now appears to be out of the question,” the report said.

The study does concede that the fest is popular with local film fans, but says attendance is small for the size of the city.

Losique refused to comment Tuesday and fest spokesman David Novek would only say that “it’s full-speed ahead for this year’s festival.”

It is unclear how the Telefilm report will impact the future of the Montreal fest, which runs Aug. 26 to Sept. 6. Telefilm and Sodec fund the event and neither has said they would cut financing due to the fest’s problems.

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