Canuck funder denies blame in fest demise

Sections of report blacked-out for legal concerns

Canuck federal film funder Telefilm Canada has absolved itself of responsibility for the failure of the New Montreal FilmFest, that shuttered after one disastrous edition last summer.

But Telefilm’s report is more notable for what it leaves out than what it includes. Large sections are blacked-out due to legal concerns, according to Clarkson, as Losique is suing Telefilm. There is also no mention of a mysterious warning from Telefilm’s legal department that knocked the Festival du Nouveau Cinema out of contention to run the new event.

Its reportFriday, came a day after Quebec Culture Minister Line Beauchamp released a hard-hitting report that laid the blame squarely on Telefilm and provincial funder Sodec.

“Telefilm acted in good faith and followed its mandate,” Telefilm executive director Wayne Clarkson said Friday. “I am convinced that no reprehensible act was committed.”

Montreal-based Sodec submitted its own take on the saga to Heritage Minister Bev Oda several weeks ago.

Both reports detail how Telefilm and Sodec launched a call for proposals in 2004 to create an event to replace Serge Losique’s Montreal World Film Festival, that had fallen out of favor with the funders.

The agencies gave the contract to an industry alliance and Equipe Spectra. The fest is now seeking bankruptcy protection.

Oda would not comment on the Telefilm report.

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