Fest catches big break

Entrepreneur pacts with Festival du Nouveau Cinema

Montreal entertainment entrepreneur Daniel Langlois is bailing out the Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema to the tune of C$500,000 ($450,000). He’s also announced a 10-year partnership with the fest.

Langlois said Wednesday that he’s annulling the $450,000 debt owed to him by the fest. Most of that money came from cash advances he gave to the festival between 1997 and 2004, when he was prexy of the event.

Move reps a major boost for the fest, which has struggled with financial problems in recent years.

A key part of the new partnership agreement is that the festival is guaranteed use of the Ex-Centris complex, the three-screen arthouse Langlois owns, for the next five years.

Langlois stepped down as president of the Montreal festival in 2004 and joined forces with the upstart New Montreal FilmFest, which went out of business after one disastrous edition last fall. This marks his return to the Festival du Nouveau Cinema fold, though he no longer holds any position with the fest.

The Festival du Nouveau Cinema is the city’s smaller, edgier film festival; it’s a longtime rival of Serge Losique’s Montreal World Film Festival, which is taking place this week.

With the Langlois bailout, the Festival du Nouveau Cinema is nearly debt-free, according to fest director Bruno Jobin.

Jobin said the event will have a budget of $1.8 million for its 35th-anniversary edition, which runs Oct. 18-28.

The Festival du Nouveau Cinema also has the support of both Telefilm Canada and Quebec film agency Sodec, both of which have cut off all funding for Losique’s World Film Festival.

The Festival du Nouveau Cinema will launch the Prix de l’innovation Daniel Langlois at next year’s edition. Fest will unveil its full lineup in early October, but it already has secured several high-profile pics, including the North American preem of Lars von Trier’s “The Boss of It All,” Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or winner “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” and Pedro Almodovar’s “Volver.”

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