MONTREAL — Moritz de Hadeln, the recently appointed head of the Spectra-run New Montreal FilmFest, said Thursday that a top priority will be building bridges with Hollywood.
The fest aims to replace Serge Losique’s Montreal World Film Festival, an event largely ignored by the big studios.
Inaugural edition of de Hadeln’s fest will be held in October, but the former head of the Berlin and Venice festivals wants to move it to June or July in 2006 to snare high-profile Hollywood summer movies, avoid this year’s spat over clashing dates with rival Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema and move it further away from the Toronto Film Festival’s September run.
De Hadeln will arrive in Montreal next week for his first visit since landing the job last month, and at the top of his agenda is meeting rival Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema topper Claude Chamberlan to end the bitter tussle over scheduling.
Chamberlan is furious that the Spectra fest is running Oct. 12-23, starting one day earlier than his event, and wants the New Montreal FilmFest to move its dates. But de Hadeln said that’s out of the question this year.
“Chamberlan is a reasonable guy and so am I,” said de Hadeln. “We must find a solution.”
De Hadeln said it was too early to unveil all the details of the new event, but it will be what he calls a European-style film fest with a competition and an emphasis on quality over quantity.
He suggested there could be a sidebar on Latin cinema that could encompass everything from French film to pics from Latin America.
One of Losique’s biggest problems has been attracting A-list stars, as he’s insisted that the films were the attraction. De Hadeln is guaranteeing major-league star wattage.
“Stars definitely will be a focus –they have to be,” said de Hadeln. “That’s part of the importance of making friends in Hollywood. The French used to back Losique in the 1970s and 1980s, and they more or less pulled out of the place. They came to Toronto. Well, I can assure you the French will be back in Montreal, and the French means stars.”