TORONTO — A triumphant Serge Losique declared one victory Wednesday, as his embattled Montreal World Film Festival regained competitive fest status with the Intl. Federation of Film Producers Assn. (FIAPF).
“This is a vote of confidence from all international film professionals, because all professionals are represented by the organization,” he said.
The Montreal World Film Festival severed its ties with FIAPF in 2002 after 24 years, amid complaints that some of the regulations were outdated. FIAFP’s prexy has been updating them since 2003.
The accreditation puts the event back into company with Cannes, Berlin, Venice and San Sebastian, and makes it the only competitive international festival in North America recognized by FIAPF. The Toronto Intl. Film Festival has FIAPF accreditation as a noncompetitive festival.
Rejoining FIAPF helps the Montreal World Film Festival’s credibility.
It has been fighting for its life this year after Canadian film funding agency Telefilm and Quebec funding agency Sodec pulled their coin and backed the rival New Montreal Film Festival, headed by former Berlin and Venice fest topper Moritz de Hadeln. Latter event will hold its first edition Sept. 18-25.
Many expected the World fest to shutter without coin, but, far from bowing out, it will unspool Aug. 26-Sept. 5, and Losique continues as a pugnacious champion of the event that he set up as a private company in 1975.
Losique is suing Telefilm for $2 million in damages, alleging its decision to remove coin from his event was illegal. He is also suing Equipe Spectra, the rival fest’s management company, for $1.6 million in damages for allegedly trying to usurp the fest’s name and mandate.